19/20 Achievements from Isobel, President of the Students’ Union

May 22, 2020

Written by Isobel Hall, President of the Students’ Union.

All views are Isobel's.

As my term as your President is now at an end, I wanted to reflect on the past year and demonstrate how I have been working for you all year and some of my wins.

Being your President of the Students’ Union is singly the best thing I have done. I have been lucky enough to have worked with an incredible President Team this year and have had many amazing opportunities to work and represent you. Ever since I started as President of Education back in 2018, I have just had the most fantastic time and I really hope that I have in some way made a positive difference to your student experience Just finally a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me, like a Facebook post, watched a video or got in touch with me. Here is what I have achieved this year:

NATIONAL CAMPAIGNING

Parliament

  • Spoke in Parliament at the APPG for Students meeting on the Augar review representing Hull students
  • Wrote to Paul Blomfield MP with over 19 other SUs supporting which resulted in an APPG for Students Meeting being called in Parliament on the topic of student loans!
  • Spoke at the APPG for Students on Student Loans and from that meeting, they are now producing a report on student views

Lobbying

  • Lobbied the government to oppose the Augar recommendation to remove foundation year funding. We did a petition and also wrote to the Universities Minister on this.
  • Signatory of letter to Government Ministers asking Government to wipe the debt for healthcare students organised by Greenwich SU

QAA

  • Becoming one of thirteen members to sit on the QAA’s Student Strategic Advisory Board
  • Speaking on QAA webinars about the student experience during COVID-19

Wonkhe

  • Written article for sector-leading organisation Wonkhe on funding for nursing and healthcare students which led to MP’s seeking a parliamentary debate on the issue
  • Co-wrote another Wonkhe article on the much need reform to maintenance funding with LSBSU President

MPs

  • Meetings with MPs – Diana Johnson and Emma Hardy
  • Co-wrote letter with Diana Johnson MP on funding for our Healthcare students
  • Co-wrote letter with Diana Johnson MP to Government Ministers on wiping the debt for healthcare students
  • Meeting with Emma Hardy MP who then asked questions in Parliament supporting our campaigns

HULL UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ UNION

Governance

  • Ran a successful referendum to update our Articles of Association with the Team
  • Passed our new and updated Bye-Laws at Union Council
  • Created an organisation sustainability group
  • Changed the Governance Zone to Union Development Zone so more students can get involved with more of the work happening at the Union
  • Put a proper accountability process in place for students
  • Sorted out the Activities Zone governance and gave student groups greater autonomy

Communication

  • Introduced President Monthly Blogs
  • Worked with Torch TV this year to put out a number of videos on the climate emergency, general election and what the President Team have been up to
  • Made changes to the student newsletter so it now has a President Team update to ensure greater communication with students
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Events

  • Held Chocolate and Chat sessions all year!
  • Running exam tea and toast campaign
  • Holding a successful general election candidates event at Asylum with our Hull North Candidates
  • We hosted our first VC Q&A at Union Council
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Campaigns

  • Ran a successful register to vote drive with the University resulting Hull being joint top in the UK for student voter registration, ran by Vote for Your Future and Times Higher Education
  • Launched additional costs campaign and got over 500 survey responses

Other

  • Set new values for Hull University Students’ Union
  • Hull University Students’ Union has committed to getting an SU app!
  • Worked on a Board Effectiveness Review with other Trustees
  • Reformed our Your Ideas system – all ready for next year!
  • Secured a £250,000 investment from the University to invest in our Students’ Union building
  • Changed our name from Hull University Union to Hull University Students’ Union so we have students at the heart of everything we do, including our name!
  • Created a brand new section on the website for environmental updates from the SU
  • Passed a motion at Union Council for the Students’ Union to take a stance on additional costs
  • Took Union Council successfully online!

COVID-19

  • Putting out videos to update students on the COVID-19 situation
  • Putting out a letter to our students in response to the COVID-19 situation
  • Created President Team Facebook Live Q&A session to keep students update and answer your questions on how COVID-19 is affecting your university experience
  • Signatory for letter on accommodation written by Birmingham Guild
  • Create an online Facebook Community Group with the team
  • Worked with the University to secure a big student win to get those in on-campus out of contracts early saving students thousands of pounds
  • Worked with the University on their no-detriment policy
  • Helped the University shape their student communications during the pandemic
  • Produced a template for students to send to Landlords to ask to be released from contracts
  • Co-signed a joint letter with the VC to local accommodation providers asking them to work with students during this time

CLIMATE EMERGENCY

University

  • Lobbying the University all year to divest from fossil fuels – still waiting for them to do so, fingers crossed for next year!
  • Went on strike over the Universities investment in fossil fuels
  • The University set a date to be carbon neutral – one of our key campaigns!
  • The University agreed to review its investment portfolio

Students’ Union

  • Started the first-ever Student Climate Action Group
  • Held HUSU’s first-ever Climate Strike – we made it into numerous media outlets!
  • Produced the first-ever SU Climate policy!
  • Got the Board to agree for Hull University Students’ Union to declare a climate emergency!
  • Held Hull University Students’ Union first-ever Green Week
  • Went on a second climate strike!
  • Got a water fountain on the ground floor of HUSU to support greater use of reusable water bottles!

Other

  • Working with the City Council on the climate agenda
  • Hosted the first-ever North East Officer Meet-Up on Climate Emergency
  • Spoke on a panel of business leaders and a podcast at the Waterline Summit representing student views
  • Key speaker at IEMA’s city event on climate emergency representing the Students’ Union

STUDENT SAFETY

  • Introduced a safe night bus onto campus to take students home on after a Wednesday Asylum night out
  • Introduced brand new Safe Campus Cards

OTHER

  • Gave the keynote speech at the University Learning and Teaching Conference on assessment and feedback
  • Spoken regularly on BBC Radio Humberside of various issues that matter to students
  • Got involved with attending Hull Angels, HUSSO Beach Cleans and Litter picks!
  • The University agreed to take a strategic look at how they can remove barriers for students and consider this before suspending programmes with study abroad opportunities
  • Worked with the University to create the first-ever Student Partnership Agreement
  • Spoke at the AUDE conference about what students want to see from their University estate and putting the climate agenda at the centre of this
  • From working with the Library last year, they decided to continue putting on additional silent study space for students during the exam period