Surrey SabbCast

Return to campus 2021

February 05, 2021 University of Surrey Students' Union
Surrey SabbCast
Return to campus 2021
Chapters
Surrey SabbCast
Return to campus 2021
Feb 05, 2021
University of Surrey Students' Union

This week the sabbs talk about the slow to return to campus, and the start of semester 2.
The team also give a roundup on what they have been doing to represent you this week

Show Notes Transcript

This week the sabbs talk about the slow to return to campus, and the start of semester 2.
The team also give a roundup on what they have been doing to represent you this week

Unknown:

Welcome to the sorry sopcast news from the University of Surrey Students Union, all about your student life and what your elected officers have been doing for you this week, representing you across the University of Surrey. Find out more@www.usu.co.uk or find us on Instagram and Facebook at Surrey union.

Lizzie Rodulson:

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Surrey SABC cast. As ever, I am joined by our VPS a Theo, Aaron and Izzy. Unfortunately, Maya couldn't join us tonight. So it's now semester two. And once again, we remain in lockdown. Although each day It seems we do get closer to some better news. The University have updated the return to campus schedule and we eagerly await the forthcoming government guidance. So what's the plan

Unknown:

of teaching at the University of Surrey, this country online only, and that was the case for Monday the eighth of February. However, the government have said that certain courses can resume face to face teaching as part of hybrid education. These courses from the 15th of February are bio sciences and medicine, and all year studying chemistry. from Monday, the eighth of March, all GSA courses, and Electrical and Electronic Engineering undergraduate first years can return to face to face teaching. All of our courses are planned to resume face to face teaching from the eighth of March. However, the government have said they would give one week's notice if there is any change to this. So anytime up until the first of March, these plans may change. Or students return to campus are expected to book an asymptomatic test and have one at least once a week thereafter. For those students who cannot return or do not wish to return because they remain online only, they may apply for a late arrival point. late arrival points are Monday, the first of March, Monday, the eighth of March, and Monday the 19th of April. And you can find the form on the University website.

Lizzie Rodulson:

So you have just heard all about what the university's plans are. for the upcoming weeks and months to in this podcast, we're going to explore a little bit about what your su is doing to support you during lockdown, and what each zone is focusing on to make sure you are getting the support that you need. So Aaron, I am going to kick off with a question for you. So obviously, mental health and support is a huge thing for students, especially throughout lockdown the covid 19 pandemic. So what are the SU what's the support st doing to look after students mental health during this time.

Aaron Seabrook:

So to start off with in February, we have a mental health awareness week. So we're looking to raise awareness during that week partly to obviously, make sure students are aware of their own mental health, which are they looking after it and trying to make sure that their well being is as best as possible, given the current time is, is obviously really tough, having to like all this uncertainty that's going on, and then to come to campus or not come to campus. And then in addition to having to have to do tests so regularly, there's a lot going on. So we want to make sure that we're raising awareness on the different types of mental health. Going aside from the usual sort of talks of anxiety and depression, we want to sort of dive into the other types that are sort of less talked about like personality disorders and eating disorders, which also come up in March for eating disorder Awareness Day and university mental health care. So they're the sort of things we're looking to do over sort of February to March. Over this semester. We're really looking to tackle loneliness as well. We're very well aware of what sort of happened, isolation and lockdowns. Being that I've been into isolations myself, I'm very much aware of how sort of how easy it is to disconnect from the world. And we're very fortunate that the union has managed in conversations with the university, they have got, we have both gone and got something called icebreaker, which is essentially a bit like teams, but it's a bit more informal. And it's a great way for people to get to know each other who didn't know each other. And so what you would what it's like is you meet up with students, and then someone can run the session. And you just have a little chat for like two, three minutes. Let's say there's 30 students and you have like a couple minutes of each student and rolls around. It's great conversation topic and if you're drying up of conversation was Someone you can, you can have like a little card that pops up to refresh and just say something new, I think it's going to be a really great way to tackle loneliness. Because we've seen many students who have, unfortunately not been able to connect with their peers. With the lack of activity due to COVID, it'd be great to get some sort of more virtual stuff that's more interactive than just the sit and watch people talk.

Lizzie Rodulson:

Amazing. Thank you. Oh, and I know some of the sad and some of the SU team have given icebreaker ago. And it is a really, really good flop platform. So I really hope students do use it. So I'm coming to you is a so obviously, student experience and student life is in a normal year all about the events that go on around campus. So normally, we'd have things like Rubik's, and just events going on. But obviously that's changing a little bit and everything is online at the moment. So what are the community's own doing to make sure that students can feel part of that community and what's going on over the next couple of weeks? Sure. So

Izzy Watkins:

we want to be sure that students are still getting those fun events in even when we're apart. So coming up soon, we've got a couple of virtual activities, we've got a FIFA tournament coming up, which will be not only sorry, against other sorry students, but also against other universities. So it's a little bit of varsity early on in the year, I guess. So that's one thing that should be fun. We're also having some glitter bomb live streams. So you can get a bit of the club life in as well. And I'll also say in my absence, that the get involved calendar is also out now. And that has everything going on every day throughout February. There's lots of fun stuff both that Students Union is doing and that are great societies and clubs are as well.

Lizzie Rodulson:

Amazing, thank you easy and just to plug in there as well. And we have a virtual freshers fair and refreshed as fair, as we're now in February. So as you did, back at the beginning of the academic year, you'll be able to enter your virtual portal and have a look at what clubs and societies are up to. But it still gives you the opportunity to join different clubs and societies, and who most all of them are virtual at the moment, but is a really good way to make friends. And that's really being driven by the activity zone, as he said in my absence. So co voice is all about students using their voice. And this has been so so important through COVID-19, through lockdown and through the pandemic. So how can you students use their voice now that we're completely online? And what have you got coming up from the voice zone, and especially over the next couple of weeks or months where students can use them with? Thanks for that?

Theo Donnelly:

Lizzie? Yeah, so there's quite a few ways, if it's just an issue, you've got yourself, obviously, the easiest thing would be to email one of the sabs. Of course, the other thing was that we've got a new thing set up on our website where you can submit ideas and feedback, and things like that. So you can try and get us to campaign for the things you want or push for those ideas. There's also got uni too, which we've spoken about in the past before, which is also known as my sorry, voice. So that's something that's a little bit more cost focused, as if you've got something particular issue on your course or with an assessment, then you can go in there and post your issue and hopefully, you will get a satisfactory answer, although it's quite interesting, actually. So I was I was having a chat with my, my zone today about this. And it's funny because I have students telling me going or, you know, no one on you know, answers our questions, and we'll, we'll get the answer we want and, and I speak to staff, and stuff, like our students are never happy with the answers we give them. And so we end up at this kind of slightly awkward middle ground, but where I think we're gonna have a little review of the processes that we use around my Siri voice and try and get it to be a little bit more constructive. So that's, that's in the works. And then the most important thing I've been working on recently is sorry, two sides, which is our election process and the most exciting thing, Student Union does in my very biassed opinion as VP voice. And so that's how all five of us got elected as the sabse. And also all of our wonderful ptos. So normally, they would be happening around now it's kind of you know, February time, but due to the the pandemic that I'm sure everyone's aware of, unfortunately, by now, and we have postponed it. So nominations open on the 19th of April, so that you can get your nomination. And so you need to get a few of your friends to recommend you to say yes, you will be a good candidate and a serious one. And then from then we will move into campaigning and then you'd have questions times you get not quite sure how we're going to do it this year, whether it's going to be all online, or whether we're going to be back on campus by then. So it's all a little bit up in the air as to the exact logistics of what's going to be in person or not. But we are definitely going to have an election because we need to be replaced. We can't go on forever. And yeah, so that's been the most the Oh, one more thing actually. So I've been doing a lot of work with the liberation network this month. So as some of you may know, it is LGBT history month. So I've been doing a lot of work with them. So if anyone would like feels that they're part of an underrepresented group, then reach out to me and we'll put you in touch with the liberation network. Actually, under the other thing we've had recently is obviously a lot of people are doing exams. So as I was my job to represent academic interest at the university, if you've had any feedback you've had from your exam in terms of, you know, Did it go well, how it was online, that sort of thing, then do drop me an email, because it's really stuff I want to know about and can possibly chase up. If it's something that needs changing for the future. I think that's it for me, I've spoken for too long. I'll hand it back over.

Lizzie Rodulson:

That's fair, thank you for your it shows how much we're doing. And, and just going off of Theo's comment about getting in touch about higher online exams, when, as your students start to get feedback back from your exams and your coursework, please do get in touch. If your feedback is hopefully it won't be. But if your feedback is late, especially, please do get in touch. And one of our projects is to continue to make sure that the university is held accountable for any academics that submit late feedback, because as students you deserve on time feedback and the assessments that you submit, in terms of a central zone specifically regarding lockdown in the newest COVID-19 pandemic. I've been working on the generalised COVID-19 guidance. So we were made aware that the University of pushing back the return to campus to the eighth of March for many students, which as some students identified is only three weeks before the start of the Easter break. And some students, especially international students are concerned about returning from their home, just to come back for three weeks to them potentially worried about not being able to return home. So we have made sure that we have voiced those opinions to the university. And we encourage any students that do have those concerns to apply for a late arrival point. So you can apply through the university to opt into online only learning until after the Easter break, meaning that you can stay at home. And those three weeks you can spend at home. So we encourage any student who think they will be eligible to please get in touch with the courses that Matt that would not apply for, or those courses that have core practical elements. So nurses, paramedics, and vets those that need to do labs as part of their work. But if you still do have concerns do get in contact with us or the university. Another key development that was updated from Public Health England was that students are now being asked to be tested every three to seven days, we're getting a lot of queries through about the effectiveness of this way the students will go and get tested, we encourage all students to go and get an asymptomatic test every week, between those three, seven days. And just so you know that you are keeping the students around you and the community around you say, but as always, if you do have any queries or questions about asymptomatic testing, in particular, and feel free to contact the university COVID inquiries at COVID inquiries at sorry to ac.uk or you can contact us directly at USS Yuda information@surrey.ac.uk. And we can afford you on or look into your query directly. So even though a lot of what your sabbatical team have been doing this week focuses on COVID, we are of course doing lots of things around that to make sure that your student experience is as amazing as it can be even in these hard times. So I'm going to pass to each of the VPS, who are going to give you a little bit of an overview of what they've been up to. And also any other plans that they've got over the next couple of weeks and months. So, Theo, we'll start with you.

Theo Donnelly:

Thank you very much, as I said, so obviously sorry, decides is a big thing at the moment in the coming up shortly. So I've spent a lot of my time doing no prep work for that. Also, as I said liberation stuff. So LGBT history month, and also the beginning of next month, we've got first sorry, not first, the second student voice forum first one of this calendar year. So I'll be doing that. So hopefully you can come up with that it was really successful last time. So again, a lot of prep work for that. Also a couple of equality, diversity and inclusion meetings. So stuff to do with the way exams are held and things on campus that are kind of accessibility based. What else have I been doing? Oh, I've had a couple of meetings with some potential VP voice candidates. So that was very exciting, potentially meeting the the new, the new potential sabse so that was really cool. That's pretty much it but a lot of planning for stuff in March, mainly.

Lizzie Rodulson:

Amazing. thank you as always, and if you hear anything from any of the team during this podcast that you want to get involved in, we do want to know a little bit more about please do not hesitate to In contact, and we are more than happy to talk to you as always easy, I will come to you next what have you been up to as VP community? Cool. So

Izzy Watkins:

this week was the start of LGBT plus history month as I mentioned. And on Wednesday, I chaired a panel with students and staff discussing LGBT plus history, which was really interesting on I certainly learned a few new things from that. I've also been working with Aaron and a couple of members of the liberation network on a how to be an ally session, all about being an ally towards members of the LGBT plus community. And that will be taking place on 16th of February and will be aimed at all students who want to learn a bit more about being an ally, as well as clubs and societies who are looking to provide a more welcoming environment to any LGBT plus members. and elsewhere, after the success of Christmas lunch in the marquee, I've been considering other key cultural and religious commemorations that we should support. And with the university, we're currently planning a free lunch for students in celebration of our Lunar New Year. Unfortunately, given the current COVID guidelines, we won't be able to do a sit down event like Christmas. But at the very least, we can give out a free lunch for collection. So I hope that will be a nice little touch for students who wish to celebrate the festival. I've also been attending a couple of ssdp Uk meetings, which are for drug reform activists at universities across the UK. And those have been really insightful. And we're also looking at doing a bit of a cross uni collaboration event. So I'm really excited to start working on that too. So

Lizzie Rodulson:

watch this space. Amazing. Thank you, Izzy, I know community as so many new opportunities you're coming up with and ones that we've never done before, like your ssdp charter. So thank you, and hopefully our students are going to continue to get involved. And finally, what has support been up to.

Unknown:

So over the last couple of weeks been looking at outside activities for students to get involved with in collaboration with both Izzy and Maya and some of it to do with going outside taking a picture and then posting it or trying to work out some sort of competition we could do the students get involved outside then been looking at stuff with the Sports Park and the pens that we have outside for isolation exercises, a couple of the pens were put in odd places. So we've got the they've all been sort of move now is you and I as sort of mentioned, I've been working on some LGBT plus History Month stuff of thinking that how to be an ally panel, which will be happening and Mental Health Awareness Week. So I might as well plug that that is also what I've been working on with each day having a different theme to sort of make sure that the whole week nice packed. I've also had a time Instagram takeover of the university sorry to do a time to talk, which is another mental health awareness campaign to do with sort of encouraging everyone to talk about their mental health and all the small things related to it and all the big things that everyone feels are untouchable to talk about. And then last but not least, but a little bit more boring. I have been talking with the university about regulations, particularly the tort regulations that affect your mood every day, but they're incredibly fun stuff. But yeah, that's sort of what I would do.

Lizzie Rodulson:

amazing feature around, some students may not know that as a sub team, we would, especially a support team, that we have here at the SU, continuing to look at regulations. And Aaron is a really, really key part of that. And so if there's anything you ever see that you don't think right, make sure to get in touch, and we can see what we can do. So from a central point of view, I'm looking over the past week or so, I have been working with Amina your union chair to prepare for exec, which is coming up. So if you've got anything that you want to change within the union within the university, you want union to have a specific stance on a subject, get in touch because our executive committee is the exact right place to do that. We've been looking at posts. So some of you would have filled out a survey during semester one, asking for your opinions on the Union and the university. And we received our first set of results. So we've been looking at what you as students think about the unit and the university and what we can do to support you and make sure your student experience is the best it can be. I sat on a number of panels this week. So I've spent time reading those documents. I continue to work on ethical divestment with the university. So with what a Theo is part time officers I've been working with alongside him to look at how we can ask the university and how we can not be the university to make ethical investments. This follows a Barclays divestment motion that was passed exactly a couple of years ago. So we're just looking into a bit more depth than that, which goes alongside, I'll make your change sustainability campaign. And finally, I spent today giving opinions on catering on campus. So this is something that a number of the sabse have been working on especially is the to gather opinions on what you think catering is like on campus. Looking forward to next week, I'm specifically going to be looking at the project of how we can celebrate students. So looking at linking in with one of Aaron's projects, which is sorry, love, how can we make sure that students can celebrate each other and we can live up to the university motto of wonderful things happen here, alongside Theo, I've got a lot of Ei stuff happening next week, including the heat the race, equality charter, and Athena SWAN, which are two huge things the university in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion, and continue to work with Amina on accountability. So some of you may know that the sub team and the part time officers had their accountability plans before Christmas. So we are just wrapping all of that up. So students can see what your sub team and your part time officer team have been up to. And finally, I have got a huge meeting on Thursday. So the University Council on meeting, which the President is a member of the University Council to discuss everything that affects student life at sorry. So that is everything from the central zone. And that is everything from your se this week. So as always a huge, huge thank you, for students, to you guys out there. I know this is such a tough time for you all. But thank you all for looking after each other. Thank you for engaging with the SEO and the university. And please just stay safe. And as always come to us if

Unknown:

that's everything this week from your sabs Join us on Instagram and Facebook where you can see what's happening until next week's edition. If you want to get in touch Find us on Microsoft Teams, Instagram or email us on sorry 365