To keep defending the right of our nursing students at Blackheath Lane and Shrewsbury. The Students' Union along with UEA have submitted a proposal to NUS National Conference to help fight your battles. The proposal is due to be discusses at NEC (National Executive Council).
In this year's High Five, mental health once again came out on top as your priority issue. We collaborated with the University to bring you a week of events to help you manage your mental wellbeing on the run up to assignment deadlines and exams. President Jaime-Lee and VP and President-elect Darren Clarke also signed a Time to Change pledge to commit to helping to recruit the discrimination of mental health at Staffs.
This year, Global Games Jam was led by our very own students. The event was a great success, attended by both current students and alumni who created an incredible 19 unique games. The Union supported students in bringing their annual Games Jam to Stoke-On-Trent for the first time.
Over the last few months, the Students' Union, the University IT department and Microsoft have joined to create a Digital Champions team. The remit of the Digital Champions is to lead the trackng of software and IT use across the University, to both staff and students. The chosen team is completley student-led and will be choosing the projects they work on as a team to help with IT accessability at Staffordshire. They have had a fantastic training period which has included presenting Skype for business to the senior leadership team, as well as attending Microsoft training and induction.
Our annual sporting competition with Keele University took place between Sunday 26th and Wednesday 29th of March. With 21 of our sports teams in competition, this promised to attract students from a wide range of academic backgrounds. The event as a whole had media coverage from both Staffs TV and One Media Group (OMG), with headline events being fully televised and streamed into Students' Union venues!
The Student Officer team attended the interview for the new Dean and other University executives to make sure the decision was the very best for students. They also inducted the new staff members, introducing them to the student experience at Staffs.
Although students were given access to the microwave in the staff room at our Shrewsbury campus, to cater more affordable alternatives at lunchtime, there were issues with queuing during the short breaks overheating due to over use. After taking this forward to the University, a second microwave has been installed in the kitchen, for all to use.
The Union's Engagement department has been working hard at persuading the University to bring back the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR), since it was discontinued in 2014. Now all students graduating in 2017 will have access. The HEAR takes all of your curricular and extra-curricular achievements (this could be working as a member of student staff, being an active committee member for a club or society or even winning a student award), and accumulates it into a concise, formal document: ideal for jobs or further educational applications.
A piece of software named 'Python Idle' was only available on a select few computers in the library. The software is a crucial part of the Computing degree and is required to complete coursework. The sortware has now been installed on all library computers after school representative, Jonathan Peach, contacted the library manager and IT department, and they agreed to install the software onto all machines.
Lecturers must upload notes onto Blackboard 24 hours before your lecture. Thanks to President Jaime-Lee, this rule is still in place. At a recent Academic Board, University staff raised that this rule would soon be abolished in order to allow more flexability for Lecturers. Jaime-Lee refused to let this happen, explained the importance of this to you and fought your corner - so that you have enough time to read up on your notes before a lecture.
VP Swetha has secured £9,750 from the Big Celebration Fund which is apart of the Big Lottery Fund. This funding is specifically for community events on campus that will help us celebrate everything we love about Staffs and Stoke-On-Trent. This is great news as the Union now has funding to host fun events for you. Keep your eyes open for these events throughout the year!
VP Ben is introducing a new volunteer advocacy scheme that will create new and well supported development opportunities for students working in the Student Advice Centre, including a new paid student staff post. This is a great student win as we get more opportunities to develop student employability skills, helping to give you that competative edge.
The Union has created a new position in the marketing team. The new staff member will spend one day a week at Blackheath Lane and one in Shrewsbury. As a result, we hope to become better engaged with our students at the Centres of Excellence and make them more a part of the Students' Union. The staff member assigned to this role, Tony Costin, has done a fantastic job of this, and has been a great asset to both BHL and RSH students during their time at Staffs.
Tea, coffee and other refreshments are now available in the evening after part-time students who were studying late were unable to access them. Academic Representative, Jess Handley, on the Business Administration masters course, liaised with her module leader, course leader and the head of catering. The University has since committed to providing a kettle or urn as well as the means to make a great cup of tea or coffee. They have also committed to examining the amount of vending machines on campus.
Academic Representative, Thomas Hope, worked alongside Margaret Mulholland and Noel Morrison to ensure that any Masters student could contact the fees and bursaries team if they were unable to afford the £200 deposit at the first stage of enrollment, causing them to not receive student finance. Thomas did this by gathering information from both the student guidence advisors and the Students Union.
There had been difficulties for academic representatives being unable to communicate with all students through Blackboard, without commenting on lectures' previous comments. This basically means that they had to try and email every student without knowing their email addresses! Academic representative, Jack Whalley managed to get an upload onto Blackboard so that representatives can now communicate more easily with the rest of their class.
When the University were developing areas in Mellor and the new Beacon Building, thanks to the Officers, your input was included to truly reflect what you wanted. The University have committed to further student consultation as they work on their creative learning spaces.
Students at Blackheath Lane and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital complained that the cafe available to them was too expensive. We have given them access to a microwave and kettle so that they are able to bring their own food instead. The kitchens are in rooms A006 in A block (closely located to the large social space), BL136 and BL167 in the main block.
So when we say put you first, that’s exactly what we do. We are Staffs Students’ Union and we want you to be proud to be Staffs.
Following our fantastic year with all of our student wins and great results from graduation, we are looking forward to 2017/18, publishing our new strategy for the union development and improve the Staffs student experience. This report from former president Jaime-Lee, details of how the new strategy will continue to have a positive impact on the student’s experience at staffs and where else we have made a positive impact on students’ lives this year.
You can download the pdf here