.Representation

Status: Complete

Why are postgraduates abandoned during the Summer holidays?

Most shops are either totally closed or close early, making it impossible for many of us to get lunch, food or have anywhere to meet up for socialising outside of The Stags. There are essentially no events taking place, and PG coffee mornings are now scrapped due to them costing too much. What is the SU doing to represent the postgraduate students? I, and many of my PGT/PGR colleagues feel totally abandoned by the SU, as it's obvious undergraduates are worth more to SUSU in terms of money, as was evidenced by this answer on scrapping the ONE postgrad event which is regularly held all year: the postgraduate coffee mornings https://www.susu.org/you-make-change/847.  It is not enough to intermittant events every so often such as the plant giveaways; they do not bring people together and no one ever stays to socialise. Postgraduates should be supported properly by SUSU, which is our student union as much as the undergraduates. 

Do SUSU just not care about postgraduates because we don't make you enough money?

Submitted on Thursday 30th August 2018

Hi there,

Thank you for bringing your concern to our attention.

Opening hours of our facilities is something which has cropped up quite a few times already in my role and as such is something I'm already working on addressing. 

Firstly, in terms of the places to get food, I can assure you that we will always make sure that there is another place to get food if one of the venues, such as the Bridge, is closed on any given day.

Specifically in terms of opening hours of the shop, I have been having a conversation with our Union Services team. The reason for the reduced hours during Summer is that previously there has not been enough demand for this service. However, it has been suggested that we could have a small pop-up stand with sandwiches, milk and other essentials, perhaps even stationary, in the Stags for times when the shop is shut so that students can still grab some essentials. This is something which I put forward as a solution to a very similar You Make Change submission which you can find here: https://www.susu.org/you-make-change/admin/view.php?id=875

If there was enough uptake of students using this and it could be shown that there was enough student demand then that could provide the driving force for the opening hours of the shop and other outlets to be extended on a more permanant basis. As I mentioned, I already put forward this idea on another YMC previously. I also circulated the idea on my work Facebook profile on 27th July. This was subsequently shared into the University of Southampton Students' Union Postgrad Comunity FB group on 12th September (You can find the post here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UnionSouthamptonPostGradCommunity/permalink/1769480219836404/). As you will see, the posts recieved very little feedback or engagement from Postgraduate students. I am very keen to solve any issues that arise and do as much as possible to improve student experience, however there needs to be engagement from students in return as we cannot implement something if students do not engage to say this is what they want.

Please feel free to share this with your friends. The more involvement students that get involved, the more of a driving force this provides for change!

In terms of events, I would disagree that the PG Coffee morning was the only event for Postgraduate students. In fact, the Postgraduate Committee did a fantastic job this year of putting on lots of regular events. This also included the free BBQ events every month during the summer as well as free food giveaways on pancake day and other holidays. Although we facilitate these events, we cannot force people to stay or socialise, again that is down to the engagement of indivudal students. If you have ideas for events you would like to see or that you think would be better at bringing people together, you can get in touch with the Postgraduate Events and Activities officer for the Postgraduate Committee. Their email is: pgevent@soton.ac.uk.

In terms of SUSU support for Postgraduate students, as mentioned above, we have an entire committee dedicated solely to Postgraduate issues and experience, which is supported financially by SUSU. Additionally, we have actually added to our Postgraduate representation structure this year, as we have managed to secure 5 new PGR representatives for each faculty which will sit on University faculty boards to represent issues at a high level. We are working towards also getting PGT faclty reps next year, however the University will only allow us to do this if all of the PGR roles are filled and utilised well. If you have ideas for hwo to improve Postgraduate support and representation, I would encourage you to run for one of the two PGR rep roles if you are able to which remain unfilled after the Autumn elections. Alternatively we also have the positions of PGR Officer, PGR Welfare Officer, PGT Welfare Officer and PGT Academic which are availible to be filled. As you say, the Students' Union is for Postgraduate students just a smuch as Undergraduate students so it would be fantastic for you to get involved a smuch as possible!

If you would like to discuss this further or have any other questions or queries, please feel free to drop me an email to vpsites@susu.org.

Many thanks!

Emily, VP Student Communities 2018/19.

Thursday 18th Oct 2018 2:25pm