How is Your President Team Representing and Working for you during Covid-19?
By your Student President Team
Isobel, Erin, Simeon and Abi.
It’s been a few weeks now since the University closed campus and moved to online teaching. It can feel like it has been a full-on and intense time with trying to adapt to a different way of working, studying and connecting with others. At the Students’ Union, we have been working hard to ensure our services are accessible online for you and that we are continuing to represent and support you throughout this time.
Moving Online and Communications
In the first instance, the whole SU team have been working hard to get our activity online. This means that our Advice Centre is operating remotely, Student Voice and Opportunities are running everything from home and us as a President Team are increasing our engagement with you online!
Building an Online Community
We have a brand new online community, especially for you!
The President Team have created this Facebook group as a place for us all to come together as one community.
This is for YOU! We want it to be a centre where every student has the opportunity to post their events, ideas, advice and support!
Join it here!
Online Coffee Mornings
As part of the new online community we will be hosting regular coffee mornings, details of which will be posted in the community group. We hope these will be a nice opportunity for you to catch up with other students and the President Team to discuss something other than your Covid-19 concerns. Abi and Erin held the first coffee morning today, which they thoroughly enjoyed, they are pleased that they had the chance to speak to students and are looking forward to holding these next week.
Ensuring that you can still talk to us directly about your concerns and issues is top of our agenda, especially during this time where your University experience is radically changing.
We will continue to run Facebook Live Q&A sessions every Tuesday and Thursday at 4pm to give you updates and make sure your questions are answered.
We want to make sure that all the communications sent by the University are student friendly, supportive and answer your questions. Therefore, we have been in constant conversation with the University, feeding back any questions or concerns from you. We are looking forward to adding a section from the SU in the upcoming comms and working more closely with them to ensure they are the best they can be and not leave you overwhelmed or with more questions.
This is something that has come out as a priority issue for a lot of you since Covid-19 has taken over, and we want to make sure that students are able to be given the option to be released from their contract should they wish to.
That is why we joined a national movement calling on accommodation providers to release students from contracts and refund any upfront payments should those students wish.
We are really pleased to have worked with the University to secure a great win for students in on-campus accommodation in which if they want to leave they no longer have to pay rent!
We have since made a letter template also for you to use and send to your Landlord to negotiate leaving your contract.
Again, this is another big issue for students that Isobel has been going on about to the University since Covid-19 starting having an impact. We are thrilled that the University has listened to student feedback and ensured there is funding available to support students that have been affected by Covid-19.
Check out the Exceptional Circumstances Grant here https://myjourney.hull.ac.uk/exceptional-circumstances-grant
Another big issue and we have been in constant talks with the Library, ICT and Student Services to ensure that we are finding ways to support students who do not have access to the equipment they need to complete their degree. We will continue to work on this.
For those of you who are due to graduate this year, and for all our students, we are very aware that the implications of Covid-19 may have a negative impact upon your immediate employability. Whether this is due to a potential immediate lack of jobs, missing out on a grad-scheme due to complications or anything else that we may have not yet considered. As a result, we are planning on talking with the University Careers Team to work on how we can keep you employable in the current circumstances. It is early days on this and so we will continue to work on this and keep you updated.
Sports Pass Refund
Erin met with Steve Curtis from Hull Sport this week to discuss your concerns regarding the University Facility Sports Pass and the lack of service due to the closure of the Hull Sport Park. Erin left the meeting feeling optimistic, as she and Steve are going to work through a few potential solutions to ensure that students are not negatively impacted by the closure. She is going to continue working on this and an update will be provided in due course.
Meetings with the University
Meetings with the Vice-Chancellor and University Leadership Team
Representing all your issues at the very highest level is what we do and we are really pleased that the University has been working so closely and positively with us during this time and really putting students at the heart of what they do.
This week we have attended multiple meetings with the University Leadership Team, Vice-Chancellor and their Rapid Response Team in which we have a whole section on the student voice.
Everything you tell us is being heard at the highest levels of this University.
No Detriment Policy
Again this is another massive win for student and we are super excited that the University was really quick to work on this. We fed all your comments and concerns to the University on this and ensured we quickly resolved issues around first years being included.
It got announced this week that the University were going to postpone summer graduations, we have been working with the University to feedback your concerns and press for a date to be released for when they might be.
Course Rep Drop-In Sessions
We have ensured that we provide sessions for Course Reps to drop-in, have a chat with us about issues they may face given the movement of all learning & teaching online, make sure they are up-to-date with and understand University decisions & how it impacts the students on their course, as well as inquiring from them ways in which we can provide more support for them given the current situation. We will continue to do so.
Democracy Isn't Dead!
We are thriving! We may have moved online, but we are now so much more accessible - hurray!
We had Zone meetings this week as well as organising how we are going to have an online Union Council, it wasn't easy but we have got there in the end!
Also, our Part-Time Officer elections are still going on! We are so pleased we took the decision earlier in the year to split out our elections in order to have an increased focus on PTOs and it has worked! We have got the most candidates we have had running in years!