Officer Blogs

Thoughts and opinions straight from the mouths of your elected officers.

Communities Officer

Lewis Macleod is your full-time Communities Officer, running campaigns on community issues such as housing and transport, building links between AUSA and local community groups, as well as co-ordinating student initiatives on issues around environment and ethics. 

If you have any questions, or wish to get involved - please get in touch on ausacommunities@abdn.ac.uk

Work Report for Student Council

Happy New Year! Hope you are all well and that the new term has got off to a good start. 

For each student council, we all submit work reports to give an overview of what we've been up to - here's an update on what I've been doing on the weeks each side of the Christmas break. If you have any questions, or want to get involved at all, drop me an email on: ausacommunities@abdn.ac.uk :) 
 

Area

Work Done

        Outcome

Priority Campaign – Stop The Job Cuts

Continued weekly meetings with UCU, co-ordinated picket support for the strike day at the end of term and put out all-student communications about the campaign.

Strike day saw students out in solidarity with staff on picket lines, and student representation at the court lobby. Joint petition between AUSA and UCU was handed in to University Court in December, and the campaign has helped to mitigate cuts in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition. Further cuts are anticipated in other schools moving into the new term and we will continue to work closely with UCU to fight these.

Cut the Rent

Continued petition collection and press attention. Completed interviews with a number of press outlets about the campaign.

Great press attention both locally and nationally, and had great engagement with students around the campaign. We will be handing in the petition to Iain Diamond, and holding a public meeting at Hillhead in the coming weeks to get students in halls together and build the campaign further.

Rent Guarantor Scheme

Completed proposal for a rent guarantor scheme with research paper highlighting the necessity of such a scheme and information on other schemes across the country.

Proposal is almost finalised and will be presenting paper findings and recommendations to senior management in an effort to get the institution to act as a rent guarantor.

Housing Clinics

Organising further Shelter housing advice sessions for this term after a very successful day in November.

Shelter will be on campus this Wednesday (25th) during the University’s accommodation fayre to provide advice to students having issues within the private rental sector.

Climate Challenge Fund Application

Completed final draft of application and submitted!

Awaiting to hear outcome of application for £50000 from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund to implement community gardens on campus.

University Fairtrade and Sustainable Procurement Steering Group

Preparing for the next FSPSG meeting, bringing forward proposals for Fairtrade Fortnight.

Will be taking proposal on events to Environment and Ethics committee for discussion before FSPSG.

United for Education National Demonstration

Attended NUS’ United for Education Demo in London and was the AUSA safeguarder for the trip.

A good day marching with students and workers from across the country for Free Education – including a busload of Aberdeen students!

Electronics Watch

Continued to lobby Procurement Manager to get Aberdeen to become ‘sweatshop free’ and re-subscribe to Electronics Watch

Aberdeen have re-subscribed! Electronics Watch is an independent monitoring organisation that tracks IT supply chains to identify, and ultimately end, labor rights abuses. http://www.eauc.org.uk/scotland_electronics_watch

Universal Living Grants

 

Delivered workshop at NUS Scotland Zones conference on Universal Living Grants.  

Great discussion with officers and activists from across Scotland about how we define ‘living’ grants, and how to progress with the campaign within the context of NUS Scotland’s #SupportUs campaign leading into the Scottish Government’s Student Support Review.

Community Outreach

Had discussions with members of Froghall/Powis/Sunnybank community council that are keen to work with us.

Will be working with Powis Community Centre to help assist with their homework clubs, looking for student volunteers.

Student Workers

Developed a campaign plan on Student Workers.

Campaign is centered on supporting students in the workplace through unionization, creating materials for students on their workplace rights, tackling zero-hours contracts and exploitative conditions, and lobbying the University to have better provisions in place for student that work alongside studies. Campaign plan to be discussed at next Community Committee meeting and campaign to launch shortly after.

Kevin Stewart MSP Meeting

Met with Aberdeen Central MSP and Scottish Government Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart.

Discussed a range of student issues, including the Aberdeen: Cut the Rent campaign and looked at ways we could tackle illegal fees implemented by letting agencies and private student accommodation providers in the city.

HMO Overprovision

Submitted organizational response to Aberdeen City Council’s HMO Overprovision policy proposal, and lobbying councilors to vote against this effort to limit HMOs.

Meeting of the council’s Communities, Housing and Infrastructure committee is tomorrow.

UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) Meeting

Met with a UKCISA to discuss AUSA’s membership.

Discussed a range of resources that we can access as a member of UCKISA to help better support international students, including free staff training, referral helpline, and potential funding.

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