We're heading into our final week as your SU Officer team!
Before we go, we wanted to give you one final update on what we've been up to recently, and an overview of some of our individual highlights from the last 12 months.
Thanks to all students for your support this year. It's been an incredibly strange year and we hope we've made a difference to your time at Bristol! Your new officer team of Ruth, Lu, Obafemi, Leah, Muazam, Seb, and Ifrah will begin their handover on 14 June - watch this space for updates from them!
Jason, Leah, Roy, David, Julio, Ruth, Rushab
The university should shortly be releasing their initial plans for teaching for the next academic year. Over the past few months, we have been pushing the university to maximise in-person teaching next year, constantly reiterating how important it is that the university's offer is in line with the rest of society. A motion in support of in-person teaching was brought to this week's student council and we know the next officer team will keep holding the university to account.
Our team has campaigned hard this year for the university to act as a guarantor for students seeking privately rented accommodation. Ruth and Roy have recently re-ignited this campaign following the introduction of similar schemes at universities across the UK.
Ruth has successfully secured a commitment for the All About Drugs harm reduction drop-in sessions to continue over the summer. Any student can attend these drop ins for free advice on drugs and alcohol, and to pick up a free drugs reagent test kit.
Ruth, Jason, and Marten (Chair of the Trans Students' Network) met with the Student Health Service to discuss improving access to gender-affirming care for students. They also secured student representation on an NHS focus group on access to care in the South West.
I am most proud of setting up the drop-ins with Bristol Drugs Project as they reached a large number of students and were the first of their kind at a UK University. It was also branded by Students for Sensible Drug Policy as gold-standard in the sector.
It would be great for the university to commit to permanently funding, supporting and promoting this service so that it continues long after I have left the Uni!
This year I worked a lot on improving inclusivity and mental wellbeing in our student groups. I worked with BEAT to deliver training around fatphobia and diet culture, secured women's gym and swim sessions, LGBT+ swim sessions, and launched our Movember campaign which raised £54,000.
It was also great to support the re-launch of the Intramural sport programme in March once restrictions had eased!
I'm really proud of our COVID-19 response work this year - I worked on digital equity, access to materials, digital Welcome, securing the extended study week, student loneliness and isolation, online learning and teaching and more!
I consistently and persistently advocated for PG students from liberation backgrounds – particularly disabled students, parents and carers, and financially disadvantaged students.
I am really proud of my work on consent culture this year. I delivered a research project on consent culture, secured consent workshops to be delivered as part of student induction, and created an updated action plan on preventing sexual violence in the student body.
I have also supported a group of students to set up a campaigning student group on preventing sexual violence.
This year I have consistently lobbied for improvements to education including pushing the university to improve the quality of blended learning, securing a strong package of assessment mitigations, and working to improve the personal tutoring system.
I also launched our Fee Justice Now campaign which, although in its early stages, is already having an impact on the national fee conversation.
One of my proudest achievements was securing funding from the University to cover the cost of PCR tests up to £150 per test for international and study abroad students who required tests before travelling for the Christmas Holidays.
This was then extended to cover the cost of quarantine test packages (up to £210) and additional funding for students coming back into the UK (with certain exceptions).
This year I successfully secured several new student spaces on campus (The Bristol SU Loft, the extended SU Living Room, and The Beckford).
I ensured student group spaces were secured within the SU and on campus with the requisite safety measures, so that student experience could be maintained during Covid.