Hello University of Glasgow students,
This is your regular update from the Students’ Representative Council.
In these updates we report to you on the work your student representatives and the SRC staff have been doing to support, represent, and engage with you. We also let you know about upcoming projects and activities, including new volunteering opportunities and events.
Since our last update a lot has happened both on and off campus. During that time we’ve been busy working on:
- Coordinating support on campus for the crisis in Ukraine and encouraging the University to use their voice on the national stage to push for a greater humanitarian response,
- Continuing our support for the UCU Strikes and showing solidarity with striking staff,
- Organising our Spring Council Elections where we elected the next sabbatical team and Council,
- Learning from and responding to the important work of our Advice Centre, including their latest casework and advancements in policy and campaigning,
- Supporting our Clubs & Admin team in their work to improve our digital offering for clubs and societies through the SRC website,
- Sharing the fantastic opportunities available from our SRC Volunteering service,
- As well as planning and running a number of events and campaigns including International Women’s Week, Volunteering, Clubs and Societies Awards, LGBTQ+ History Month and more to come.
At the base of the update are a list of contacts you can use to get in touch with us. Remember that the SRC are here to support and represent you so please do reach out if you need our help.
Ella, Mia, Sam and Eva
GUSRC Executive 21/22
We have been deeply saddened and shocked by the news of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and last week posted a statement showing our solidarity with Ukraine at this time, alongside signposting to a range of support information we think would be of use.
After assisting with the organisation of the vigil in the chaplaincy last week, we recognised that many students and staff are in distress during this time and might require a quiet space on campus to acknowledge their grief, anxiety or general feelings in response to the ongoing crisis. To this end, we opened the Williams room in the McIntyre Building as a reflection space this past Thursday and encouraged anyone who wanted to use the space to attend at any time. If demand is there, we will look into running this again. We also ran a donation drive this week and will be liaising with clubs and societies on a range of other support initiatives in the coming weeks. Please do get in touch if you would like to collaborate with us.
We have been, and will continue to be, in conversations about how the University can progress a wider organisational response to the conflict, and what that might look like. In particular, focusing on pressuring the government to provide a more extensive humanitarian response to the crisis through increased acceptance of asylum seekers and fast-tracking visa applications for those most in need.
UCU Strike Action
We wish to reiterate our stance regarding the UCU industrial action, in light of the decision made by UUK to cut retirement benefits for University staff. Significant cuts to pensions are another blow to learning and teaching staff at a time when it is expected that staff work above and beyond their contracts and pay grade. As a Council, we voted in favour of supporting industrial action for this reason, and to see that UUK voted in favour of these cuts is very disappointing.
Taking strike action is always the last resort for University staff, and we understand why the threat of future action in light of this pension decision may make students anxious. Again, our intention is not to overlook these concerns, but reiterate that our University and across the sector should do everything in their power to mitigate the need to strike. Decreased pay, poor working conditions and a cut to pensions are all elements of learning and teaching staff’s work that will impact students. These poor employment conditions should be of direct concern to students, and as student representatives, we want to see the highest standards of learning and teaching – but this is unlikely if staff are treated poorly.
Spring Council Elections
We’ve been busy across the last month with our 2022 Spring Elections, which saw candidates come forward to take the reins from us in July! It was an exciting election period, particularly as we saw two of our sabbatical positions contested this year, namely the position of President and VP Education.
Hustings took place last Monday and Tuesday, with voting open across Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd. Many congratulations to all the successful candidates, and again well done to everyone who put themselves forward for a position. Those positions not filled in the Spring Elections will be open again for nominations in our Autumn elections, so keep an eye out for this when the time comes. On top of this, there are many other ways to get involved with the SRC outside of being a Council member, so have a look at the opportunities we offer on our website, stay engaged with us and get involved.
The Advice Centre
Our Advice Centre dealt with a total of 207 cases in February. One particularly interesting case they had in February related to an international student who had been unable to find suitable accommodation in Glasgow when their course started last September. Due to desperation and the lack of available accommodation in Glasgow they had therefore signed up for a tenancy in Private Halls in England only to at the last minute be offered a room in University of Glasgow accommodation.
The student approached us for advice as they were being pursued by the Private Halls in England for the full rent owed on their tenancy. They were threatening to pass the student’s details to a debt collection agency and refusing to release the student from the tenancy agreement. Thankfully, the Advice Centre managed to negotiate with the halls provider for them to release the student from the contract thus saving them from paying the £2,500 in rent they were being pursued for.
Policy & Campaigning
We are currently working to draft a response to the Scottish Government’s “A New Deal for Tenants” housing consultation. The consultation contains, among other things, the proposal that tenants living in Purpose Built Student Accommodation (private halls) have their rights amended to bring them in line with tenants currently living in privately rented tenancies from a private landlord. We intend to encourage the Scottish Government to proceed with this aspect of the consultation and will publish our full response to students after the submission deadline of 15th April.
Clubs & Admin
Support Through the SRC Website
We continue to work with clubs to advertise and sell their membership, event tickets and merchandise through the SRC Website. This includes setting up banking agreements with clubs using the website to sell items, and the team are also there to assist in setting up a holding account for clubs who do not have their own bank account or who wish to transfer their funds into the holding account and close their own bank account.
The SRC will act as their banker, with the club fully in control of the society funds. This is in response to frequent issues we know clubs have with setting up and maintaining bank accounts. In addition to this, if Clubs have a holding account or a banking agreement with the SRC then they can also book to use the SRC portable credit card machine to make sales at bake sale stalls, events or sell merchandise. Find out more about website training for your club here.
HEAR: Higher Education Achievement Report – Noted on your transcript
We are preparing to send out the HEAR forms for the period 21-22 over the next few weeks. Please return these as soon as you can but before submitting them and please make sure to complete them as much as possible to limit us having to reach out to you for more information before we verify your application.
We are also looking into issues some clubs are having making room bookings through Space Management and room hire, as well as reports of facilities staff costs charges clubs are now facing when booking some spaces. If you have been having any issues, please let us know by emailing email@example.com
New Community Volunteering Partner – 3D Drumchapel
Our Volunteering service have recently partnered with local charity, 3D Drumchapel, who work to make a difference to the lives of children and families in Drumchapel by providing support, strengthening relationships, and empowering families to make positive change. They’re currently looking for volunteers to help run Baby Beats; a fun-filled drop-in session with music and wiggles for parents/carers with babies up to one year old. Volunteers are also needed to provide hands-on support and assistance in after school club, SENsation, which offers a space for children with additional support needs to be with their parent/carer whilst also giving them the opportunity to play independently. For more information and to apply click here.
One-off Volunteering Opportunity – HIV Activism in Scotland: Oral History Project, Waverley Care
For any of you who are too busy to commit to regular volunteering with exams and deadlines coming up, we’ve just started promoting an opportunity for students to get involved as transcribers for Waverley Care’s new oral history project. Waverley Care help people who need support with HIV, Hepatitis C and sexual health across Scotland. They’re currently looking for volunteers who are interested in helping them transcribe interviews for project, to help Waverley Care prepare them for archiving and use as educational resources. For more information and to apply, click here.
Volunteering, Clubs and Societies (VCS) Awards
On Thursday 10th March we held the award ceremony for our 2022 VCS Awards. Each year we are blown away by the incredible work that UofG students put back into the local community through volunteering, and into running successful and impactful clubs and societies. It was such a delight to be able to celebrate and recognise your achievements in person. Well done and thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination. A full list of winners and nominees can be found on our website.
International Women’s Week
This past week was International Women’s Week. This is a week dedicated to tackling gender inequality, biases and gender-based violence as well as celebrating the successes and contributions of women on and across the globe. At the time of writing, we have already put on a panel event about women, disability and the media and attended the march for International Women’s Day organised by Successful Women at Glasgow (SWAG) and supported by the SRC. Both of which were great. Previous online events can also be replayed on our socials. Find out more on our website.
LGBTQ+ History Month
To celebrate LGBTQ+ history month we hosted a series of events including raising and lowering the pride flag accompanied by a beautiful closing ceremony with the community choir. Our LGBTQ+ officer ran a successful panel event about the intersectionality between LGBTQ+ and faith, with a range of speakers from different faith backgrounds. We ran some book sharing mornings, and hope to release a short reading list of literature platforming LGBTQ+ authors and themes.
Student Teaching Awards
Looking ahead to the end of the month, we have our Student Teaching Award ceremony in the Kelvin Gallery! A group of student reps, headed up by the VP Education, have read through all your amazing nominations and shortlisted 5 people for each category of awards. Keep an eye on the SRC social media to see if your nominee won or was shortlisted in their respective category.
The Gilchrist Postgraduate Club
Coming up at the Postgraduate club we have a couple of great events: Knitting for Fun is back in person on March 14th from 5pm, and the hilarious Diversity Quota comedy crew are back with a Red Nose Day Special, March 18th from 7pm. Find all of our events on this page.
For more information on the listed events please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a postgraduate student or SRC affiliated club that would like to put on your own events in the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club please contact email@example.com
Thank you for reading.