Written by Isobel.
This job is a great privilege and the greatest fun! Being President of the Students’ Union enables me to support students, give a voice to those who need it and build upon all the work and services that the union offers, so it can truly empower and represent students at the highest level.
The last six months have been full on! I’m really proud of the work that myself and the Student President Team have conducted, and all the campaigns we’re ran.
Here are my top three wins of Trimester One:
National campaigns are hugely important to me, because I fundamentally believe Hull students need effective representation on a national level on the issues that affect them.
- Foundation funding – from day one of my term we started lobbying government to oppose the proposed cuts to foundation year students, this included starting a petition to gather support
- Letter to Universities Minister – from this campaign on foundation funding, I wrote a letter to our Universities Minister to oppose the cuts and received a positive response.
- Visit to Parliament – I represented Hull down in Parliament and as one of 20 Students’ Union present. I lobbied Phillip Augar on foundation year cuts, asked why student nurses were left out of the review and then went to lunch with an MP to talk about the review and changed his mind on foundation year funding!
- Student Minds Partnership – we are one of eleven pioneering Students’ Unions to partner with Student Minds to transform student mental health and are now lobbying the University on their response to the University Mental Health Charter
- Meeting and letter with Diana Johnson MP – I met with Diana Johnson to raise student concerns and as a result we have written a joint letter to Baroness, Dido Harding asking her to visit campus and lobby on the funding for healthcare students.
- Wonkhe Article – I wrote an article for Wonkhe to lobby ministers not to park funding for nursing students! I then tweeted about this and Paul Blomfield MP was going to look at seeking a parliamentary debate
- QAA Student Strategic Advisory Committee – I was absolutely thrilled to represent Hull at the QAA. This looks at quality assurance for Universities.
- Register to vote campaign – this was concerned with the Vote For Your Future and Times Higher Education League Table. We helped the University to top a national league table with our combined efforts to encourage students to register to vote.
- General Election Candidates Debate and Survey – I was so excited to organise and chair a Candidates Debate and to ask the Hull North Candidates questions that were student priorities. I am now arranging to meet with Diana Johnson MP to follow up on this.
- Student Safety and Student Night Bus – I secured this by the end of week two of my term. Although this will no longer continue, I am thrilled that I secured this win for students and completed a manifesto point
- Safe Campus Cards – These were cards we handed out at the beginning of the trimester, with loads of useful phone numbers on. This is a manifesto win and great to know that we are empowering students by giving them emergency and non-emergency contact details so they can support themselves and friends.
- Biggest change to our governance we have implemented. We changed some big documents to make them smaller and easier to read, this means we can be more effective as a Students’ Union Governance/Strategy:
- Articles updated
- Bye-Laws updated
- Values: we are really pleased that over 700 of you took part in giving us feedback on what our organisational values should be.
- Effective representation and communication was a key manifesto point I was elected on and it is vital that we continue to be transparent, visible and accessible. I want you to know exactly how we are representing you and the work we are doing.
- Working with Torch TV – we have produced a lot of videos this trimester with the wonderful Torch TV to get some of our messages across
- Chocolate and Chat – it really has been a team effort this year as we gather feedback and chat to you about the issues that matter most to you.
- President section in the weekly student newsletter – it was really important to me that anyone could find out what the Student President Team were doing even if they didn’t follow us on social media, which is why our newsletter now includes a president section o Monthly President Blogs – this is something new we started this year, so all students have opportunity to see how we have been representing them for the past month.
- VC Q&A – I invited the VC to come and do a Q&A which provided some thought provoking discussion.
- Bolton Fire Statement – I worked to ensure the university provided students with a statement on their fire safety to reassure students.
- Declared and recognised that we are living in a climate emergency – I lobbied the Trustee Board and I am so pleased that we are now standing in solidarity with school children across the world and other Students’ Union in recognising this emergency.
- Hosted first ever North East Officer Meet Up – we invited sabbatical officers from across the North East to come to Hull to discuss the Climate Emergency and what we can do together.
- First ever Climate Strike – I am really proud that we joined the global school strikes on September 20th and went on strike for climate justice.
- Water fountain in HUU – We got a water fountain in HUU! I know lack of water fountains is a massive annoyance for lots of students so it’s great we were able to do this and encourage more people to bring their reusable bottle onto campus with them
- First ever ‘Green Week’ – it was great to organise our first ever Green Week and explore how we can better contribute to action on climate justice.
- Speaker at IEMA Event and Panel event at Waterline Summit – it has been great to represent students locally on the climate agenda at these events.
- Lobbied University to set carbon neutral deadline and review their investment portfolio and policy – these were both demands from our climate strike so I am really pleased that we have been able to see action on these.
So how does this all shape up against my manifesto promises?
I am really proud that I have achieved half of my promises that I ran on. Whilst there is still work to do, it is great progress!
My priorities for Trimester 2 are as follows (in no particular order):
- Campaign for Nursing Students
- Additional Costs Campaign
- Making Change at HUU
- Climate Emergency
- Students’ Union App
If you have any ideas that you would like support with or want to get involved with any of the campaigns mentioned. Please get in touch either by messaging me on Facebook here or emailing [email protected]