Written by the Presidents.
Check out the Presidents’ three big things below!
Isobel Hall, President of the Students’ Union
Register to Vote
In November, we topped a league table by Vote for Your Future and Times Higher Education, which ranks ranked according to their voter registration efforts. We also worked alongside the University to send out joint communications about registering to vote and how you could do that and finally, I also spoke on BBC Radio Humberside about registering to vote, tackling climate action and funding for healthcare students.
During Green Week, as well as declaring a Climate Emergency as a Students’ Union I also attended the University’s first sustainability board, took part in the HUSSO Forces of Nature Campus Litter Pick, in which we removed more than 10kg of waste from campus, and we held our second student meet up about the climate agenda. As part of our climate agenda, I had the opportunity to speak at several events including, the IEMA Climate Emergency Event in which I gave the student perspective on the climate emergency, talk about what we are doing at the Students’ Union and how we are lobbying the University. I also spoke on a panel debate at the Waterline Summit, as well as being interviewed for a podcast about the event, in both of which I discussed the student perspective on the climate emergency. On the national day of divestment, I worked with a student, Huey, to protest the University’s investment in non-ethical industries. We have since received confirmation from the University that they will review their investment portfolio and ethical investment policy. Finally, in November, the University announced its commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2027. This was one of our key demands at the Climate Strike on Friday 20 November, so it is great to see progress!
Representation and Communication
This was a key manifesto promise for me, therefore, we have been working on this by holding a Q&A session with the Vice-Chancellor to give students the opportunity to put their questions directly to the VC herself. We also filmed our first ever President Question Time with Torch TV, which will be released soon - this gave students the chance to submit questions for us to answer. We also collected submitted questions on what is a priority for students in the upcoming General Election, these were then used for the Candidate Debate on campus. Finally, we have been continuing our work on Hull University Union's strategy and values, and we have been asking students what value resonated with them or to suggest a new one.
Abi Morris, President of Inclusivity and Diversity
Sexual health is a top priority of mine and was something I wrote on my manifesto to stress the importance of. The first SHAG week of the year was a huge success - it involved providing information about sexual health in the form of podcasts, which were recorded with a representative from MESMAC. These podcasts explored general sexual health, and also looked at LGBT+ specific sexual health and how people can stay safe. Alongside the podcasts, MESMAC were on campus throughout the week offering Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea tests and were HIV testing in the sports centre on the Wednesday of SHAG Week. In total, 334 people were tested, with more than 100 of those not being a member of a club or society (so not just doing it for the chance of winning a prize). SHAG week is now being planned to come back bigger and better in February.
Reclaim the Night
In November, I worked with Women’s Rep, Evie, on the ‘Reclaim the Night’ Campaign. This is an annual national women’s liberation movement to march against sexual harassment and abuse towards women in the community. On Saturday 23 November, we marched around the local area near campus with placards. A couple of women from Women’s Aid attended the march, which gave us the opportunity to talk to them about the sort of work they were doing and how we could get involved. We also decided that Evie and I would visit the Women’s Centre to see what goes on there. From this, we will continue to develop a campaign against sexual violence that we will be working on together for the rest of the year.
Filming with Torch TV
This month I have also taken part in a lot of filming for various different projects with Torch TV. This involved the SHAG week podcasts, a video about the importance of registering to vote and a President Question Time Video. This was a video, which gave students the chance to ask us questions, whether that was questions aimed at the team or at an individual President. This was a really good opportunity for students to ask us about the work we are doing, but also for us to see what it is that the students are interested in based on the questions they were asking.
Simeon Orduen, President of Education
Hull Online Webinar
The Education Coordinator, Benedict, and I had held an online webinar session with Hull online students. We introduced them to the Union and what we could offer them with societies, our democratic processes and academic representation system. A few have shown interest and a few societies have indicated interests in setting something up for Hull Online students.
AST Working Group First Meeting
The first AST (Academic Support Tutor) Working Group happened over the course of last month. When I came into my role as President of Education, one of my objectives was to look at the University’s AST programme and to get students more involved in the decision-making process. Currently, the Foundation Students’ Officer and the PGR Students’ Officer are members of this group.
Great Debates HE (decolonising the curriculum):
The Great Debates HE is a series organised by the Teaching Excellence Academy (TEA) at the University of Hull. As it ties in with my work on the BAME Awarding Gap, when I was given the chance to chair the meeting on Wednesday 11 December, I took the opportunity with both hands. It was a really great discussion, as students and staff who were able to find time to avail themselves came along to discuss on the subject of decolonisation and how it linked with other topics like race, the curriculum, news, media and its mental impact on students, amongst other things. It was a really open and safe space to share and learn. There was a lot of positive feedback afterwards along with calls to have something similar but more objective in the future. So keeps your eyes peeled because another one may just be in the works!
Erin Pettit, President of Sport
On Friday 22 November, the AU had their annual AU Ball, with the tickets selling out in record time. The event was a huge success, and everyone who attended had lots of fun. I’d like to take the chance to say a huge thank you to AU Exec, Sports Co-ordinator, Vicky Dean, Student Opportunities Manager, Alex Tute and fellow President, Abi Morris, for their help on this. Also, a thank you to all the other Union events, bar and catering staff who helped make the event run smoothly. Finally, thanks to everyone who attended, I hope you had as much fun as I did, see you at Trophy Pres!
Varsity planning is well underway as we have had conversations and a visit from Lincoln’s Students’ Union to talk about and plan Varsity. The meeting went well with all the stakeholders in the room with representatives from Hull University Union, Hull Sport and Lincoln Students’ Union all meeting to agree that this Varsity will hopefully be one of the biggest yet!
The Vice-Chancellor attended a Q&A session just before our November Union Council. I was really pleased to see the issue of sport being raised, by not only members of the Sport Zone and AU Exec but also by other Part-Time Officers. I think this really helped the VC understand the importance of sport and the points raised were picked up with her in a later meeting. One of my aims this year is to improve the perception of the AU and sport at Hull, in order that it is well respected (and hence, hopefully, funded!) by the University. Watch this space for updates on how further conversations with the VC go!
Tom McNamara, President of Activities
After seeing the huge effort from students last year to support the Movember Campaign, I really tried to push it this year and we’ve had a huge response. Last month, more than 250 students took part in Movember, raising almost £13k for the Movember Foundation, which is mad! It’s the biggest engagement we’ve had and I’ve also worked with RAG to arrange more events such as the ‘Shave-Off’ at the start of the month and the Movember Tower in the last week.
Creative Arts Network
In November, we co-hosted the first Creative Arts Network with Culture Campus. We had organisations from Hull’s creative industry come onto campus to discuss opportunities on how they can collaborate with students. We had a lot of positive feedback from both students and external organisations. It’s a very positive start and something I think we can build on to create more opportunities for students.
Remembrance Day on Campus
For Remembrance Day, the University Registrar and I led a two-minute silence on campus to pay respects to the service and sacrifice of servicemen and women involved in all conflicts. This was something that was suggested by students in the Armed Forces Society and something that will now be an annual occurrence.