Hi everyone. The last few weeks have been chaos (in a good way!), largely due to the University’s current financial situation. However, this hasn’t prevented me from acting upon what students want, and I’m pleased to say there has been some really good progress, over the past month or so. This article is a snapshot of what I have been working on, but do get in touch with me if you’d like any further information!
As many of you are probably aware, much of my time, over the past few weeks, has been dedicated to the University’s current financial situation. My priority during this period has been to ensure all students are able to feed in to the process, and that their voice is heard. That is why we have been setting up focus groups with Course Representatives, and have been collating all comments and concerns that have been emailed to your Students’ Union. I have always believed that this process cannot happen without transparency, which is why your Sabbatical Officers pushed the University to send out the ‘business cases’ to all students.
We have now compiled all your comments into a report, which has been sent to the University Executive. When we get a detailed response to the report, we will have a better idea of the extent to which student concerns and views have been taken into account.
If you would like clarity or any more information about the situation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I have got lots of feedback over the past few months about Blackboard, and in particular how it can be difficult to negotiate and find the relevant areas. I have passed on these complaints to the University, particularly at the IT Task Group. I am pleased to say that Blackboard will be getting a revamp over the summer, and should be much easier to use by September!
Work Experience placements
I have also been dedicating much of my time to developing work experience opportunities for students across the University. From getting student feedback, I have learned that students view such experience as invaluable, as it can help students become more employable, and helps them develop a whole manner of transferable skills. In some cases, it also helps students find a permanent job, in the long run.
I have been working closely with the University on this, and I am delighted to say that, from September, the plan is for every undergraduate degree programme to have a work placement module offered to students. Some courses already offer work experience, but it definitely is not standardised across the University, which I want it to be. The University works closely with some leading employers, such as the NHS, Network Rail and Santander, and I want students to get more out of these partnerships.
One of my other priorities is Undeb Bangor’s plastic-reduction campaign, which I have been spearheading. Examples of what we have achieved so far include making sure each catering outlet is a water refill point, and ensuring reusable hot drinks mugs are on sale for all students.
I will be developing this campaign, by encouraging clubs, societies and volunteering projects to reduce their plastic consumption. I will be providing them with examples of how they can join in with the campaign, such as reducing their plastic waste at social events and activities, and by shopping locally, where possible.
Over the past couple of weeks, however, we have had further developments. I have been working with the University’s Catering team on this campaign. They have pledged to reintroduce metal spoons to all the outlets, so that customers will not have to use plastic or wooden stirrers when buying a hot drink. They are also replacing sachets of condiments, such as ketchup, with bottles which can be refilled. This will remove some unnecessary single-use plastic!
Please do get in touch with me if you have any further information on any of these campaigns or priorities.
By Mark Barrow