Outcomes of the NUSU Student Summit

Discussions have led to a number of positive outcomes for students.

Back in February, Sara Elkhawad (NUSU Welfare & Equality Officer 2019/20) chaired NUSU’s second Student Summit.  

Held in the Students’ Union building, the Student Summit aimed to provide our Liberation Officers and other key student representatives with an opportunity to raise awareness of and discuss issues that impact on their student experience with senior figures from the University and NUSU. Those attending the Summit heard presentations from students representing the following groups or areas of concern: 

  • Student Parents, Guardians and Carers. 

  • Postgraduate Students. 

  • Ethics and the Environment. 

  • Students with Faith or Belief. 

  • LGBT+. 

Specific issued raised and discussed included: 

  • Hardship for students with caring responsibilities. 

  • Making campus more parent friendly. 

  • Experiences of PG students who teach. 

  • PG mentoring and mental health support. 

  • Sustainability training and departmental leads.

  • Cutting ties with unethical companies. 

  • Reducing food and drink waste. 

  • Halal food options and prayer space provision for Muslim students. 

  • Networking, attainment and spaces for LGBT+ students. 

The Summit led to engaging discussions on these important issues and has resulted in further conversations and positive outcomes to improve student experience. In particular, the following proposals are pending approval by the University: 

  • Funding towards student staff focus groups and research investigating the LGBTQ+ attainment gap at Newcastle. 

  • Physical safe spaces for the University’s LGBTQ+ community with book provisions, historical materials. 

  • Funding to increase the amount, visibility and accessibility of on-campus faith space. 

  • Funding for sustainability training and more water fountains on campus. 

During the discussion of cutting ties with unethical companies, the topic of giving out Amazon vouchers as prizes or incentives was discussed. However, for this change to be acted upon a motion would need to be passed at NUSU Student Council. 

In addition, while this was not explicitly raised at the Summit, NUSU can confirm that, from the academic year 2020/21 onwards, Student-Staff Committees across campus will be encouraged to appoint an Environmental and Sustainability Rep to be the student lead on sustainability issues at the School or Institute level (this was discussed by the NUSU Environment and Ethics Officer and NUSU staff at the planning stage of the Summit). 

Sara said, "A big thank you to all of our hardworking student representatives at the Student Summit who raised some important EDI, wellbeing and ethical issues affecting students and offered some great ideas on to solve these issues. Staff found the session incredibly insightful, and myself and Katie have pushed forward these suggestions for funding from remaining Strike compensations. The Summit showed how integral and powerful the student voice is in creating positive and progressive change!"

Thank you to all of those who participated in the Summit, particularly the Liberation Officers and student representatives who contributed their issues and ideas. NUSU and student representatives are continuing to work with the University to implement some of the other proposals raised at the Summit.  



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