John Gilbert was a faculty rep for Health Sciences who helped to shape improved wellbeing in his faculty, alongside his representation work. We caught up with John at the Alumni Awards where he received an award for this work.
As a faculty rep, John was involved in chairing and steering the staff/student liaison committees, as well as attending the other variety of meetings and steering groups that he sat on to represent the 2,400 medical, dental and veterinary students in the faculty.
“On top of this I initiated and led the organisation of the faculty mental health survey which had a staggering response rate and has led to sweeping changes in the faculty and hopefully the university in terms of the support that students with mental health problems will receive.”
John was inspired by personal experience from friends and family with mental health problems. “I felt as a medical, veterinary and dental student there wasn’t enough support available to us in the faculty and uni, especially because we have longer placements, longer digress courses and longer-term times and so I felt by approaching the SU who were very open and receptive I was able to run this project and make a great change to the university.”
As a result of this survey the veterinary, medical and dentistry schools are making a lot of changes and recommendations to the support they offer students. John hopes that “next year this survey will be run across the University to try and shape the mental health support that all students will now receive.”
Course reps and academic societies were pivotal to the success of the survey and John worked very closely with the course reps within all three courses. In particular the dental society and veterinary society really helped in terms of testing the survey, making sure it worked for students and also then putting the survey out to students. This led to a fantastic response rate, as well as assistance in getting the message back out to students with the results and what the uni are now doing about it.
John said that “Being a course rep at Bristol University is a really fantastic opportunity. It’s an entirely supportive and encouraging culture and it’s an invaluable opportunity to make a great change to your peers and your friends, your course and for your University.”
Nominations for course and faculty rep roles are open now at www.bristolsu.org.uk/elections
Nominate yourself or recommend a friend by Thursday 1st March.