Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Our Priorities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 .............................6 Buses Better Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Representation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Sport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Disability Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Equality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Fair Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 International Student Support . . . 11
Tenantsâ€™ Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Volunteering Opportunities . . . . . 13 Food Waste CafĂŠ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Postgraduate Mental Health . . . . . 14 Free Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Welfare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Scrapped Caps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Good Night Owls Scheme . . . . . . . 17 3
Introduction Full Time Officers 2017-18
Lulah, Undergraduate Education Officer. Lucy, Activities Officer. Grainne, Welfare Officer. Aisling, Society and Citizenship Officer. Frida, President. Sarah, Postgraduate Education Officer.
The Studentsâ€™ Union is led by six Full-Time Officers, who are elected by students to represent the views and needs of the student body, and provide and shape the services they want to use. As a Studentsâ€™ Union, our aim is to support and empower students to make positive change to get the most out of their education, ensuring all students have access to a safe, supported and rewarding time at Sussex. All of our activity is completely student led through active democratic accountability and student involvement. The Annual Priorities are made up of the manifesto pledges that each of the Full-Time Officers made during their election campaign. By ensuring that students themselves have had the opportunity to shape how we operate, we hope that we will reflect and meet the needs of our diverse membership.
Our Priorities As President of the Students’ Union, Frida Gustafsson is responsible for overseeing the work that the Union does, and is passionate about improving the lives of students studying at Sussex. Frida is originally from Sweden and chose to study in Britain because of her interest in British politics and love of Harry Potter! She enjoys running, reading, debating and working. Frida’s priorities are:
Books We will set up an online platform for students to buy and sell second-hand textbooks, helping the environment, saving students money and meaning that old textbooks don’t go to waste. We are setting up our new book resale website in the spring term, marking the launch with a literary event, and keeping it active throughout the year.
Buses Lengthy queues and buses packed full of people, particularly during peak times, means that getting to and from campus can be difficult for students. The cost of travel has also continued to increase, adding to financial pressures. To improve services for students, we will lobby Brighton and Hove Buses by creating a Union policy to make commuting easier and cheaper. We will also lobby the University to ensure there are more bike racks on campus and restart and support the Union’s Re:Cycle student group, to encourage more people to cycle to and from university.
Better Union We will increase awareness of the work we do and what we have achieved. We hope this will encourage increased participation from the student body, which will ensure we better represent their views. In the past, we have not been clear about how the Union can benefit students, so we want to make sure all students understand what we do and feel more invested and engaged with our work. We will introduce our new student feedback system, The Loop, into our work and enhance our ability to speak on behalf of students. We will also strengthen the connection and communication between our Student Reps and Full-Time Officers, and make Union Council more accessible to the student community. 7
Lucy Williams, Activities Officer is enthusiastic about ensuring that Sussex students are aware of what the Students’ Union does, and that they trust the Union to act as their voice. During her time as a student Lucy was a member of many different societies, which allowed her to try out a wide range of new things and meet a diverse mixture of people. Lucy’s priorities are:
Representation We do great things and welcome everyone to get involved, but, we understand that some students don’t know how the work we do is relevant to them, or representative of their views. To do this, we’re changing the way referenda on position statements - that is, the stance the Union takes on something - work, to ensure that they need a minimum turnout of 10% of students for decisions to be binding. We also want to ensure all students know about the opportunities they have here at the Union so we’ll distribute posters across campus including versions translated into Mandarin. In addition, Full-Time Officers will spend as much time as possible talking to students and attending events, and do a better job in letting you know about the activities and support that we offer here.
Sport As there will not be a Varsity sports competition against Brighton University this year, we have to prove that Sussex and Brighton Unis deserve a Varsity in future years. Sport at Sussex needs to get the recognition and support it deserves. We will put on a Varsity styled sports competition for alumni to compete against current students and take part in the BUCS Take a Stand campaign to demonstrate our commitment to responsible behaviour. Weâ€™ll also work closely with SussexSport, BrightonSU, Sports Reps, SportBrighton and the Sussex senior management to mend our relationships and demonstrate all sides can be trusted for a future event.
Disability Sports We love that many of our students get involved with sport while at University, from representing Sussex at BUCS, to taking part in activities with Active US. Because we want to make sure all our events are available to all, we are working to ensure activities at Sussex are more accessible for students with disabilities. We want to produce an accessibility handbook for the Freshers Fair and create community-wide partnerships with sporting groups that offer accessible sports provision across Brighton and Hove. 9
Lulah Strathearn Brady is the Undergraduate Education Officer, and is taking time out of her course to help run the Students’ Union. Lulah is passionate about teaching and learning for undergraduates. She likes going to the beach, hanging out with her friends and being politically active. Lulah’s priorities are:
Equality The Union believes that everyone should have equal opportunities and equal access to services at Sussex. That’s why we want to make sure that the University’s policies, procedures and practices are based in law and best practice. We will do this by implementing a Union Access Policy, lobbying the University to create an Equality and Diversity unit and commit to long-term funding to cover costs previously met by the Disabled Students’ Allowance.
Fair Assessment We believe the University can go much further to ensure that students who suffer from difficulties during assessment periods are not disadvantaged as a result. We will campaign for an equitable assessment system that doesn’t punish students for circumstances affecting their capability to engage in academia. To do this, we will to lobby the University to put a disability expert on the Reasonable Adjustments Panel, to review the procedures used by students who require adjustments for their assessments or suffer exceptional circumstances, and to conduct a review of the automatic resit mode. 10
International Student Support Starting life at university can be difficult at the best of times, let alone for students who travel from across the world to study at Sussex. International students often experience issues not faced by students who have spent their life in the UK. Thatâ€™s why we plan to identify these barriers to success and address them, to allow their time at Sussex to be as rewarding as possible. To do this, will appoint a part-time Mandarin translator for the Studentsâ€™ Union, provide greater support for international students on housing, and lobby the University to provide better language support to international students. 11
Aisling Murray is the Society and Citizenship Officer and a History graduate. She wants to ensure that the University sticks to their ethical and environmental investment policy, and to encourage students to get more involved in the local community. Aisling likes campaigning on issues that matter to her and listening to folk music. Aisling’s priorities are:
Tenants’ Union We want to make sure that students have the power to stand up for their rights in private housing and hold their landlords and lettings agents to account when things go wrong. That’s why we are creating a collective body of students from both Brighton and Sussex universities, as well as members of the wider community in Brighton, to act as a tenants’ union and campaign on housing issues. We plan to mobilise housing campaign groups in Brighton, Brighton Students’ Union, students at Sussex and tenants in Brighton to bring people together to form a tenants’ union, hold a workshop with ACORN (a national tenants’ union) to help set it up, and encourage students and tenants to sign up to empower them to stand up to their landlords and lettings agents.
Volunteering Opportunities We want to make students feel empowered to get involved and volunteer in their local communities. Students have a lot to offer and we would like to challenge the negative perceptions some have around those who come to study at Sussex. That’s why we plan to expand our volunteering schemes by learning more about what our current volunteers do for their communities, encourage other students to follow their example, and look at the opportunities in neighbourhoods in Brighton that volunteers from Sussex could get involved with.
Food Waste Café Our Food Waste Café that we launched last year was a great success and this year we want to make it even better. We want to make the Food Waste Café into a permanent feature on campus that turns food waste into healthy meals served on a pay as you feel basis. We aim to do this by identifying a permanent location where we can cook, store and serve food, find a sustainable model for it to operate and set up a food collection point on campus where people can donate food that would otherwise go to waste.
Sarah McIntosh is the Postgraduate Education Officer and is currently completing her Masters. She is keen to ensure that the Students’ Union recognise that postgraduate students have different priorities to undergraduates, and that these priorities are identified and catered for. Sarah is a political activist and feminist and says that being at Sussex has encouraged her to be more proactive in activism. Sarah’s priorities are:
Protestival Sussex University has a long and proud history of protest and speaking out against injustice and, to celebrate 50 years of student activism, we plan on organising a three day event to enthuse students and staff around the power of student activism. As part of ‘Protestival’, we will organise an academic conference centred around student activism over the ages, book speakers and arrange gigs, and hold an alumni event for previous generations to reminisce about their time protesting injustice.
Postgraduate Mental Health Support Mental health is a major crisis facing those at university, with one in four students suffering from a mental health condition. Whilst undergraduates have access to a range of help and support, the help received by the postgraduate community is significantly more limited. To address this, the Students’ Union will ensure postgraduates feel more emotionally supported and engaged at university by expanding the recruitment of postgraduate students in the Buddy Scheme and making sure mental health awareness training is provided to all frontline staff, with priority given to PhD supervisors and academics on misconduct panels.
Free Education Increases in tuition fees over the last few years have put increasing pressure on students, with many concerned about how much they will have to pay back. The Studentsâ€™ Union has long been a supporter of free education and we aim to take that commitment further by facilitating the Degrees, Not Fees campaign. As part of this, we will mobilise a student-led campaign around free education at Sussex, research different models where the abolition of tuition fees can work or has worked in the past, and build a national network of officers from different studentsâ€™ unions to create a unified campaign to lobby the government. 15
Grainne Gahan is the re-elected Welfare Officer and a neuroscience graduate. She has already introduced a drug testing kit scheme, and re-written the University’s mental health policy. She’s keen to build on her work from last year, and introduce a welfare rep scheme, that will report on welfare issues from each school. Grainne is a big dog lover, and thinks petting them is great for wellbeing. Grainne’s priorities are:
Welfare Our Student Reps do great work to make students’ academic life better and ensure that they can reach their full potential at university. We want to make sure that they are able to achieve even more to improve the student experience, which is why we are creating a Welfare Forum - a space where Student Reps can flag up welfare issues and discuss ideas to better promote welfare within their schools. Over the year ahead, we will consult with our Student Reps on how they would like the forum to run, organise forums at least once per term and establish a system for ensuring issues flagged at forums are acted upon.
Scrapped Caps Students can sometimes face difficulty during completion of their assessments and they are unable to achieve their full potential when they then have to resit capped at 40% for undergraduates and 50% for postgraduates. We believe that these students deserve a second chance and we plan to fight to scrap the cap on resits and replace it with a fairer system. This year, we intend to run a Scrap the Cap campaign, undertake research to better understand issues, identify alternatives to the cap and submit a paper to the University proposing the removal of the cap.
Good Night Owls Scheme We care about the safety of all of our students and we want to make sure that when they go to town for a night out that they feel safe and protected. Thatâ€™s why we are launching our Good Night Owls scheme, to provide students out in town on Wednesday evenings with a friendly point of contact and signposting to welfare-related information. Over the next year, we plan to secure funding and training for resources, recruit and train volunteers, and promote our scheme to students.
The Annual Priorities are made up of the manifesto pledges that each of the Full-Time Officers made during their election campaign. By ensur...
Published on Mar 14, 2018
The Annual Priorities are made up of the manifesto pledges that each of the Full-Time Officers made during their election campaign. By ensur...