An update from the GUSRC Executive on what we are doing to represent and support students.
Hello University of Glasgow students,
This is your regular update from the 4 sabbatical officers of the Students’ Representative Council: Ella (President), Mia (VP Education), Sam (VP Student Activities) and Eva (VP Student Support). If you haven’t met us yet, hello and welcome to Glasgow!
In these updates we report to you on the work that your student representatives and the SRC staff team have been doing to support you, represent you, and engage with you. We also let you know about upcoming projects and activities.
The first few weeks of term have been busy:
- We started out the year by hosting the UofG Welcome, a re-branded Freshers’ Week which sought to welcome all students to the University.
- Responding to the student accommodation crisis has been a huge concern for us, and below we give an update on some of the measures we’ve been pushing the University to adopt to resolve this issue and safeguard against it happening in future.
- Through our academic reps, we’ve receiving feedback on your opinions of learning and teaching at the University and what can be done to improve it.
- On Thursday, you’ll have the opportunity to vote for your representatives in our Autumn council elections.
- All throughout this month we’ll be celebrating Black culture and people at our Black History Month events,
- And next month Glasgow will be hosting the COP26 Climate Conference – there’s a lot going on!
At the base of the update are a list of contacts you can use to get in touch with us. Thank you for your time and we hope that next few weeks of Semester 1 are fun, safe and successful for you all. 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 are aware of the ongoing housing crisis in Glasgow and the intense stress that this has been causing many students, regardless of your year or stage of study. Since taking office in July, we have been working hard to ensure this is high on the agenda of University discussions. We presented the issue at University Court (the highest governing body of the University) and have been lobbying senior management to ensure effective teaching provisions are being offered to those struggling to find accommodation in the city.
We have also successfully lobbied the University to ensure higher rent costs and commuting costs are considered for financial hardship applications, with consideration of the fact that people are having to look outside of their affordability brackets and travelling from further afield. Furthermore, we have highlighted that this issue is not just exclusive to first year students; we’ve pushed the University to recognise the large cohort of students in other years and stages of study that are facing accommodation issues in a variety of ways, including some unreported or accounted for, and reminded them of the extent to which this affects learning.
We’ve also been supporting students through the SRC Advice Centre with accommodation issues, who have received a record number of enquiries, and they’ve been providing flat hunting advice alongside checking tenancy contracts. General flat hunting advice and a wide range of accommodation-related guidance can be found on our website. We’ve been in contact with the University Residences team to ensure that any availability in Private Accommodation is communicated back to our Advice Centre, so that this can be offered to students as an option. If getting a guarantor has been a barrier to you finding accommodation, you may find our Guarantors advice page helpful.
While we recognise and agree to an extent with the messaging of the University - that the accommodation shortage hopefully should ease somewhat after the passing of COP26 and the completion of the January – December Postgraduate students - we sadly do expect the problem to persist unless it’s dealt with at a wider level. We continue to remind the University of their responsibility to think proactively about how the situation can be remedied in future years. We’re currently in the process of arranging a meeting between the University, the SRC, and Glasgow City Council to discuss the current accommodation crisis and wider housing issues that students are facing so that this can be continuously addressed and kept on the agenda.
Over the summer, we successfully lobbied the University to refund hotel quarantine costs for returning Masters students finishing their one year programme.
Learning and Teaching
Reducing the impact of COVID-19 on learning and teaching provision continues to be a vital issue for the SRC. Over the summer we’ve worked on representing all students’ views, including those who feel more anxious about returning to face-to-face provision, and those who are wanting more in person learning experiences. We are in weekly discussions with the Senate Office regarding mitigation provisions for students who may be struggling with their studies.
We have worked with University colleagues to make sure that all teaching resources be made up to date if they were recorded in 2020, and through our network of 1,200+ class, school, and college reps we’re doing all we can to ensure that your perspectives are taken forward as the University plans for Semester 2 teaching. We recently had a paper passed through the Senior Management Group regarding inclusive online meeting guidance, which included not pressuring students to put their cameras on during class and being respectful as to why students may not be able to contribute during teaching due to reasons such as poor internet bandwidth or disturbances at home.
A key issue that we are taking forward this year is ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’. We will be bringing a presentation to the Learning and Teaching Committee about student perspectives on the topic, which we are looking forward to sharing with staff so they can see student viewpoints on the topic. Mia and Eva will be in the JMS at certain point in the upcoming weeks to try and gather students’ view points on this, so look out for them and chat to them if you can! We are also currently in conversations to try and push for assurance that the provision of online teaching and lecture recordings will remain in place going into Semester 2 and beyond the removal of COVID-19 legislations.
Black History Month
October in the UK is Black History Month. This year, we want to use Black History Month as a starting point of increased education and awareness raising, as well as a celebration of Black history and culture, that extends beyond the month of October and becomes embedded into the University experience. We are proud to have planned an extensive line-up of events celebrating Black people and culture, and we hope to see you at one sometime this month. Event highlights include intersectional panel discussions, talks and workshops, a tour of the Hunterian from a new perspective and a closing club night in collaboration with the QMU. Find out more.
As many of you will know, Glasgow will be hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) from Sunday 31st October to Friday 12th November. Whilst we’re all excited for the conference, and the opportunity for students to engage with the issues at hand, we’ve been working to ensure the University is planning for as little disruption as possible to teaching on campus. As vital as this event is, it shouldn’t come at the expense of your education.
The University, the Student Bodies and several Clubs and Societies will be hosting events around and during COP26. These will include a mix of socials, workshops, and talks which aim to increase awareness of the climate crisis and equip you with the skills to make a positive change. We are also delighted to have several UofG students making up the team of 1,000+ volunteers who will be supporting the conference. A calendar of student events will be released in due course, so keep an eye out for that in the next edition!
The recent, tragic, murder of Sabina Nessa is a reminder of how far we are from being in a society free from gender-based violence, of which the University is no exception. We are committed to tackling this issue head on, erasing the grey areas, and doing what we can to make the University a safer place for all. We also understand the need to grieve, and/or share stories relating to gender-based violence and we hope to foster this culture through future activities.
We’ve been continuing to deliver our ‘Let’s Talk about Sexual Violence’ workshops, which have been developed in conjunction with Rape Crisis Scotland. To add to this, we are currently working on launching a complimentary Gender-Based Violence Moodle module, which will be rolled out to all students. This will cover topics such as consent, healthy relationships, by-stander intervention, defining Gender-Based Violence and accessing support.
Elections are this week, and as a sabbatical team, we are looking forward to welcoming all our new council members over the next few weeks. These are your fellow peers that hope to represent the voice of the student body to the higher-ups in the University. The next 9 months will be exciting for all of us, as we aim to work very hard to better the student experience here at the University of Glasgow.
Voting will take place this Thursday 14th October from 9am to 5pm. All registered students are eligible to vote and you can do so either via the UofG Life App (available on all smartphones) or by visiting gla.ac.uk/vote
This year we launched the UofG Welcome, a rebranded version of Freshers’ Week. We felt that the UofG Welcome message more strongly delivered the reception we wanted to give students this year, acknowledging that our events are not just for first years, but also for returning students, postgrads, student groups such as carers and parents, disabled students, home students, and also inclusive of those second-year students who missed out on events last year. This year, due to remaining restrictions, alongside the fact that many students weren’t in Glasgow yet or might be isolating, we opted for a blended approach to our activities, hosting both in person and online events. We hope you’ve all enjoyed the events that we held, and we hope to host several recurring events across the semester for those who missed Welcome Week. Keep an eye out for these on Native and our social media!
RAG – Raising and Giving
The SRC’s Raising and Giving campaign has started for this year! Last year, RAG raised close to £60,000, and we hope to do better than that this year! Look out for the wide range of charity drives, fundraisers, and events coming to you over the next few months. If you want to get involved with RAG as an ambassador, keep posted to @glasgowrag on Instagram for more information in the near future.
For general day-to-day enquiries, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or message @glasgowunisrc over social media.
For free, confidential, and impartial advice on a range of issues including finances, studying, accommodation, wellbeing and more please contact the SRC Advice Centre: email@example.com
To find the email addresses of your council representatives, please visit our website: https://www.glasgowunisrc.org/representation/council/
Thank you for reading!