I stood for Students’ Union President here at CCSU because I enjoyed my student experience so much I wanted to pass this onto current and future students. I was already heavily involved with CCSU, particularly within sport as I was a part of the Trampolining and Men’s Football teams. This allowed me to identify with the Union.
I was elected by students to represent their views to the university and beyond; I feel that I have spent my year actively campaigning on a national level and lobbying the institution on a local level to achieve change and progress for students both at CCCU and nationally.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and i’m gutted it’s come to an end! It has been a pleasure working in the SU and I have gained some friends for life in working with Phil, Biba and Nick and the SU staff. It has been so much fun and I wish Nick and Biba continued success for their second sabbatical year, and Phil the best of luck with the new job!
Below is a small snapshot of some of my main highlights from this year!
24 Hour Library
Based on student feedback myself and Phil Semmens submitted a successful paper to the University advocating the need for 24-hour library opening. This came into force during November-December and March-May and shows what feedback from students can do. We're already working on extended dates for next year ensuring maximum efficiency alongside the move to semesters.
After gathering student feedback and working from my manifesto the 24 hour opening was not enough. Students required specific breakaway spaces and stress busting activities to relax and reset. We installed a video booth which was used over 500 times with students telling their peers top revision tips! But to be honest, this just ended in students dancing, flexing and going crazy.
Freebies Given Away:
- 700 Stressballs
- 80 teabags
- 400 dark chocolates
- 150 post-its
- 3 zones
- 2 gazebos
- 10 bean bags
- 2 patchwork classes
- 327 pens/pencils/crayons
- 6 scissors
- 3 glue
- 6 tubes of glitter
- 1 ball of string
- 10 chalks and 6 chalk boards
- 24 board games
- 1 pool table
- 1 table tennis table
- 16 table tennis balls used
- 4 puzzles
- 2486 puzzle pieces put together
- 41 musical instruments
- 8 outside games
- 15 tweet stressless tips
- 6 tweet stressless online games/activities
- 1 competition
*I had to estimate on some of these numbers but they're mostly right! ;)
I had the initial idea to hold the Summer Ball in the Prison site, an idea we thought would be too late, but it wasn’t! With over 1,600 students in attendance and with excellent student and stakeholder feedback, not a single complaint from local residents regarding noise disturbance, it was certainly my favourite Summer Ball!
Deadlines (changes for some courses)
Me and Phil had carefully thought about a new deadline scheme which we thought would be significantly beneficial to students and proposed it to the Faculty of Education. We suggested to allow students to choose their own deadlines within the three week turnaround procedure. This will hopefully stop bunching and allow students to tactically select when they hand in their assignments in order to reduce stress and allow the maximum possible working time on each assignment. This is confirmed and will be taking place in September 2017.
Lecture Capture is something that students have wanted forever! This records lectures and allows lectures to be re-watched when studying or simply to catch up on any missed lectures. Me and Phil Semmens worked alongside relevant IT and Technology committees and key stakeholders to ensure the launch of a pilot scheme for this coming year.
Student Lounge in Broadstairs
Similar to the 24hr library, student and staff feedback coupled with a paper to lobby the University to open a non-commercial student space on campus for students to relax, socialise and study. This has had excellent student feedback and is very heavily used. There is also an addition of a brand new Xbox One S and a wide selection of games for students to use in the student lounge.
NUS National Demo
CCSU participated alongside other students’ unions from across the country in the National Demonstration for Free Education in November, organised by the NUS and UCU, to fight against the increasing cost and inaccessibility of higher education.
Housing and ‘Wait to Rent’
We ran ‘Find a Housemate and Wait to Rent’ events for over 100 students as well as workshops ensuring our students were fully aware of what they were agreeing to before signing a tenancy as part of a ‘Wait to Rent’ drive. There was free pizza too!
In partnership with the University we established the Expect Respect Campaign which took an integrated approach to combating violence against women and lad culture on our campuses, recognising the need to achieve institutional transformation via individual behaviour change.
The Golden Apple Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions that both academic and support staff make to student experiences. This year saw an amazing 795 nominations from students and over 200 staff were able to attend an awards ceremony in The Lounge to receive their awards.
We heavily promoted student voter registration in the runup to the GE and even used our minibus to offer lifts to the polling station to all members of the Canterbury community. We like to think we positively contributed to the 8,000 additional voter registrations in Canterbury, which was one of the highest increases in the country.
We joined thousands of Canterbury residents at the Canterbury Pride March on Saturday 10th June. Along with our LGBT+ community at Christ Church we celebrated our Pride and our inclusive community.
Combined Honours Workshop
As a previous combined honours student myself, I know that there are additional queries and concerns when you first come to University for example, Do both my subjects follow the same procedure? What's the difference between me and a single honours student?
I worked very closely with current and previous students, as well as University staff to ensure a student-led workshop during Freshers’ Week detailing top tips and Q&A for combined honours students. Both workshops were fully subscribed.
Union on Tour
This is the sabbatical listening exercise to students (as opposed to talking or promotion), during which we spoke to thousands of students across 18 separate events on all three main campuses. Over 300 feedback cards were filled in too, all of which informs our campaigning and formal University committee representation activity. It was great to meet so many students and hear their success and struggles, and how we can try and improve and maintain their student experience.
So that's my round-up of the year and I wanted to say that it's been an absolute pleasure!