UPSU Impact Report 2016 / 17

Page 1


Welcome Executive officers Lowri Jones // Steph Wearne // ChloĂŠ Mills // Philippa Williams Davide Bertelli // Jess Vagg

EXTERNAL & STUDENT TRUSTEES Adrian Bratt // Matthew Horton // Jane Hopkinson Graham Stirling // NĂşria Filella // Kieren Perry

STAFF Lewis Akeroyd // Emma Anderson // Rebecca Anderson Velu Balasubramanian // Sophie Bannan // Lucy Bannister Sarita Banyard // Jane Benton // Tammy Boniface Joe Brearley // Lauren Brickley // James Came Susan Cannon // Lisa Carkett // Alan Cheyne // Helen Chitseko Alec Cockram // Gina Connelly // Fiona Covell // Taylor Curtis Sarah Davey // Harry Davis // Kara Dimery // Nicola Doyle Carl Evans // Alan Ford // Jayne Ford // Daniel Forster Esther Gray // Victoria Greenway // Julie Hahn // Janine Hems Richard Hicks // Oliver Horne // Sarah Hounsell // Arun Hudson Stephanie Hurley // Rachel Ince // Carmen Jarvis Nadine Jeffery // Hayley Johnson // Barbara Kaminska Dean Lawton // Mark Lockett // James Mack // Sarah Masey Abby Mason // Daniel Matthews // Josephine Meakin Louise Mealand // Rachel Miller // Helen Milne Jonathan Noades // Julie Page // Johanne Porter // Joe Porter Tracy Priestman // Katie Quick // Joanna Reed Margaret Rees // Michael Richards // Paul Robinson David Rose // Michelle Rysdale // Ian Short // Heather Stenning Leona Sutton // Rhiannon Sweet // Nicola Symons Dean Toney // Susan Twomey // Natalie Watts Jacqueline Wakeling // Laura Webb // Steve Whear Nichola Wheeldon // Emma Wiggin // Ben Wiginton Kate Wood // Paula Woodley

UPSU continued on its journey of success throughout the 2016-17 academic year where we represented the voice of our members and delivered excellent services and activities with the aim of achieving the highest quality student experience here at the University of Plymouth. We are making excellent progress in working towards the goals and ambitions laid out in our 2015-18 Strategic Plan whilst also continuing to research the up-to-date needs of our diverse student body. To ensure that our decisions and plans are wellinformed and based on relevant research and feedback from our students, we have appointed a new Insight Manager who will ensure our research and surveys are conducted and analysed effectively ready to feed into our planning process. This year we have also created a new Student Development Manager position to help drive forward our ambitions around employability, which is one of our key strategic themes. The main overarching aims of the role are to both develop and diversify the training provided to students by the Union, as well as developing systems and processes to ensure students can articulate their learning and development within the context of employability. We also made a new joint appointment with the University this year by recruiting a new Head of Sport who will oversee the development of a refreshed Sports Strategy. We are looking at the current facilities on campus, along with the landscape across the city and the surrounds, in particular looking at the partnerships, facility use and opportunities for us to deliver an improved sporting experience for our students here at Plymouth. Our Advice and Representation teams have been brought closer together to support the development of needs-led campaigns, with social policy issues identified through casework informing elected representatives. This year has seen a spike in demand of our Advice service with an increase of 42% overall. Reasons for this are multi-faceted and flexible delivery methods have meant that the quality of service has not diminished.

In December 2016 the Trustees made the decision to change the legal form of UPSU from an unincorporated association to a Company Limited by Guarantee to take effect from 1st August 2017. Most Students’ Unions and charities of our size have already undertaken this process and the new legal form will ensure we are fit for purpose going forward whilst remaining a well-governed, sustainable organisation. We continue to celebrate the successes of all of our student communities through our Sports, Societies, Volunteering and the SSTAR awards. We received an incredible 1,120 nominations for our SSTAR awards this year, 59 students were recognised for their sporting achievements and 44 for their accomplishments through their societies and activities. Our students also recorded a huge number of volunteering hours again this year, with 24,042 community volunteering hours in total. Students continued their passion for fundraising, this year raising £257,921 for local and national charities. This is an outstanding achievement for our students and clearly demonstrates their commitment to giving something back to society. UPSU was also recognised as a successful, high achieving organisation this year as we achieved the NUS Best Bar None Gold award, NUS Green Impact Gold, and Best Student Venue in Plymouth in the Plymouth Best Bar None Awards. We were also delighted, and very proud, to have achieved the Investors in People Gold standard for the second time, this time under the new tougher IiP 6 criteria. This sets UPSU apart as one of the top five employers in the city, creating a virtuous circle where we are able to recruit the best people and apply a framework to engage them. We strive for continuous improvement and sustainability at UPSU and one of the ways we do this is by inspiring and engaging our amazing staff team to facilitate student experiences now and into the future. Despite our many achievements and successes, this year has not been without its challenges especially in terms of commercial competition, both on and off campus, which has resulted in some budget challenges for us. However, with excellent cost control and the outstanding efforts of the commercial teams, we have seen improvements and we are hopeful we will still achieve our year-end financial targets.

Our Executive Officers, Forum Chairs and student representatives have also been busy running successful campaigns, activities and projects this year. From expanding students’ knowledge of the world around them through The Global Project, to encouraging students to keep active and improve their wellbeing through the One Step campaign, the officers have impacted many aspects of student experience. The Stress Less campaign continues with many diverse events and fun activities and other projects such as the A-Z of help on the website and the Little Book of Help have been notable. Campaigns have included a Know Your Rights workshop, developing an International Student Guarantor Scheme, working towards NUS’s Alcohol Impact award and hosting a hustings for the General Election candidates. Furthermore, the officers have been lobbying and working in partnership with the university, at a high level on many different issues, including but not limited to, the visual identity, mental health provision, graduation, the estate strategy and the new sports strategy. The Forum Chairs have also been working hard to make changes at the University such as the LGBT+ forum taking part in discussions around the new Students and Staff Trans Policy and gender-neutral toilets. The BAME forum raised the issue of the black attainment gap and the lack of support in counselling on campus, whilst the Environment & Sustainability forum took part in UPSU’s work on Green Impact. It has been another great year for UPSU and the rest of this report demonstrates how our amazing students and staff continue to work towards our vision of transforming lives through experience.

Lowri Jones

UPSU President 2016-17

Gina Connelly

UPSU Chief Executive



VP Education

VP Welfare

Lowri Jones

Steph Wearne

Chloé Mills

This year has been incredible and it’s truly been an honour to work with so many fantastic students and staff members on some brilliant campaigns and activities. The Global Project was a new initiative bringing together students who want to learn about our impact on wider society, we worked with the local community up in Mutley, started making meaningful changes as a part of NUS’ Alcohol Impact, created the ‘Eat, Sleep, Recycle, Repeat’ campaign which will continue next year, and developed a Student Charter. After the General Election was called, we pushed students to register to vote and hosted hustings with local candidates, which was watched online by hundreds. We also influenced and lobbied the university on a range of issues and I am so proud of all of our achievements.

This year we elected 18 School Reps, including the Graduate School of Management for the first time ever, and trained over 400 Course Reps at our annual Course Rep Conference. We worked to increase Postgraduate representation within the University and now host termly ‘Have Your Say Sessions’ with the Director of the Graduate School, and took Postgraduate students strawberry picking as part of the Stress Less Campaign. We have also secured over £10k of funding for the Postgraduate Experience Grant which is fantastic! We received the most SSTAR Award nominations ever at a whopping 1,121 and introduced a bespoke award for Postgraduate Supervisors! We held another Puppy & Cupcake Party, handed out thousands of sweets in collaboration with the Advice Centre and held a Virtual Reality session as part of the Stress Less campaign.

I’m so proud to have been your VP Welfare this year. Free mental health training was offered, 10,000 copies of the Little Book of Help were given out and I created an online A – Z of Help. I reviewed the Know The Line campaign, creating a huge report on it, and undertaking training on bystander intervention and preventing sexual assault. I worked with Philippa to create the One Step campaign, and to provide self-defence lessons, run by the Ju Jitsu club. UPSU joined the NUS Alcohol Impact accreditation scheme, which promotes responsible drinking on campus. I held two Safe Sex Soirees, giving out over 1,200 goody bags with links to local services. Free chlamydia tests and sanitary items are now available in the toilets, and HIV testing is now weekly in the Wellbeing Centre.

VP International & Outreach

VP Sport

VP Activities

Davide Bertelli

Philippa Williams

Jess Vagg

2016-17 has been a positive year for international and off campus students. Students set up the first ever UPSU offcampus society at Cornwall College, Eden campus. A cooperative approach between the Union, the officers and the students has ensured the creation of a strong structure that can now be replicated across all our regional campuses.

This year has been a great one for Sport at UPSU! A huge success at the very start of the year was the introduction of a Quiet Hour to the Sports and Societies Fair. Measures were implemented to keep the fair quiet, approachable and relaxed, to improve accessibility for all students at Plymouth University.

I led on the development of the University Guarantor Scheme, aimed at helping international students to access private rented accommodation with the University acting as a guarantor, potentially making a huge difference for vulnerable students. With the help and support of UPSU staff and of our incredible students, I have also helped to shape the University’s practices and to bring our most marginalised students to the forefront of our priorities.

Our annual Sports Awards was a huge success. The evening celebrated over 100 individuals for their dedication and passion for sport and the local community. Sport has seen a rise in social media promotion and student engagement throughout the year through the collaboration of all social media into a central page for Sport. Coupled with this, we have seen a drastic increase in the participation of Give It A Go, alongside an increase in clubs getting involved.

It has been an amazing year across activities at UPSU! I have worked this year to increase the profile of our student-led societies and increase funding to allow them to provide for their collective 3,700 engaging members. I’ve worked to expand support for our student leaders within societies, providing more training, information sessions and optional drop-ins, allowing them to expand and grow their societies. I have strived to champion our amazing student volunteers, I have worked to increase engagement from groups that don’t normally engage in volunteering, and we have seen increasing involvement from societies and sports. SU:Media have had a successful first year, I have supported them in establishing themselves within the University community and also giving them a platform to work with other student groups on a wide range of projects.

REPRESENTATION & DEMOCRACY Our core purpose is to represent the views of our students, to facilitate and drive positive changes and improvements to their University lives.

this year: We have supported 60 election candidates running across 19 elections. 3,066 individual student voters cast a total of 12,778 votes in the main elections. 10 Forum Chairs have hosted 38 meetings and have been running campaigns throughout the year, the most notable campaigning being the LGBT Forum gender-neutral toilet and Dead naming and mis-gendering campaigns. Others include collaboration with the Women Of Plymouth University project, the Eat Sleep, Recycle and Gardening sessions. The Student Voice team have supported over 868 Course Representatives, delivering 5 Course Representative Training Conferences this year. 17 Elected School Representatives were supported to provide help for students with issues around lectures, timetables and transport. 7 Union Executive Committee meetings have been held across the year with 6 motions being discussed and passing 4. These motions will become UPSU policy for the next 2 years.

We ran an awareness campaign for student voter registration for the General Elections and held a hustings with all the main parties in Plymouth in attendance. We sent a full delegation (7) of students to NUS National Conference to represent the voice of Plymouth students on a national level. We worked in collaboration with students to lobby the University for improved recycling facilities and to educate other students on the benefits of recycling. We launched the Global Citzenship Programme, where we engaged our students with events, talks with external speakers and discussions over the issues of liberation and sustainability (Black History Month, Disabled History, LGBT+, Women’s Day and Green Week).

The best part of being a Course Representative is getting the voice of my fellow students across to our year leader and programme leader - these views have positively changed the way assignments are set, marking and feedback and problems within seminars.

Voting is important because the student voice is the most important when it comes to deciding the future for the university. Voting ensures that our thoughts and ideas are heard by the right people.

I have attended excellent student rep training throughout my 3 years being a student representative. I have thoroughly enjoyed my role and the opportunities it has given me.

Representing Plymouth students at NUS 2017 Conference has been an honour. The students invested me with the responsibility of ensuring their opinions were represented at a national level, helping to shape the direction of the student movement.

Participation & Engagement We believe that by increasing and deepening participation, both students and the Union will be strengthened, creating lasting positive effects on the overall University experience.

this year: 24,042 community volunteering hours were recorded by 782 UPSU volunteering students. 107 students achieved the 50 hour award, 52 students achieved the 100 hour award and 23 achieved the 200 hour award. 4 Student Led Volunteering Projects, overseen by 12 Project Leaders saw 207 students contributing 2,850 volunteer hours this year to local organisations such as Dartmoor Zoo, Special Olympics & Moor Trees. 139 student volunteers engaged with the Relays@UPSU project, who in total delivered 585 hours of volunteering. The UPSU Sports Centre gym had 40,783 visits this year. We continued to deliver the largest Open Mic night in the city, with over 12,000 attendees throughout the year. Our nightclub had over 65,000 attendees and was voted as the Best Student Venue in the city at the Best Bar None Plymouth Awards in November 2016. Societies delivered 25 Give It A Go sessions with over 250 participants attending. 918 students took part in Give It A Go Sport sessions: a 62% increase on 15/16 over 15 different activities.

Over 1,000 participants took part in Intramural Sport, running 5 leagues and 10 tournaments. We supported students to host 103 external speakers on campus. 13 students signed up to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, with 1 Gold awarded. 37 teams played in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), with 450 students competing. Our overall BUCS League Position was 57 out of 159 institutions. League winners were Ladies’ Volleyball, Ladies’ Lacrosse, Men’s Lacrosse, Ladies’ Tennis, American Football, Ladies’ Hockey 2nd, Men’s Fencing and Men’s Football 3rd teams. We regained the Varsity championship for the 5th consecutive year, with 18 teams, 11 sports and 673 students competing, raising over £16,000 for local charities. Our Motivate, Generate, Activate Sport England Project had 976 participants. We ran the Watersports Festival, a student-led event open to students, staff and the public, with 137 sessions provided.

I have gained so much more confidence since being a part of a society. I would have never thought I would have spoken in front of my cohort.

I am personally very happy with the SU, I always have great nights in there as well as enjoying daytime social events. It really adds to student life.

Intramural Sport has been a really good way for me to meet new people without the pressure of being in a really competitive team.

The UPSU Summer Ball was the best way to end my time at Plymouth University #upsusb17 What a super night to round off 3 years at University #upsusb17

EMPLOYABILITY Securing a job and enhancing employability is very important to our students. We provide a variety of opportunities to help develop skills that will enable our members to seek employment now and in the future.

this year: We created a new Student Development Manager position to help drive forward our ambitions around employability. They have recruited 7 Peer-to-Peer student trainers, in order to provide skills-based workshops to their fellow students around leadership, teamwork, social media and public engagement. Our Sports clubs and Societies committees received 15 different workshops to help them with leadership and skills training, with over 350 students in attendance. 1,305 students had roles, activites and achievements recognised by UPSU to be included in their Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR), an 18% increase on the last year’s launch of our contribution to HEAR.

In the annual UPSU Volunteering survey 78% of students said community volunteering had increased their employability and 73% said volunteering had benefited their studies. Over 400 student staff were employed by UPSU during the year, receiving full training and skills development. ÂŁ471,000 was paid to our student staff in wages. Our largest area of student employment is our bar, which currently employs in excess of 70 student bar staff and supervisors at any one time. All student staff have been provided with full training and progression opportunities. 19% of our salaried staff at UPSU are University of Plymouth Graduates.

Being in a society has given me a range of skills and experiences which has boosted my CV and has aided my search for graduate jobs.

I have worked at the SU, so for it to have provided me with the opportunity to earn money alongside my studies has really enhanced my time at university.

Being a student volunteer has greatly assisted me in my aspirations of becoming a doctor - I have received two offers to study postgraduate Medicine and the experiences I have gained through volunteering have definitely helped increase my knowledge in the field.

UPSU provided me with an employment opportunity that has fitted around my studies.

Being on a club committee has helped me develop teamworking skills and has improved my communication skills, these will help boost my CV in the graduate market.

SUPPORT & Wellbeing The wellbeing of our students and staff team is essential for them to enjoy a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. Throughout the year we provide support, advice and information to contribute to their positive wellbeing.

this year: Our Advice service supported 5,054 cases this year. This was a 42% increase on the previous year. Student Finance is the top query every month making up 28% of the annual advice enquiries.

We ran a Stress Less campaign during stressful exam periods to support our members. We ran free classes in our sports centre, ran virtual reality sessions and gave out free games and colouring in.

Our Advice service has had a 143% increase in the number of students we have assisted with the University’s Fitness to Practise process.

The UPSU Sports Centre delivered free blood pressure readings, health advice and nutrition advice throughout the year.

We held 12 surgeries at Partner Colleges to support students with questions about progressing to Plymouth University.

Our Accommodation department on average were able to return 90% of each tenant’s deposits, following their checkout from UPSU Accommodation managed properties, reducing deposits deduction by 35% compared to the previous year.

85% of UPSU student volunteers said it had increased their confidence and feeling of self worth. 4 Student Led Volunteering projects hosted a total of 72 Volunteering events/opportunities which allowed students to explore their local area, make new friends and have a positive impact on their local community. Motivate, Generate, Activate, our Sport England Project: 592 female students were involved in activities, 51 students with a disability. 28 students referred by University Counselling /Disability support services.

The UPSU Accommodation department carried out 315 property visits to assist tenants, saving them potential call out costs of over £12,600. The UPSU Bar continued to provide a safe environment for all of our customers, successfully retaining at both local and national levels the Best Bar None scheme (Gold accreditation for NUS and Best Student Venue for Plymouth BBN). We have also continued with the Drink Aware Crew this year and we are actively involved with the NUS Alcohol Impact Scheme.

Everyone at the UPSU Advice centre is extremely friendly, welcoming and incredible. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. Helping me will not change the world, but it will change the world for me.

I am so grateful for your kindness, your time, your compassion and knowledge. I did not stop crying every time I had to deal with Student Finance for 5 long months, but then you helped me with my appeal, listened to me with patience and gave me hope to persevere.

I previously struggled with confidence and speaking in front of people. My volunteering allowed me to develop confidence in engaging with members of the public whilst doing something I really enjoyed and was passionate about.

UPSU is consistent, it is always there if I need somewhere to go, if I feel anxious or need somewhere to sit and clear my head. It’s great that somewhere on campus with a relaxing atmosphere is available to myself and other students, I feel very fortunate.

Communities Our members’ communities might be their course, the activities they are involved in, where they live, study or socialise. We ensure that we support, promote and develop all communities that our students are part of.

this year: £257,921 was raised this year by UPSU Student Fundraisers, the money going towards local and national charities. We had 3,725 students involved in 56 UPSU sports clubs. We had 3,951 society members involved in 120 societies, with 15 new societies introduced this year and 3 reforming. 1,250 school children engaged at 45 local community events and sessions, supported or organised by Relays@UPSU. The UPSU Volunteering department introduced 22 new community partners this year. 2 local Mutley Matters community events were supported by UPSU, including a Halloween Film Screening and a Family Fun Day. Mutley Matters is a community group that looks to enhance greater cohesion between the residents, workers and students of the Mutley neighbourhood area in Plymouth. The Student Staff Teaching and Representation (SSTAR) Awards received a record 1,120 nominations.

We hosted the UPSU Society and Activities Awards – 150 attended the event. 13 main awards were presented, with 37 half colours and 7 full colours being awarded. We hosted the UPSU Sports Awards – 162 attended the event. 8 main awards were presented, with 51 half colours and 8 full colours being awarded. We hosted the UPSU Volunteer Awards – 110 attended the event. 3 main awards were presented, with 17 half colours and 8 full colours being awarded. We ran 15 Market Days on campus throughout the year, bringing local produce and businesses to the University. 71 Partner College visits took place this year with over 1,300 students met and engaged with. We travelled 6,587 miles in the Mobile SU to keep our Partner Colleges communities connected with UPSU. We developed the University Guarantor Scheme, aimed at helping international students to access private rented accommodation with the University acting as a guarantor, potentially making a huge difference for vulnerable students.

The SU plays a vital role in bringing people at university together. A lot of people don’t realise how hard it really is to move away from home and live independently. The SU helps to bring us all together, it gives everyone a chance to socialise with new people and explore new ideas and conversations.

The SU connects people and has many events for all kinds of students. So everyone can really find something for themselves.

Being part of the club breaks up the week. In my foundation year I never went out, it was all work, work, work. By attending sessions it has helped me with my uni work as I feel more relaxed. I now also feel part of a team and my friendship group has widened.

It brings students together from different courses and places. It’s a great way to socialise and meet people you wouldn’t always see.

The best experience of being in a society is the making of friends. This has helped me get through university through some of my toughest parts of my time here at Plymouth.

SUSTAINABILITY To secure the future success and viability of the Union we need to ensure that we develop and maintain quality services and activities, with ethical and well-informed decision-making, delivering long term financial stability.

this year: We were awarded the NUS Green Impact Outstanding Excellence award. The award provides a foundation upon which staff and students alike can work together to develop ethical and environmental credentials at UPSU, with an emphasis upon sustainability.

Our shop has worked with NUS to source Fairtrade and ethically sourced products along with local suppliers. All drinks bottles, cans, sandwich wrappers and coffee cups sold in the shop are recyclable and all the carrier bags biodegradable.

We achieved the Investors in People Gold standard for the second time, this time under the new tougher IiP 6 criteria. This sets UPSU apart as one of the top five employers in the city. We strive for continuous improvement and sustainability at UPSU and one of the ways we do this is by inspiring and engaging our amazing staff team.

We had a strong trading year with most commercial outlets showing a significant improvement in trading levels year on year. Improved performance was seen within our bar and nightclub operation, both exceeding budget expectations for the year, contributing to our financial success and sustainability.

930 hours formal training was undertaken by our salaried staff, allowing them to develop skills and knowledge to facilitate amazing experiences for students.

As a part of UPSU’s commitment to sustainability the Lounge coffee shop introduced coffee grounds recycling in its outlet.

88% of staff would wholeheartedly recommend UPSU as a good place to work (UPSU staff survey 2017). 85% of staff say that the UPSU team has a shared sense of purpose. 93% of staff say that UPSU encourages them to learn and develop to reach their potential. Our Accommodation service gained UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) accreditation, ensuring that our service meets the lettings industry standards. Our catering department has increased the use of disposable products to 93% recyclable.

As a part of our annual survey we introduced a sustainabilty section, working with the Environmental Society (Enviro Soc) to shape the questions to help with the research they need to inform their future campaigns. 7 out of 10 students say that it is very important to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle. We launched the Eat, Sleep, Recycle campaign, aiming to educate students on recycling (in general and in Plymouth) through linking with the council and the community, and lobbying the university to improve its recycling facilities and make the facilities we already have more accessible and easier to use.

The Great Plymouth Spring Clean was an amazing success on the day, the event also improved public opinion of students within the Plymouth community and many students taking part realised how much they can do to help clean up our city.

I love working for UPSU because there is a genuine team spirit, and an encouraging ethos to develop and grow. I feel listened to, and have the freedom to enhance my work using my own talents and abilities.

Through launching the Eat, Sleep, Recycle, Repeat campaign it was amazing to see the engagement from students in the campaign and the value they have in the environment, for themselves and future generations.





£5,570,469 £

University Block Grant

Fundraising Investment Income Trading













Support Services








42 3 40




Clubs and Societies



Clubs and Societies






University of Plymouth Students’ Union is a registered charity in England & Wales No. 1143614