Term 2 in the 2020-21 academic year has not disappointed when it comes to new and unique challenges for the Officer team. Although it would have been much easier to only concentrate on the pandemic the Officers wanted to make your experience better. Alongside the everyday meetings, forums and Officer responsibilities the team deserve a medal for bringing students a term of campaigns and initiatives aimed at supporting you. As we all try to take a breath this Easter break let us take the opportunity to update you on the work within the Your Voice and Officer team.
Decolonising NCL - The solution isn’t as simple as throwing more black and brown authors onto a reading list, or holding the occasional workshop. We want to see a complete shift in our education. Read the updated webpages and pledge to make a change!
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
Pride Inside - In collaboration with the LGBTQ+ Society, in LGBTQ+ History Month we are brought you our Pride Inside campaign. This campaign aimed to celebrate all LGBTQ+ students even whilst being stuck inside. Pride is a time of celebration and love in our community, which is needed now more than ever and often not celebrated here at NUSU, so?this year the LGBT+ Officer and LGBT+ Society brought pride to you.
Feel Yourself February - The pandemic turned life upside down, but at centre stage is the vessels that have taken us through it all: our bodies.
With Eating Disorders on a sharp rise, ‘New Year, new me’ rhetoric is adding to the existing pressures of lockdown, and with a socially-distanced Valentine’s Day on the way, Feel yourself February aimed to spread counter-messages of self love and body acceptance, address taboo topics head-on and support those struggling.
Trans Fund update - Launched in Trans Awareness week 2020 it has been agreed that NUSU will continue to fund the grant. This will allow up to 8 students to apply for up to £50 each.
"I feel the trans fund is a brilliant way to support students who have or are facing issues with their gender identity, allowing them to explore themselves with gender-affirming items without the financial burden that can often be associated with it due to the expensive nature of some products. This can be especially true for students without support from parents and need to carefully manage their finances to simply survive, providing a boost to their mental health and allowing them to try and live more comfortably." – Trans Fund applicant.
The BAME Union – Chinese New Year celebrations - February 12th 2021 marked the start of the well-known and traditional celebration of the Chinese New Year. As the Year of the Ox beginnings, BAME Union and Blank Canvas Society came together to host a celebration for students of Newcastle University.
This Girl Can - We also provided support to Benthe Tanghe (NUSU AU Officer and the Activities department with this campaign. This Girl Can?celebrates active womxn who are doing their thing no matter how they do it, how they look or how sweaty they get. It focuses on the reality of physical activity and creating a supportive network of womxn in sport.?
International Student Experience Forum.
Reclaiming the streets – Advice for men
Know Your Rights – Hate Crime, how to spot it and report it.
Standing in Solidarity – Reclaiming the streets
Message of Solidarity with our Asian Community
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Harm Reduction - Nadia Ahmed (Welfare and Equality Officer) began the work on reintroducing drug testing kits alongside other harm reduction initiatives in the summer. The tragic deaths of Newcastle residents in October accelerated this vital work. You can read Nadia’s blog?here?which outlines the situation in October. ?We are now at the point of submitting the report to present to the University Alcohol and Substance misuse working group who are creating university policy, in the hopes that this will encourage a firm harm reduction stance at Newcastle Uni. Nadia’s survey launched to help us collate the information to help form the report, we received over 1500 submissions, an amazing response and thank you to those who took part. We have confirmation from the University to fund a Help and Support Coordinator here at the SU meaning that this work will be staff and Officer led, a firm step forward in future proofing the needs of students.
PG Mental Heath - We know that everyone has mental health, and that everyone experiences different levels of mental wellness and ill health at different points in their lives. The Postgrad Mental Health campaign focuses on the unique experiences of postgraduate students and how mental health impacts our postgraduates wellbeing. The campaign featured events, including CBT workshops and a panel discussion, and a tailored Postgrad Mental Health Support Guide is available to download on the website for details on support services available locally and nationally for postgraduates.
Belonging to Newcastle
Find a flatmate - At NUSU, we understand that it has been difficult this year to sometimes make those initial connections, Sian Dickie (NUSU Education Officer) wanted to help.
What has been done about the Covid Marshalls? The beginning of term was hard for many but made worse by the discriminatory scapegoating experienced by students. The Officers worked towards addressing the imbalance for you.
Accommodation Refunds letter - Dorothy Chirwa (Students' Union President) and Chris Day (Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University) have written a letter to private accommodations expressing concerns over students' financial positions in light of the new lockdown situation.
A bigger, better PHD funding scheme - Postgraduate Officer, Charlotte Boulton has been lobbying the University to improve their funding scheme to support PGRs with stipend support. The more flexible eligibility criteria and easier application process will hopefully help more PGRs access financial support if their research progress has been impacted by the pandemic.
2021 Elections - Thank you to all 3,047 of you who voted in the NUSU Student Elections. The results are in and we are delighted to announce that your 2021/22 NUSU Officer team here. You also can see the full breakdown of all the votes.
Student Council Updates
Through Council, you can be involved in deciding the work we do, including issues we raise to the University, the campaigns we run & changes we make!
The NUSU Ethics and Environment Rep, Chloe Thompson is working with the Environmental and Sustainability Reps and the Uni to produce an induction video. This video will showcase the work so far, the University’s commitment to zero carbon, student action and how to be more sustainable on campus.
Alongside this the E&S Reps are making progress on Green Pledges.
Shaping Futures - At NUSU, we understand that climate, environmental and sustainability justice is at the top of your agenda. This why Sian Dickie and Hannah Finney launched Shaping Futures.?
The Education Awards 2021 (TEAs)
Hosted by NUSU, The Education Awards (TEAs) are your opportunity to show your appreciation and reward exceptional staff from across Newcastle University who have had a massive impact on your student experience. Nominations have now closed, and the shortlist is live.
Rep Forum – After student reps expressed interest in hearing Chris Day answering their questions directly, we hosted the first Rep Forum with Chris and other senior leaders of the University. Hosted by Charlotte (Postgraduate Officer), student representatives had the opportunity to ask live questions and hear from the decision-makers at the University. Students and staff found the event interesting and useful and we hope to host more Rep Forums in the future!
Wonke Article - Reflecting on a year of coping with a crisis, Chris Day and Sian Dickie set out the case for Covid compensation for students.
Update on safety net - from Sian Dickie, NUSU Education Officer.
There is a lot here but still more……Our Impact highlights impact right across the SU and not just within the Your Voice team. Enjoy!
Get in touch with a member of the team if you have any questions or would like to get more involved.