What a challenging year it has been for all of us! When Karthik, Bobbie, Kayleigh and Saad put themselves forward for election in 2020, the pandemic had yet to hit. They didn’t quite realise what they would be getting themselves in for, but over the last 12 months they have shown courage and strength to power through for students in the most difficult of circumstances.
We asked your President, Vice President Activities, Vice President Community & Vice President Education to reflect on the past year and highlight their most memorable moments. Here are some of their big wins that have helped students love life at Herts.
Safety Net Policy
The Safety Net Policy was first brought in over the 2019-20 academic year. The Officers wanted to ensure that there was still a policy in place coming into the 2020-21 academic year. After successful lobbying from Saad, we saw the return of the policy to support student success.
Hidden Course Costs
After seeing multiple comments in our Student Academic Satisfaction Survey, conversations started with Schools around hidden course costs. One focus was getting School Community Organisers on course cost panels to ensure student representation.
Student Wellbeing Guide
Every year our research shows that wellbeing is a top priority for students. We noticed there wasn’t one central place with contacts to multiple services that students could benefit from. Kayleigh worked with colleagues at the SU to create a comprehensive Student Wellbeing Guide.
Advocating for additional academic support for our students was as a key highlight for Saad. He lobbied tirelessly to get the University to evaluate the framework and made them aware that it hadn’t served its purpose appropriately.
The Officers worked alongside Estates and the LCS teams to ensure that student spaces stayed open where possible, with spaces unable to open being repurposed into testing and vaccination centres.
Bobbie worked with a range of colleagues within the SU and across the University to bring students together safely during the pandemic. He gave students something to look forward to, helping us to deliver events like the Haunted Forest, Africa Day Celebration, online ice breakers, Pride Parade and Film Fest. For students that were unable to return home for Christmas, he worked with the Officers to produce free Christmas Activity Packs for hundreds of students.
This initiative was brought in to help tackle levels of isolation and loneliness felt by students during the pandemic. There were 11 Speed Meets in total which gave students the chance to interact with one another outside the virtual classroom, enabling them to make friends and build communities.
International Students Right to Work
International students are entitled to work part-time during the term and full-time during holidays. Karthik lobbied the University to provide a full-time working confirmation letter to students, and they agreed to put the term dates link on the student’s status letter.
Kayleigh wanted to make placement students a priority and ensure that we were representing them to the best of our ability. She helped get key issues raised and resolved at every University level. A question also reached parliament with the support of MPs in Hertfordshire!
Off-Campus Accommodation Assistance
Students that don’t have a guarantor in the UK face an increased financial burden when trying to secure off-campus accommodation. Karthik lobbied the University successfully to recommend a safe guarantor company for students to use.
As we welcome in the 2021-22 Elected Officers, we want to thank our outgoing team for everything they have done for students over the past year. They have truly been awesome!
Want to see who your new team are? You can find out more here.