Mark Barrow - Undeb Bangor President

Mark Barrow
01248 388001
Mark.Barrow@UndebBangor.com

Mark Barrow graduated with a History with Journalism degree in 2018, and was Undeb Bangor’s Vice President for Education during the 2018=19 academic year. He has now been elected to serve as your President.

During his time as a student, Mark actively got involved in many different University and Students’ Union roles and activities. He was a Course Rep for three years, and during that time he organised two student-led trips, to Berlin and Krakow, and Prague. Mark’s work as a Course Rep saw him win the prestigious Ede and Ravenscroft award, in 2017. Mark also represented the University as an Open Day assistant, besides becoming a member of the ‘Bangor Fund’ Telethon team.

During his time as your VP for Education, Mark led on many different Student Union campaigns and activities. He set up the No Grey Area campaign, which attempts to raise awareness of the issues of sexual harassment and assault at University campuses, and to highlight that any student can receive appropriate support from within the University. He also set up a house reviewing platform, called Marks Out Of Tenancy, so that students have a reliable place to review their student property. Mark also worked with students, particularly Course Reps, in responding to the University’s restructuring process, and reformed ‘Course Rep Council’ to make it a more discussion-focused and relevant forum.

As President, Mark will be continuing to make sure that you are being listened to. He will continue with some of the campaigns that he has already been working on, such as No Grey Area and a ‘Don’t Panic’ housing campaign. He will be setting up Undeb Bangor’s Job Shop, so that any student is aware of where to find part-time work, and extra money, whilst studying in Bangor. He will be trying to make ‘sustainability’, and ‘employability’, embedded into Student Union activities, and is the main point of contact between the student body, local community and Bangor University.

For more information, you can contact Mark at mark.barrow@undebbangor.com, by giving him a ring on 01248 388001, or by calling into the Students’ Union. He is happy to meet with any student, to ensure that you are being heard!

Fri 11 Oct 2019

How are we already in October?

Hi everyone. I felt like now was a good time to update you on what I have been working on over the past couple of months, and what I am working on for later in the semester. Everyone in the Students’ Union has been very busy over the past few weeks, so finding the time to reflect on what you’ve actually been working on can be quite difficult!

I also cannot believe that we’re now in October! It doesn’t seem two minutes since the summer, when everything seemed really quiet, and now, all of a sudden, welcome week has been and gone!

Also, I am continuing to enjoy working with the rest of the Sabb team. Everyone is so motivated to make a positive impact within their different areas. It really is a pleasure to be a part of.

Wider engagement with the student body

One of my priorities, which has developed into a Sabbatical team priority, is around letting you know what the Students’ Union is working on, and to ensure you’re aware of what you can get involved in. This was in my manifesto, and I’m pleased to say that it is being actioned upon. With the help of my colleague, Conor, we have put together an engagement plan, whereby all the Sabb team go into lectures, besides into libraries and different communal areas, to provide you with regular updated. I’m sure you’ll be starting to see a lot more of us!

This idea stemmed from feedback we’ve had in the past that we don’t go out and speak to students enough. I completely agree that it is never enough to just put something on social media, or just send an email. We also have to be out and about, letting you know what we do, and equally letting you know what you are able to get involved in.

Employability

Bangor University has gone through quite a dramatic and turbulent few months, and it’s really important that I remain aware of what is happening, so that your voice continues to be heard. We now have a new Vice Chancellor in place, Professor Iwan Davies, and he has brought some innovative and exciting ideas to Bangor.

This has all meant that there is new direction for the University in many areas. The Vice Chancellor’s number one priority is ‘employability’, and this is something I completely agree with. We have to ensure that all students are fully prepared for the world of work, and that you’re being given the relevant skills and experience. This is why a new Employability Strategy is being introduced, which I have been feeding into. One of the best examples of progress in this area is the announcement that, as of this September, work placement opportunities will be introduced on every single undergraduate degree programme.

In addition, I believe that Student Union activities provide students with excellent transferable skills, which you can take into the workplace. For example, if you are a committee member for a particular club, society or volunteering project, you are able to gain skills in leadership and representation, besides confidence and public speaking. That is why I am working to ensure employability is at the heart of all our activities.

Sustainability

Similarly, I am working on embedding ‘sustainability’ into all areas of the Students’ Union. This is something many students are passionate about, and we have recently recruited a student-staff member to help with this. It is important to remember that sustainability is not just environmental,

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Thu 11 Jul 2019

New role, new responsibilities!

Hi everyone. As you’ll know, I have now become President of Undeb Bangor, having previously been the Vice President for Education. Although some of my work, over the next year, will be a continuation of what I was working on before, there are many new responsibilities which I am looking forward to taking on.

This blog post will recap on some of the projects and campaigns I have been working on, and also provide an indication of my work for the next year!

VP for Education successes

I very much enjoyed being your Vice President for Education, and I believe that lots was achieved over the past year. This is all thanks to the help and support I received from the Sabbatical team, Student Union staff, and, of course, the students who I was elected to serve.

I wanted to put on record a few of the projects that I am most proud of, and which I believe had a positive impact upon students.

The first one I wanted to mention is the No Grey Area campaign. Sexual harassment and violence is a huge concern for universities in general, and for far too long it had not been dealt with adequately. In Bangor, we are lucky in that a dedicated Student Equality and Diversity Officer has recently been employed, and her job is to support any student who has been a victim of harassment, violence or bullying.

I wanted to explain to students that the University can internally support any student in this situation, and that action can be taken against perpetrators. The campaign explained this to students, and showed that there is solidarity in the fight against sexual violence and harassment.

I am also pleased that the usage of Panopto has significantly increased, over the past year. In meetings, I constantly explain why Panopto is hugely beneficial to many students, and should be seen as a tool to benefit students’ learning. There is still a long way to go, but I am pleased the usage has continued to go in the right direction.

I have always been passionate for the environment, and sustainability, which meant I wanted to explore how I can work with students to make Bangor a sustainable place to live. I believe that one of the main ways to do this is to raise awareness of what items can be recycled, in Bangor, and to inform students of when their rubbish gets collected. By carrying out Community Waste Visits, which involve knocking on doors to raise this awareness, I hope students can become better informed of how to deal with their waste.

These are a few highlights of what I worked upon. I am confident that the new VP for Education, Harry, will do an excellent job of taking some of these projects forward, and in representing students’ academic interests.

New responsibilities

Over the next year, I will be taking on new roles and responsibilities. I will be attending many more of the University meetings, where decisions are made, and in particular I will be attending University Council. Essentially, this is the Governing Body of Bangor University, where ideas and changes either get passed or rejected. As one of the two student representatives on Council, I am there to ensure students’ views are taken into account when any decision is being made.

Also, as President, I am ultimately responsible for the Students’ Union as a whole. This means I present Undeb Bangor’s budget to the University, and I’m responsible for the financial and legal decisions that we make. As President, I automatically become Chair of the Board of Trustees, which is our internal decision-making body.

Besides this, I am responsible for the Student Union’s work within the local community, and I am the main mediator between the student body and Bangor University.

Plans for the next year

I am confident that the next year is going to be highly successful. We have a fantastic set of Sabbatical Officers in place, who have a huge amount of experience within their areas. Therefore, I am optimistic that we will work as a coherent team in representing the views of the student body.

I have been prioritising my plans for the next year, and wanted to mention a few of them here.

Firstly, I fully intend to continue with the No Grey Area campaign, and will be carrying out this campaign during the first week of December. The campaign will specifically look at harassment and bullying online, specifically on social media, as this is increasingly becoming a huge concern. The message of the campaign will be that, as is the case when a comment is made to somebody’s face, online content can lead to action being taken against individuals.

Also, I will be continuing to work on housing-related campaigns and ideas. I will be continuing the Don’t Panic campaign, in November, which informs students that there is no need to rush into signing up for a house, and that there is a surplus of accommodation in Bangor. In addition, I will be further pushing the use of our house reviewing platform, Marks Out Of Tenancy, which gives students the opportunity to submit a review of their house, based on its location, quality, responsiveness of the landlord, and price.

As was the case over the past year, I will continue to take a lead of sustainability and waste-related campaigns. I will be carrying out the Wrap it Up campaign, at the end of the academic year, to inform students of what they should do before leaving the house. I will also be carrying out Community Waste Visits, throughout the year, to raise awareness to students of what can be recycled in the area.

I will also be working with local businesses to provide a section, on the Student Union website, of where part-time job vacancies can get posted. For many students, getting extra money is hugely important, and so part-time work is often the way to do this. I think that by teaming up with businesses, we can provide this service to students, so that they know where they can find work.

I am also in talks with the local MP, Hywel Williams, about the train service to/from Bangor. Understandably, many students feel that the train service isn’t adequate, both due to frequencies of trains, cost and quality of the service. We are beginning communication with Transport for Wales about this, in an attempt to improve the service for Bangor University students.

One of my main priorities for the year is to increase the Students Union’s presence around the University. I believe this will help ensure students know what we are working on, and how they can get involved. The way to do this is through face-to-face interaction, such as through lecture shout-outs, and through communicating messages at society meetings.

There will be many more ideas and projects coming to fruition, throughout the year, so stay tuned for updates. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at mark.barrow@undebbangor.com, or by ringing 01248 388001.

Many thanks,

Mark Barrow

Undeb Bangor President, 2019-20

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