And just like that....Summer is here.
And just like that....Summer is here!
Coming out of the pandemic has revealed its own worries and concerns for students and we were pleased that the Welfare and Support Centre has been a place that many of you have visited or contacted throughout the year.
Term 3 is coming to a (swift) end, and you can read below some of what we have been working on alongside the day-to-day services we offer.
Student sexual consent and active bystander training proposal.
Abbie Hutchinson, NUSU President is working on a proposal outlining the case for making the completion of online sexual consent and active bystander training a compulsory requirement of student registration, so that students are empowered to be responsible members of the university community, specifically with regards to understanding sexual consent and challenging unacceptable or inappropriate behaviours. The specific purpose of the paper is to make the case for increasing student engagement with the University’s existing sexual consent awareness training resources and to make the case for developing an active bystander training programme for students.
The paper is now in the final stages of consultation with the relevant University staff and committees before being proposed to the Universities Executive Board.
Mental Health is Not Extra Curricular (MHiNEC)
NUSU President, Abbie brought MHiNEC during the exam and assessment period to help give you a boost when you needed it.
Mental health is not extracurricular, and we need to remember to look after ourselves and set boundaries with our work. Your degree is important, but this campaign was a reminder that you are more so, and your wellbeing has to be the priority. Whilst everyone’s experience is different, the resources and activities aimed to bring together advice from the sabb team, top tips for managing stress, feel-good freebies given out during the exam period, and direct you to support.
As well as using the online resources we hope you managed to grab bunches of flowers, ice lollies and joined us on the terrace for free food, refreshments, and entertainment!
Student Sex workers support
NUSU Welfare and Equality Officer, Briana Gordhan proposed the Supporting Student Sex Workers motion at the final Student Council of the year. We are pleased to report that Council members agreed that by fully recognising student engagement in sex work NUSU can help break the stigma attached to the student, and the motion passed.
The motion resolved to;
- Adopt policy addressing how NUSU will support student sex workers within which NUSU will acknowledge that students from marginalized groups may be disproportionally affected by their engagement in sex work,
- Create a toolkit with information on sex work, legalities, support routes, handling disclosures and any other sections that will be of use to staff and students.
- Create links with community organizations such as Changing Lives, so that student sex workers can easily seek specialist support outside the University community if they wish.
- Ensure opportunities for staff to understanding of sex work and are can access guidance on how to handle disclosures of sex work in a respectful and supportive way.
- Lobby the University to adopt a sex worker policy and improve their support.
More work to be done but a positive step forward in offering the support that students might need.
Review of policy
The annual review of Student Union policy has been taking place. Here in the Welfare and Support Centre, staff have been helping to update the Sexual Misconduct Policy, Hate Crime Policy and Transgender Policy to make sure the language and content is up to date, inclusive and embedded in our culture.
HIV Testing and Sexual Health Clinic
The final clinic of the year took place in June ending on positive student engagement not just in June but throughout the year. The clinic is an important part of our commitment in breaking down barriers and stigma surrounding STI’s, HIV and talking about sex. Whatever your concerns you have a place right here in the SU to talk in confidence to a professional practitioner.
Ways to Wellbeing
Looking after your health is important during your time at Newcastle University. Here at NUSU, we are committed to supporting you in living your best life and we understand that student life (whatever that means to you), can sometimes affect your mental health and wellbeing. Everyone may need a bit of extra support from time to time and although we don’t offer the same counselling service as the University we have listened to you and have developed our ways to wellbeing with students at the very centre.
Read the Welfare and Support Centre ways to wellbeing here.
We completely acknowledge that our ways to wellbeing may not be the best fit for everyone and if you feel like you need extra support for your wellbeing or mental health, please make sure you visit our Mental Health Support page to see what support, resources, and steps are in place to help - remember you are not alone in this.
Alcohol and Drugs
We have a made great progress in our work around harm reduction to help support students. Within this we provide important information, have a drug amnesty bin and students can pick up free drug testing kits from the Welfare and Support Centre. We are members of the joint SU/Uni working group to make sure that your voice is represented in the wider campus policy, project and initiatives aiming to reduce risks and educate. There has been a lot of progress but still a way to go around getting our messages out to let students know that they can seek help if the need it and we are developing a useful resource for all students and staff with coordinated messages around how to get to the best place to get some help. This will be shared far and wide so look out for it in the new academic year.
In the meantime you may find it helpful to know some of the support routes available.
- The University's Student Health & Wellbeing Services (SHWS) have collaborated with NTaR (Newcastle Treatment and Recover) to provide a confidential drop-in session to help with concerns or questions around drugs and alcohol, information, and advice on reducing harm or looking for help and support with reducing or quitting. Students can drop into Kings Gate (Level 2) every Wednesday from 5pm-7pm (term time).?
- The Students’ Union (NUSU) in partnership with Newcastle Public Health Practitioners, also offer?a confidential space for students to chat and get support on drug or alcohol use. Students can book in to talk through any worries or concerns they may have and to get information on additional services in the city if that would be helpful. Email Kay email@example.com to book in.
- Welfare guidance and information on our Welfare and Support pages.
- Students living in University Accommodation can contact ResLife for support or guidance and referral if required.
- Drink Aware
- Talk to Frank – Honest information about drugs
Last year we added an extra layer of welfare support during freshers week with our Welfare Stations, we are planning to bring this back in a bigger and better way during the 22-23 Freshers Week. Planning has started and we are looking at enhancing the resources available to students and also in when and where they can easily pick them up.
Finally (for now)……
As we come to the end of the academic year, we use this time to reflect and plan for September. We hope that if you have needed to use our service over the year that you have found it helpful and useful but always welcome any thoughts and ideas to help us improve.
Email @ firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback and ideas for next academic year.