student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

Term 3 Update from the 'Your Voice' Department

Find out the comings and goings of the Your Voice team this last term

NUSU Building Find out how we have been representing your voice

The end of this academic year is coming to an end (for most) and although normal life hasn’t completely resumed we have continued to represent you on the issue that matter to you.

Our 2020-21 campaign priorities are Academic Interests, Belonging to Newcastle, Environment, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Preparing for the Future, Student Safety, Financial Support, Decolonising NCL and Mental Health and Wellbeing. Below is an update on some of the projects, campaigns and initiatives we have either led or supported.

Academic Interests

  • Student Rep Awards

Hosted by Sian Dickie (NUSU Education Officer) and Charlotte Boulton (NUSU PG Officer) the Student Rep Awards make up one of the NUSU Celebrating Success Award ceremonies. Thank you to everyone who nominated! Watch the full ceremony here and check out the winners here.

  • TEAs (The Education Awards)

Hosted by Sian Dickie (NUSU Education Officer) and Charlotte Boulton (NUSU PG Officer), The Education Awards (TEAs) are students' opportunity to show their appreciation and reward exceptional staff from across Newcastle University who have had a massive impact on their student experience. The submissions received then form our annual TEAs report aiming to inform the University on what matters to students in their academic life. Watch the ceremony and find out who won here.

Through the academic rep system, as a student body you achived so much positive change for the students you represent. As part of the Our Impact campaign we included many of your changes within the campaign alongside the amazing work of NUSU Officers,Societies, Clubs and Volunteers.

  • School Reps

We have appointed many of the UG & PGR School Reps for 2021/22 and you can see who has been appointed here

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

This year has undoubtedly been one of the trickiest, and it can be easy to lose that sense of community that is so vital. Newcastle has always had a strong sense of community and we want all our students to continue being part of that. So, this year, our Festival of Culture focussed on exactly that - culture. We wanted our students to be aware of all the diverse and beautiful communities that we have on campus.

The decol work continued with a series of panels aiming to inform staff and students on the importance of everyone understanding their own bias and how to begin or continue to decolonise NCL. The decol pledges were also a focus and staff and students continued to be encouraged to make a pledge that will be promoted on our website for all to see and be inspired by.

As part of the wider Decolonising NCL campaign, this project led by a student entrepreneur, Dami Fawehinmi, invited Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students to explore how they navigate their identities within Higher Education spaces and to express this through the powerful medium of art. We received 14 phenomenal submissions all of which can be viewed here. You can also the watch the event and hear from the artists speak about their work and find out which entries won the most votes, here.

  • Gender inclusive sportswear for Newcastle students.

AU Officer Benthe Tanghe wins fight for gender inclusive sportswear. Read the Courier article here.

Listen to Dorothy Chirwa on the Wonkhe podcast as they try to work out what levelling up means as the PM unveils a new white paper on the policy objective.

Environment

  • Sustainability Induction Video

Alongside the University Sustainability Team, Ethics and Environment Rep, Chloe Thompson, has been working on the production of an induction video focused on sustainability. This video aims to inform new students on the work so far as well as how to get involved in campaigning on climate change or to simply find out how best to recycle on campus. Look out for the final edited version in the new academic year.

  • Leave Newcastle Happy (LNH)

Leave Newcastle Happy returned for the 2021 summer move out. Student were encouraged to donate their unwanted items to the British Heart Foundation or recycle responsibly.Check out the resources page with information on local waste recycling centres and locations of the BHF donation banks. We also organised food collections from the 24th May onwards for left-over food that can be donated to local food banks. The collection boxes were located on the main student streets and we coordinated with student volunteers to collect each day.

Student Safety

  • Harm reduction

Together, we are making Harm Reduction a reality! Over the past year, there has been an immense shift in positive attitudes towards harm reduction. A considerable part of this has been thanks to you all, our students. The survey we circulated in November 2020 had an incredible number of responses, allowing us to create a report that pushed the case for harm reduction at both the University and here at NUSU.

Here at NUSU, we pushed for harm reduction to be interwoven into all aspects of the University Policy on alcohol and drug use (now in the consultation stages). We look forward to hearing about the progress of the new proposed policy and we are anticipating a positive outcome. – Nadia Ahmed (NUSU Welfare and Equality Officer). Read Nadia’s update here.

  • Safety warning

We received information about unlicensed taxis operating in the city. Read the safety information here.

Belonging to Newcastle

Led by President, Dorothy Chirwa and alongside the already established Discover Newcastle, President Recommends was launched in May.Living in a vibrant city like Newcastle may have been one of the main reasons of choosing to study here and if not students will have most probably benefited from the lifestyle during their time here. As we move into the next phases of getting life back on track Dorothy wanted to take the chance to encourage you all to shop local and help out those smaller, niche and diverse Newcastle businesses who will be trying to get back on their feet following the long days of lockdowns 1, 2 and 3. Not only is there a massive and diverse amount of choice but you can help to save jobs or even create more, get some great deals all while supporting the wider local economy.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental Health is vital to take care of and as it’s always a key priority students want us to prioritise. We wanted to assist you in looking after yourself during the exam period. Support looks different to each person but we wanted to help students give themselves permission to pause and take a breath through the emotions that can be harder to manage. This campaign ran through the exam period, providing free resources and activities to give students and staff that all-important time to pause. All the activities and resources were covid secure making it safe to take a break and pause.

Great news for Charlotte Boulton, NUSU PG Officer who was awarded Highly Commended from Find a Masters, for her recent PG Mental Health campaign in term 2. Congratulations and well deserved!

NUSU Council

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. Keep up to date with the comings and goings of NUSU Council including the passing of the NUSU Hate Crime Policy and NUSU Alcohol and Drug Policy at the final (epic) meeting of the year. Council is now paused over summer but will be back in full effect in the new academic year.

Another year comes to a close with hopes and wishes that next year will allow us all to get back to doing the things we cherish in full and this definitely includes repping you. Look out for the new Officers around campus and how they move forward in existing work or introduce their own campaigns, projects and initiatives.  Have a great summer all, good luck to those graduating and returners, we look forward to seeing you in the new academic year!

Get in touch if you want to find out more or how to get involved!