Phoebe Crook, 2018/19 Students' Union Community Officer

Asha Sutton

Welfare and Diversity Officer

As Welfare and Diversity Officer, Asha represents over 9000 students at the University, through the Students' Union, on all matters relating to Welfare, Mental Health, Diversity and Inclusion. Leading crucial campaigns and lobbying student concerns to the university and beyond. Asha is also a director of the charity of the Students' Union, sitting on the Board of Trustees to make important decisions on matters of finance, accounts and overall running of the charity.

Manifesto Points

REBUILDING: COMMUNICATION

  • I have noticed that the pandemic has revealed certain cracks within the university - communication. This needs to be both more frequent and clearer to ensure transparency.
  • A way of partly achieving this is to implement fortnightly Q&A’s for students, with members of staff from different sectors of the university. This will enable students to voice their concerns, ask questions and feel like they are being heard.

Update (Mid April)

The 'Mental Health and Wellbeing' Q&A happened In October with Head of Student Wellbeing, Anna Hay. Watch here: https://www.facebook.com/uogstudentsunion/videos/402489321542381

The 'Teaching on your Course' Q&A happened in January with Aimee, your Education and Community Officer. This was incorporated into Study Smart and the university Assessment Week. Watch here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYrHcKTlsrW/

I have scheduled an 'Employability and Opportunities' Q&A with the Director of Employability for the middle of May. Watch this space for more details!

REBUILDING: STUDENT COMMUNITY

  • All students have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. I aim to work with various sport and society teams to help facilitate joint events/socials. However, I am aware that not all students participate in a sports team or society. It is about creating opportunities such as cross-campus events, so that all students can engage in the wider student life.
  • Students will now rightly be itching to have a normal experience of student life. I will do my best to help the transition from a virtual to physical student life run as smoothly as possible.

Update (Mid April):

This manifesto point is also closely aligned with Charlotte's, so feel free to check her out to see what she has done in this area. 

I organised two self-defence classes which spanned across Gloucester and Cheltenham. We hope this made the classes accessible to more students. 

Before leaving my role, I plan to input my feedback to cross campus events for the SU's Welcome period so that the awareness is there to try to further improve the divide. 

EMBRACE DIVERSITY AT UOG

  • A thriving student community is about embracing and celebrating diversity. I aspire to promote and raise awareness of this diversity, such as running events for important social and cultural events such as Black History month and LGBTQ+ History Month.
  • I want to run focus groups for all those that face marginalization. I really hope to embrace the diversity of UOG’s community, by bringing students together.

Update (Mid April): 

I worked with the LGBTQ+ Society, the Pride Network and the LGBT partnership to plan for LGBTQ+ History Month in February. We launched a Rainbow Cuppa for students in our FCH Social Space, and we promoted the society events on our Native events page. We also sent a targeted email to the community to let them know about upcoming events, and how to get involved with the society. We were clear to reaffirm what support is available to students. 

Our Network leaders have been elected, and so I have regular meetings with the roles that sit under me. I try to ensure the sessions are a safe space and are somewhere where students can raise important concerns, and feel comfortable to do so. So far, issues of accessibility, microaggressions on campus and random acts of kindness have all been discussed and brought up in these spaces. Myself and student voice have taken these concerns away and tried to escalate them appropriately.

We created content and raised awareness for University Mental Health Day, International Women's Day, Diwali, Ramadan, and we are now working towards Global Accessibility Day and Pride.

STUDENT SERVICES- VISIBILITY AND ACCESS

  • Through speaking to students, it is clear that issues of visibility and accessibility to services online are prevalent. I want to improve the visibility, such as on My Glos and social media to reaffirm timescales like for counselling waiting times. I would aim to work with student services to ensure students can access this support.

Update (Mid April): 

I continue to work closely with the Student Voice team to review the Voice It and Change It feedback and I plan to lobby comments in regards to student support to the university when needed.

I have been in conversations with the university about a central ‘hub’ for students to refer to, which could hold news stories and the reporting tool and student service information.

In the latest Equality, Diversity and Inclusion meeting, the reporting tool report was presented and I passed on student feedback to see if these figures and themes could be shared more widely with the student body. This is another way of the university to be more visible and transparent with student reports. I am following this up, and am now waiting for a response to see if this is possible to share with students.

I am so pleased to share that after working with the Head of Student Wellbeing on the Sexual Harassment Policy, and lobbying student concerns of it being mixed within a bullying and discrimination policy, we have now been told that the university are going to separate the policies! This is a big win for us and we are really glad this feedback has been listened to. We hope this will really make a difference now to students who need to access this policy document.

Priority Campaign- Everyone Is Welcome

As well as my manifesto points, I also have a priority campaign that I plan to focus on throughout the year that is related to Diversity and Inclusivity, and it is called 'Everyone Is Welcome.' You can find more details about it here, including specific action points of how I plan to achieve it: https://www.uogsu.com/student-voice/campaigns/2021-22/

Update (Mid April):

As a way of lobbying the university catering team (Baxterstorey) for a wide range of international food at UoG, Charlotte and Josh keep me informed of any particular food days that the catering team are planning. They also ask the team to send me over content/imagery so that I can share on my social media for students. I am currently waiting to hear back from Baxterstorey for any scheduled food days in the last term.

I have been in ongoing conversations with the Head of Student Wellbeing about creating a job profile list on My Glos. This aims to let students know what kind of training, experience and qualifications the student services team have. This aims to help underrepresented students decide who would be most relatable for them to go to for mental health support. I have recently followed up with the university about progress on this, however I know it was agreed the Sexual Misconduct Policy work would take priority for now.

What Hope Is Working On

Monthly Updates for 2021-2022

Want to see what I've been up to so far this year? Check out my monthly highlights and see what I've been doing for you as your Welfare and Diversity Officer! 

July

  • Attended my first university council meeting
  • Met with the complaints and appeals team to see how we can best support and represent students on a panel
  • Meeting with the Barnwood Trust regularly to see how we can best work together in lobbying for an advice service, supporting disabled students and creating our student networks
  • Meeting as officers to chat through student priorities, how we engage our student groups and how we hear from students through feedback
  • Starting the planning of my manifesto points, and meeting with the marketing team to create an action plan
  • Handing over last year’s work in societies to Charlotte, the Activities and Opportunities Officer
  • Attending various SU2021 events, such as campaigning in a pandemic, exploring diversity in your SU, how to best deliver to international students and how to create successful liberation campaigns
  • Meeting with the Sustainability team at the university to discuss what more the SU can be doing to help the environment, in regards to visibility, training, campaigning and raising awareness
  • Meeting with a student to see how the SU can signpost and support with implementing a student support system
  • Meeting with the university to discuss their plans for student safety, and how we can best work together to raise awareness and provide students with helpful resources and information
  • Going to our Welcome planning meeting to chat about events, social media plans and how the week will work
  • Meeting with the City Campus Designers to discuss the Gloucester campus and its SU presence
  • Discussing with the student voice team how we can run a Don’t Drop out Drop in campaign in the autumn to check in and support students
  • Working as officers to write up our priority campaigns for the year
  • Networking and discussing ideas and campaigns with other SU officers in the Lead and Change programme
  • Meeting with the University of Leicester SU officers to chat through their student safety plans and resources, to look at how some of these ideas could work at our SU

August 

  • Hosting an introductory talk of the SU to both the Year 10 and Year 12 summer schools 
  • Had a conversation with the officers and marketing team about the campus bars and what events can be hosted in the spaces for Welcome and beyond 
  • Had a meeting with officers to discuss our priority campaigns and focuses for the year 
  • Went to our monthly meeting with university management to talk about student safety, plans for welcome and induction, the Student Minds mental health charter and developments on the subco situation  
  • Learnt more about finance in the SU and how as student trustees we can review and keep an eye on this  
  • Continuing work on student safety resources, such as posters and social media posts so they are ready for Welcome 
  • Met with student service staff to look at student safety in the Night time Economy and what plans both the university and SU have for when students come back in September  
  • Did an Instagram Live with the university where I was able to introduce myself and my role, talk about my manifesto points and answer any questions from the live chat  
  • Met with the Head of Student Wellbeing to talk about student services, and how visibility can be increased to show students what training and experience staff have had to best support them, as well as looking at waiting times and how this can be best communicated  
  • Met with a mature student to gather their feedback on what more the SU can be doing to support this student group, including collaborating with the society to host events, such as coffee mornings 
  • Met with the CMSR team at the university to discuss having an SU presence at Open Day events 
  • Having a ‘getting to know you’ session where officers can take part in team building, learning how best we all work in our roles and how we can best perform together moving forward  
  • Taking a look at the new FCH bar, The Loft, to see how it’s coming along and how we can best use this space  
  • Chairing our fortnightly management committee to discuss items like welcome, student safety and Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity  
  • Attending our Board of Trustees meeting to present our finances, our people and performance, our officer reports and reviewing the SU and its direction  
  • Attending Wellbeing committee training for the welfare officers in sports teams  

September 

  • Officers met with the Chaplaincy team to talk about both SU and Chaplaincy plans for the year and a list of all the events 
  • Meeting new students at the induction talks and doing an introductory presentation on the SU 
  • Meeting with the Nightline steering group regularly to review the action list and ensure all is going to plan for the October launch 
  • Working on promoting and sharing Nightline content on both my social media channels and the SU main channels. This was also shared with the sports and societies so they could help spread the word.  
  • Attending the Mature Student ‘Street Fair’ event and chatting to both new and returning mature students. This also gave a good opportunity to introduce myself and talk about upcoming welcome events for them to get involved with  
  • Meeting with the Barnwood Trust charity to continue conversations about our independent advice service situation and potential funding for this 
  • Having our Welcome week, where we were able to host a range of different events and meet new students 
  • Officers going around campus to talk to students and hand out free lollipops! 
  • Attending the Black Asian Minority Ethnic Plus network meeting  
  • Attended a Mature Student picnic event at both Park and FCH 
  • I went to Hardwick and Pittville halls to meet students on their move in days 
  • Involved with the universities Equality, Diversity and Inclusion new strategy 
  • Talking to the university graduation team about officer doing speeches and how that will work at the ceremonies  

October

  • Continuing conversations with the university support teams on student patrols and how we can explore something for student nights out
  • Leading on the recruitment process for student trustees on our SU charity board
  • Attended university council
  • Continue to chair our fortnightly management committee for officers and managers
  • Attended a sustainability meeting to talk about what the SU currently does, as well as students giving their ideas and suggestions on what more we and the university can do
  • Meeting with students to support them and their wellbeing
  • Working with the student voice team to review our awareness days events calendar and add information on what we plan to do
  • Having our monthly meeting with the executive team at the university to discuss issues of accessibility, welfare and student safety, as well as to give updates of BUCS and Covid-19
  • Attending a meeting with the university on their new strategy, and providing feedback and thoughts on its formation
  • Being involved in night time economy conversations and how this is working currently, with a plan for the SU to meet with Moo Moos to discuss student feedback
  • Moving forward with the November Don’t Drop Out Drop In campaign, which aims to help students get support and gain information before they decide to drop out, defer or withdraw
  • Meeting with the University of Worcester President to talk about student safety and how both SU’s can support one another
  • Meeting with the Chaplaincy team to discuss how the leaf event will work for the upcoming Don’t Drop Out Drop In campaign week in November
  • Hosted and led a Q&A with the Head of Student Wellbeing at the university, where student questions, both pre-asked and live in the chat could be addressed
  • I led a recruitment cycle for new Student Trustees for our Board, and am pleased to say we recruited a student trustee and held some training for him to be prepared for our upcoming meeting

November

  • Sat on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity meeting where I got to feed into the university strategy and offer SU insights
  • Meeting with the university Student Wellbeing manager to update and improve the University Harassment Policy, lobbying on student feedback and views
  • Working behind the scenes to take a motion to the SU’s General Meeting. This was for the university to create a new Sexual Misconduct Policy
  • Meeting with the GirlsNightIn group to discuss student concerns and what they as a group and us as an SU are doing
  • Drafting up a student safety statement for social media, which details what actions are being taken, and what the next steps are. We also highlighted some pledges that we’d like to achieve as a union
  • Meeting with Student Minds to discuss the Student Mental Health Charter and how I would fit into it as Student Lead Representative
  • Having a catch up with the University of Bath Students’ Union about their taxi scheme and how it works
  • Launch of the Don’t Drop Out Drop In campaign, which included writing on leaf events, informative sessions from student achievement, disability and money advice and helpful resources on social media
  • Had the General Meeting, where I led on a motion and gave an Officer Update report for students
  • Attended the Chancellors Reception where I got the chance to meet with important members of the community and network
  • Holding a vigil with the Chaplaincy team and LGBTQ+ society for Transgender Day of Remembrance
  • Being involved in the Graduation Ceremonies, and officiating several of the closing speeches
  • Leading on the Student Trustee Recruitment
  • Undertaking a 2-day training course for Mental Health First Aid, and I am now qualified!

December

  • Further taxi scheme exploration, in terms of finance and budget
  • Meeting with the rest of the South West SU officers to network, connect and exchange campaign ideas
  • Meeting with the Network Lead Candidates to introduce myself as an officer, and talk through the new democratic structure
  • Had our first #NeverOk meeting, where we follow up on campaign plans and talk through our actions
  • Attending our regular meeting with the university executive team to discuss any current student issues and lobbying for these changes
  • Planning of the academic years named awareness days, such as LGBTQ+ History Month and Sexual Violence Awareness Week
  • Speaking to the university about the Ask For Angela and Flare posters and where they should be situated across campuses
  • Being in multiple discussions about the new City Centre Campus, and having an input into the SU presence there and how student services could best work
  • Meeting with the local St Pauls councillor to discuss safety in Gloucestershire, particularly around the lighting around the FCH university campus and Pittville Student Village, as well as catching up on the council’s current plans for Womens+ safety
  • Meeting as officers with the Student Voice team to follow up on our manifestos and track our progress
  • Planning an all-stakeholder meeting to lobby the student issues relating to safety, and checking in with other teams to see what they are currently doing on this problem, as well as ensuring everyone is working collaboratively on this important subject matter
  • Being involved in the SU Christmas Newsletter that goes out to all students to wish them a merry Christmas, but also to detail what support is available for students who may be staying around on campus over the holidays
  • Chairing and leading a ‘Womens+ Safety In Gloucestershire’ meeting, which included local Mayors, MP’s, Councillors and the Police and Crime Commissioner. All stakeholders gave updates into their work, and we all discussed next steps and how we can make students feel safer in the night-time economy
  • Reflecting on the Welcome period, letting it shape how we plan our next one in September
  • Planning for LGBTQ+ History Month in February

January

  • Leading on and hosting an Education Q&A with Education and Community Officer, Aimee
  • Attending the LGBTQ+ Partnership group where we discussed LGBTQ+ History Month and future events for UoG students to get involved with
  • Working with the Head of Student Wellbeing to discuss UoG’s harassment policy, including lobbying for a separate Sexual Misconduct Policy
  • Involvement in the Welcome Fayres at our FCH and Oxstalls SU spaces
  • Meeting with the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team at the university and the LGBTQ+ society to try and work more collaboratively
  • Gathering and lobbying student feedback to the Student Services team
  • Continuing to meet with the chaplaincy team regularly to discuss student issues and signposting
  • Inputting student views and perspectives towards the University strategy when I sit on the council meetings
  • Involvement in the early planning stages of Student Awards
  • Continuing to chair and lead on our #Neverok working group meeting
  • Hosting a networking coffee session with the LGBTQ+ Society in our FCH social space
  • Attending our Board of Trustees meeting, where we welcomed our new student trustees
  • Working with the marketing team to work on Sexual Abuse Awareness Week and what message we would like to send out, including working on some powerful group chat imagery to illustrate how this inappropriate behaviour can take shape
  • Meeting with the Victim Support Charity to discuss how we can work together, including organising a student forum group in the next month or two
  • Communicating the NUS’s latest campaign, #Buildtrustnotsilence with the Vice Chancellor and how we can get involved in this as an institution 
  • Chairing our first Welfare and Diversity Zone meeting, which includes all the liberation network leads who bring student concerns and campaigns to the space for discussion
  • Meeting with the Worcester SU Officers to chat about our #NeverOk campaigns, and what we can learn from both of them
  • Preparing for and supporting the upcoming launch of Full Time Officer Elections
  • Working with the University Welfare team for plans for University Mental Health Day

February

  • Began planning meetings for our end of year Awards ceremonies
  • Creating and sharing content for Time to Talk Day
  • Meeting with Cheltenham MP, Alex Chalk, to discuss student feedback and find out what work he is undertaking for safety in the local area
  • Starting conversations about the NUS student march and how we can best communicate the information to students
  • Meeting with university staff at Oxstalls on the current recycling provision on campus, and how we can raise visibility on the TerraCycle scheme
  • Attending University Council and sharing the student perspective in various topics
  • Continuing to meet with the university on their student harassment policy and how this can be re-drafted and improved
  • Starting plans for University Mental Health Day and how the SU and University can collaborate on this
  • Hosting and leading on a Rainbow Cuppa with the student society, which was part of celebrating and raising awareness of LGBTQ+ History Month. This also included other activities such as writing your thoughts on pieces of card and sharing inspirational figures in history on social media
  • Attending our monthly meeting with university executive team with other officers and the SU CEO to discuss student concerns and continue rolling items from our previous meetings
  • Being involved in the Election Drop In Sessions with the Student Voice Team
  • Attending our Executive Committee with all of our Network Leads, so they can relay student concerns and feedback and we can take this forward. This space also offers students the chance to hear the officer reports, where they can then ask any questions or hold us to account on any of our work
  • Meeting with the Nightline to discuss how we can help promote their service further, and help them recruit more volunteers
  • Chairing and leading on our regular #NeverOk focus group. This means we can keep driving this campaign forwards and focus on our actions list
  • Organising both the Student Experience and Employability Q&A’s with the University for April and May time
  • Meeting and chatting to students as they drop in on campus
  • Supporting the Network Leads that sit under my zone
  • Being involved in presenting a PowerPoint for a Value for Money workshop. This allowed me to relay student feedback on issues such as food pricing, public transport and rent
  • Having discussions with the Chaplaincy and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team about how an International Student Buddy Scheme could work at UoG
  • Meeting with my mentor from University Council to discuss any pressing issues
  • Networking with other SU Officers and finding out about their areas of focus and campaigns at the moment
  • Attending the student and staff Black Asian Minority Ethnic Plus Network meeting. It was great to meet a lot of new students and hear about their experiences.

March

  • Sat on the Black Asian Minority Ethnic Plus Network meeting, where we spoke about the Awarding Gap project and current student experiences
  • Had another follow up meeting with the university and LGBTQ+ society about toilet signage and sanitary bins on campus. I intend to follow up with colleagues about the progress of the actions.
  • Leading on a stall at FCH for University Mental Health Day, including free giveaways, support leaflets and a chance to ‘Write a kind thought.’
  • Officers and I chose the awards for this year and made up a list for the Sports, Gnomies and Student Led Staff Awards.
  • Myself and the Womens+ Network Lead were interviewed for BBC Points West to talk about Student Safety in Race Week.
  • Firming up details for the Self-Defence Classes with instructor Russ, and Yas from UniSport
  • Meeting with a current student about what they would like us to do for the De-Stresstival Campaign
  • Attending the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee, where we spoke about the reporting tool, the university strategy and the university definition for antisemitism
  • Supporting with the Hustings event for officer candidates and the onsite voting days
  • Meeting with and helping the Disability Network Lead with their role and campaign ideas
  • Attending the Fair Access Committee where there was the discussion of the SU’s Access and Participation Plan and how the university plan to action these recommendations from the report
  • Having our monthly meeting with the university executive team and bringing up any immediate or ongoing concerns
  • Meeting with the Nightline to review the service and see how both the SU and university can further support its success
  • Attending Academic Board, which is a committee linked to University Council
  • Keeping on track with my Manifesto Points at a regular Officer and Student Voice meeting, as well as reviewing student feedback
  • Going through the #NeverOk pledges and actions and checking to see its progress. I then took this to the campaign focus group so everyone is aware
  • Meeting with the university on the Harassment Policy since sending feedback over on the revised draft. We are so pleased that the university have agreed to separate the policies and make the appropriate changes.
  • Writing an update paper for our University Council meeting
  • Meeting with our Womens+ Network Lead and GlosNightIn to plan a networking session in collaboration with the SU
  • Meeting again with the Chaplaincy and EDI team to further talk about how an International Student Buddy Scheme could work for September
  • Supporting and facilitating the self-defence classes for students
  • Ensuring the bathrooms next to our SU social spaces have the Ask for Angela Posters in them so students are aware of the scheme
  • Replenishing the contraceptives outside our SU shops so students can collect them for free
  • Attending the NUS Delegate Conference for 2 days in Liverpool. This involves SU policies, elections, guest speakers and a chance to network with other SU officers
  • Meeting with an external coordinator to talk about delivering Active Bystander Training to students and staff. This is all part of our #NeverOk campaign
  • Attending our first ever Student Council, where any student can come, and can be a chance to vote and discuss issues of international student support, minimum teaching hours in the Education school and Re-submission fees
  • Supporting and getting involved with Varsity 2022! 

April

  • Progressing further with our De-Stresstival Campaign planning
  • Meeting with Hertfordshire Students’ Union to discuss their training package and how they rolled it out to students
  • Meeting with our Disability Network Lead to discuss her plans for Global Accessibility Awareness Day
  • Supporting our Varsity events period and cheering on our students!
  • Involved in the Chancellor and Pro Chancellor Appointments for the University
  • Launching a survey on social media to gain feedback on what types of things students want in our De-Stresstival campaign
  • Chairing and leading on our Board of Trustee meeting (for the first time!)
  • Meeting with the Student Voice team to check in with our Awareness Days calendar and whether we are on track with everything
  • Continuing to meet with students to support them and their welfare
  • Lobbying the university to put appropriate communications out to students about why the Calorie Content Displaying had come into place in the refectories campus and what support is available for students who find this challenging
  • Leading on our regular Welfare and Diversity Network Meeting, where I meet with our Network Leads to discuss any concerns
  • Meeting with Chaplaincy and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team again about launching a trial year for an International Buddy Scheme in September
  • Meeting with the University Executive team to raise issues in the Humanities school and student concerns with the calorie information. As a result of this, the university are going to be putting up targeted communications after Easter to help with this change
  • Contributing the student voice in our regular Awards meeting
  • Having our regular Officer/ Student Registrar/Head of Student Wellbeing meeting to raise student issues and get updates from their end
  • Meeting with the Student Voice team to check officer manifesto progress and keep in the loop with Voice it and Change it reports
  • Representing the Student Voice on a Fitness to Practice panel
  • Chairing and leading on our fortnightly Management committee meeting. This is where we raise any EDI issues, Women’s+ safety, any upcoming campaigns and more
  • Meeting with the Victim Support Charity to discuss how we can raise the visibility of their services more widely
  • Involved in and filming for a podcast with the University social media team on student mental health and wellbeing, and what initiatives are in place to help with this
  • Sitting in a campaigns meeting with the university to see what everyone is up to, as well as how other teams can support the SU with their upcoming projects
  • Writing my report for Student Council, so that I can be held accountable for my work by the student members
  • Updating the #Neverok website section, including writing in our pledges, our Feb and March updates and adding in the BBC Points West News Interview videos
  • Ensuring I am fully up to date with all the Training discussions as they progress further with university colleagues
  • Shortlisting for the Award nominations and providing reasons why the students have been shortlisted, which will all be read out on the night!
  •  Having my 360-feedback session with my external SU coach to help me best perform in my role
  • Meeting with the Chaplaincy team to discuss how we can incorporate their events into our De-Stresstival campaign. We are also exploring how we can add Sustainability events and UniSport events into our calendar too.
  • Having a Varsity Debrief so that we can all reflect on how it all went this year, and then take feedback on how the team will approach it for next year
  • Being interviewed by a current Journalism student on Womens+ safety and what the SU and University have done in this area
  • Pulling together more concrete plans for our De-Stresstival campaign, with the hope we can publish out to students very soon!
  • Sitting on an Integrity and Ethics committee with the University 

Watch this space for May....

What Hope Is Working On