When the world came to a complete halt in March it took some getting used to and some of us are still not used to it. The student community is so diverse and the Officers were tasked in trying to help as many students as possible in a variety of very real problems. The Officers have been integral to the many positive changes and solutions to support you and have no stopped representing you while we all live in isolation.
Representation in Isolation is our way of letting you know how the Sabbs have been working for you during the pandemic.
Impact and outcomes
Newcastle University gym membership reimbursement.
Newcastle University agreed to waive/reimburse your 3rd term rent.
Lobbied the University to buy laptops for students with no access to IT.
Petitioning for private accommodation & council to review rent payment plans.
Distributing sanitary items to University accommodations.
We created the Newcastle University Covid Community Facebook Group.
We found out exactly where your tuition fees go from the University.
We supported the Safety Net Policy petition.
*NUSU are part of the wider University strategy in getting back to some sort of normal, when it is safe to do. We can bring you more information as plans are confirmed. Keep up to date with virtual SU and Covid-19 updates here.*
In addition to this we have been trying to help in our campaigning.
Community campaigning changed…..
The annual Leave Newcastle Happy campaign was cancelled due to the nature of the ‘on the ground’ community campaigning. Instead the Officers focused on lobbying local government to support their plea for landlords to be as fair with students as they can be. You can read their letter and additional housing information here.
Black and Blue – Believe me now? Support in lockdown
Black & Blue: Believe Me Now? is NUSU’s campaign that aims to raise awareness of the around abuse, harassment, and violence. Initially led by Eleasha Haslam (NUSU Marginalised Genders Officer 2019/20), this campaign educated on the signs and severity of the issue whilst putting survivors at the centre of the conversation, encouraging and empowering everyone to own their narratives as we stand in solidarity. This was particularly difficult during lockdown when we were aware abuse might have intensified and that accessing support would be harder. Collaborating with NUSU Liberation Officers, Katie Smyth (NUSU President) provided support focused on the groups of students who need to access specific support groups, including LGBT+ students, BAME students and digital stalking and harassment. Regular social media posts and additional lockdown information was shared throughout the first few weeks of lock down.
NHS volunteer support
The campaign aimed to give a helping hand to those Newcastle students volunteering to support the NHS during the covid-19 crisis. As well as offering free food and snacks we wanted to let those students know that we are thankful and fully appreciative of their own personal sacrifice. With the change in lock down restrictions and as things move on, the free food offer is no longer needed although our thanks and praise remains!
HIV testing in lockdown.
We introduced the HIV testing clinic with Shine and MESMAC this year. An important step forward not only in the health of students but in tackling the discrimination that many people living with HIV and AIDS face. Face to face appointments had to stop but Shine and MESMAC are still operating. So, the HIV and DIY STI kit offer is still available by post. Also Shine are able to drop off to any women in the city condoms, lube and sanitary products.
They are also offering one to support and advice, just by phone or online.
For more sexual health information and advice head to the NUSU S.H.A.G pages or find out more about the Sexual Health in lockdown services.
Permission to Pause
Permission to Pause came back and re-launched virtually on May 4th. Just like in January, this campaign was designed to help you give you that all important time to pause and practice self-care during revision and exams. Because of COVID-19, we made this campaign digital via our Facebook page. The success of the online classes has made us rethink the needs of students during revision time and we will be offering an online program in future wellbeing campaigns during the exam period.
Sara Elkhawad (Welfare and Equality Officer) created and delivered a 5 week programme of events and activities to encourage students to take a break from revision and exam stress. Working in collaboration with GIAG, Go Volunteer, Clubs and Societies and instructors there was something for everyone including….
· Cat and Dog Café
· Vogue dance workshop
· Tri Club sessions
· Tik Tok dancing
· Creative Writing
· Live music
Everyday Sexism – How to see it, call it out and move on from it
Monday 25th May was the launch of Katie Smyth’s Everyday Sexism campaign. You can read all about it here.
Most of us regardless of gender will know that sexism is alive and well in 2020. But post lockdown when we move into unchartered territory, will we recognise and be strong in calling out inequalities. This campaign aimed to highlight and call out sexism in the ‘new normal’ and also aimed to empower the leaders of tomorrow. More important than ever in a job market that will be more competitive than before. The UN Secretary-General said in April 2020, “Limited gains in gender equality and women’s rights made over the decades are in danger of being rolled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” We wanted to help students feel confident in creating or continuing the crucial conversations needed to create positive change.
We know that there is more to do to help. Our Liberation Officers continue to campaign from home. #Pride2020, International student fees and peer support are just a small example of how they support and represent students within their communities.
NUSU encourages student led campaigning. If there is something that you would like to raise awareness in, change or introduce please get in touch.