I threw myself into the thick of student politics, and admittedly, felt a little out of my depth at times. The first 6 months flew by but before I knew it the elections were upon us again. At first, I wasn’t sure whether to stand or not. I thought a lot about the work I had done and how much more I wanted to do. I knew I felt passionate and protective of our student’s interests. I felt good enough at my job, but I also felt another year would allow me to make a bigger impact on student life. And before anyone could say “campaigning!” I was out again, parodying and promoting myself and my new manifesto. Thanks to the amazing support of my campaign team and everyone that voted, I was re-elected for a second term. Enthused by being back in office, I worked hard to achieve my biggest wins, which were:
As part of the Students’ Union’s commitment to improving Mental Health Awareness, I helped put together an application for Mental Health and Suicide Awareness Training. Amazingly, we won the grant and were able to invite an external organisation, PIPS, to train over 150 students and staff at USW. The training took place in March 2016 and was well received by those that took part.
Mental Health Awareness Campaign
The training we organised was just the start of my commitment to tackling the stigma surrounding mental health. In support of World Mental Health day 2017, myself and Kelsey, VP Cardiff and Newport, put together a week of activities dedicated to raising awareness of mental wellbeing. We focused on breaking down the barriers that make talking about mental health difficult. We both feel this was a huge success and feel the campaign highlighted that Universities need to do more to help students.
Pet A Pooch
We all know that during the academic year there are times when things get stressful, exam pressures kick in, finances start to look dire, and you just really miss home. Pet a Pooch was set up to give students the chance to have a cuddle with the dogs from our charity of the year, Four Paws Animal Rescue. This small campaign became an overnight hit! Students left the event feeling calmer and the doggies got their dose of affection and attention. Because of the success of this campaign, we have continued to implement it at regular intervals, and it’s my hope it will continue for a long time coming.
Housing Campaign – Housing Pack
During my time as a student, I was exposed to the awful world of student housing. I knew I wanted to improve the process of finding that first student home for all students – current and future – at USW. And so came about the Housing Pack. The pack contains guidance on everything from contracts to moving in and out checklists. It was emailed to all first year students beginning their course in 2015/16 and is accessible on our website - you can check it out here.
As part of my manifesto, I was heavily involved in organising the Students’ Union’s first ever ReFreshers’ Week. The purpose of introducing ReFreshers’ Week was twofold: to give students the chance to relax after finishing their exams, but also another an opportunity (after Freshers’) for new and returning students to get involved with something new – whether by joining a club or society or exploring student democracy. We’re now in the process of planning out second ReFrehers’ Week which will kick off 13th February.
During my second year as VP, it became apparent that the Students’ Union space in Glyntaff was in need of some TLC. The space formerly known as “Belladonnas” was cleaned up, painted and rebranded the Student Box. We were able to provide new seating and overall improve how the space is used. This development began conversations around Glyntaff as a whole, and as such a Glyntaff Development working group has since been set up to address these issues.
We can all agree that smart phones have become a huge part of most students’ lives. And we all know how annoying it is when your battery dies. With this in mind, I sought out to find free charging stations so that you (and I) are never without our trusty phones. So if you’re looking for somewhere to charge your phone, head over to the Randy Dragon or the Student Box. Who knows maybe you’ll see some more cropping up across our campuses...watch this space!
As part of my role as VP Education and Welfare, Pontypridd, I am responsible for taking on student casework and providing advice and support. Casework can vary from simple day to day advice, to misconducts and university appeals. I have worked hard to ensure every student that has got in touch with me – whether face to face, via email or phone, has received all the help I am capable of providing. I hope the next VP for Ponty will continue to make this a priority.
Finally, I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has supported me in my role. And to the students I have met through being VP Education and Welfare, Pontypridd - it has been a pleasure to get to know you all.
VP Education and Welfare, Pontypridd