The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

student living: ruth day

 

Hey everyone, I’m Ruth and I’m your Student Living Officer again this year! My role is all about ensuring that you have the best student life possible, focusing on mental health and wellbeing, housing, sustainability, finances and community outreach.

I have done three years out of four of my degree in Maths and Philosophy – I’m taking two years out to represent you full-time, and once this year is over I will go back to finish my degree! When I was a student, I got involved in as many campaigns as I could. I was involved in Bristol, Cut the Rent campaigning for fairer housing in the city and University, and also was involved in mental health campaigning with the society Support Our Services. I was also part of the LGBT+ Society committee for two years and really enjoyed running campaigns and events to bring together fellow LGBT+ students.

As your Student Living Officer I work to ensure that every student has safe and affordable housing, is able to access the support they need, and for sustainability to be a focus of our University and SU. I also work with the Wellbeing Network, RAG & Volunteering Network, Sustainability Network, Care Leavers and Estranged Students Network, and Parents, Carers & Mature Students Network to ensure that student voices are represented. Most importantly, I want to work with you to create a University and SU that works for you!

Some of my highlights from the last year include:

 

  • Winning students £13 million in rent rebates from university accommodation.
  • Lobbying the university to provide more support to isolating students including isolation care packages, mental health and wellbeing support, and no fees for students isolating past the end of their tenancy dates
  • Securing funding for our All About Drugs harm reduction programme - providing advice and support on alcohol and drugs to students (including free drug reagent test kits).
  • Implementing a new process for Personal Tutoring which includes a Blackboard portal, enhanced training, and improved EDI guidance for tutors.
  • Leading Bristol SU's Climate Emergency Day of Action featuring a People's Assembly, workshops, and a range of talks from high-profile speakers including Ed Milliband, Mya Rose Craig, and Marvin Rees.

What have I done so far?

 

July

  • I won free tenancy extensions in University halls for those having to self-isolate beyond the end of their tenancy.
  • I secured a commitment from the University to support those isolating past the end of their tenancy via the Coronavirus Impact Fund.
  • Engaged with Thangam Debonnaire MP to ask the Government a question about what they would be doing to support students isolating past the end of their tenancy.
  • I supported the rent strike in wrapping up their incredibly successful campaign.
  • I pushed the University to continue wellbeing support over the summer with temporary staff being brought in and new roles being hired to meet demand.
  • I inluenced and shaped the final draft of the University's Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy refresh to ensure student priorities are well-reflected.
  • I shaped the University's Suicide Prevention and Response Plan.
  • I continued to work to embed PROJECT:TALK's fantastic work within the SU and set up a Peer Support Panel within our structures to support this.
  • Jason and I's EDI guidance for Personal Tutoring is complete and will be published shortly.
  • I am continuing to work on Personal Tutor training and presented about it at the recent BILT Conference.
  • I continued to work with the Digital Education Office to create a Personal Tutor Blackboard Portal for the coming academic year.
  • I secured £4,000 of funding for the All About Drugs campaign for the upcoming year.
  • I secured a commitment from the University to look at a scheme to better join up support for disabled students.
  • I worked with the housing co-op to support them in growing membership, writing a business plan and raising money for a surveyor.
  • I secured a meeting with Tom Renhard, Bristol City Council's Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes about the Council's Spatial Development Plan to push for more affordable new build student accommodation in the city.
  • I supported the Residential Experience Coordinators with their proposal to reform JCR finances.
  • I secured a commitment from University Senate that the Climate Emergency Day of Action would be timetabled off teaching as far as humanly possible.
  • I continued to shape Bristol SU's plans for COP-26 including planning for a delegation to Glasgow, Bristol and Glasgow-based climate strikes, a Mock COP, and student events in a University-wide COP exhibition space.
  • I secured £10,000 of funding from the Development and Alumni Relations Officer (DARO) to fund a student delegation to go to COP-26 in Glasgow and a whole University People's Assembly in November.
  • I have been working with a group of students on the refresh of the University's Ethical Investments Policy.
  • I have continued to work with the Hungry Caterpillar Food Co-op to shape our plans to pilot a plastic-free shop within the SU in TB1.
  • I have begun shaping Resilife's Welcome offer including pushing for tailored support for students from Liberation backgrounds and student parents.
  • I secured a spot for the Bristol Drugs Project at both the Welcome Fair and Welcome Village to continue our Harm Reduction work.
  • I started creating All About Drugs packs and SHAG bags for students moving into residences in the coming academic year.