What have I done this term?
- ‘Just for Postgrads’ – this term I finished planning and then conducted my PG campaign. It was a great week and attracted lots of students. It aimed to reduce postgraduate feelings of isolation, improve a sense of postgraduate community and aid wellbeing. We were able to put on a wide range of activities covering these topics and I was really pleased with how the week went.
- Industrial Action – during this term Newcastle’s UCU branch have taken part in industrial action, including several full strike days. Myself and fellow 'Your Voice' sabbatical officers, worked hard during this time to release our poll, as mandated by student council, use this to inform NUSU’s stance and mitigate the impact on students. We have shared information on how students can support UCU, spoke up for UCU and NUSU’s stance within our highest-level meetings with the university and worked to ensure the SU is a welcome space for all students to use without crossing a picket line, providing refreshments with the help of music from NSR to create a welcome study/research environment during the strike days.
- PGR employment – the university are currently working on a strategic delivery plan focussed on PGR students and what Newcastle offers them. I have helped shape this and will continue to consult with students on the plan, establishing what they would like to see emphasised and whether PGRs feel it accurately represents their needs and experiences. The PGR employment work which I began last term around better working conditions, improved clarity between staff and students and better PGR treatment, will likely feed into this delivery plan and this will be something I continue to work on to ensure actions can be taken to improve PGR’s experience at Newcastle.
- Elections – I have been part of the group within NUSU helping to plan and organise this year’s elections. It has been fantastic to be a part of this process and I’m really excited for voting week and to see everyone’s campaigns this year.
What has been your biggest achievement?
- ‘Just for Postgrads’ – seeing this week-long campaign come to life was definitely the highlight of my time in this role so far. It was fantastic to have over 240 places filled on events across the week and receive some fantastic feedback from attendees. I think it worked really well collaborating with our Give It A Go and Go Volunteer departments as it will hopefully allow those students who took part in the campaign, the chance to stay engaged and continue to find PG community within activities that happen year-round in NUSU.
What could you have improved on?
- Managing time – this term has moved very quickly and featured a lot of big pieces of work alongside industrial action. As a result, it has at times been difficult to manage my time correctly and prioritise different pieces of work. This is something which I will work to improve over the next term to ensure that my goals, before the handover period to the next Postgraduate Officer, are met.
What do you plan to do next term?
- Decolonising NCL – in the past week, I have begun work on refreshing and renewing the Decolonising NCL webpage and campaign as a whole. Myself, Education Officer and Welfare and Equality Officer will work to encourage schools and student groups to make pledges and then lobby the university to take more ownership and direction of decolonisation work through resourcing and commitments.
- PGR Strategic Delivery Plan – in the coming months the PGR SDP will be shown to students and staff through the university’s consultation process. Following this, plans will be made on how the university will implement it and whose responsibility it will be, I will continue to be very involved in these discussions to advocate for PGR students.
- PG activities – I will continue to work with our Give It A Go department to help facilitate PG activities and attend them myself, to ensure that PGs can continue to engage past the end of my campaign.