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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or by ringing 01248 388001.
Undeb Bangor President, 2019-20