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Officer Blogs

Welfare Officer

Hi, I’m Alex and I’m your Welfare Officer. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve the welfare and general wellbeing of students. 

Email: ausawelfare@abdn.ac.uk 

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Affable, approachable and cheerful. 

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

To create my own plan to manage stress and not to concern myself with things I don't have control of.  

If I had one superpower, it would be:

The power to call everything done. 

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

Enjoy my favourite football team (Arsenal) play and win.

This year I want to achieve:

To make sure support and welfare services are more accessible and publicised. 

Monthly welfare update – October 2019

Kindly find below a report on activities performed during the month of October 2019.

  • Mental health & wellbeing week: The weeklong activities were from October 7-11. It was largely engaged by students who participated in all activities during the week. The week was also used to collect data on key questions surrounding mental health in collaboration with Aberdeen city Health & Social Care programme. An article is being worked on to highlights the data collected during the mental health & wellbeing week.
  • NUS Think Positive Project: Together with the mental health advisor of the university, we have initiated the process to fully sign unto the NUS Think Positive Project which has to do with mental health. There is an eleven-step process to go through in order to develop a unique mental health agreement for the university. We anticipate this project together with other initiatives by the university and students’ groups will help us manage the growing issues surrounding mental illness.
  • Students mental health project: I have successfully put in an application to access £250 from NUS Scotland to undertake a student’s-led project on mental health. Only 10 institution will be considered for the award of £250. I will provide an update on our application in due course.
  • SAD Lamps: The policy to administer the SAD lamp is now ready. It can be downloaded on AUSA website from November 26. We hope that from December 3rd the lamps will be available to be hired within 3-4 working days or for use within the union building. Just speak with AUSA reception from November 26 for more details.
  • Adjustable tables: Meetings have been held with management of library services and have committed to ensuring that about 20 adjustable tables are procured for libraries and some study areas on various campuses.
  • Student Partnership Agreement: We continue to make progress on the full content of the restructured SPA documents. We met this month to agree on the final documents after minimal changes were made to the draft. Hopefully, the final draft is accepted for immediate implementation.
  • Housing data: Together with Louise Henrad we met with the head of residential services on issues regarding rent for campus accommodation going forward. We discussed what goes into the pricing of student’s accommodation at the university. Sequel to those discussions, I have collected data on private accommodation prices as well as facilities and shared same with residential services. I hope it will influence future accommodation prices.
  • Interfaith kirking: I took part in the interfaith kirking which was organised by the multi-faith chaplaincy unit. It was another opportunity to show how diverse and inclusive an institution we are.
  • British Sign Language (BSL) working group: The group seeks to integrate BSL modes of communicating through its visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language to make Aberdeen more inclusive. Sign language is used mainly by people who are Deaf or have hearing impairments. Thus, a plan of action is being worked on for a full implementation.
  • Gender Based Violence: I took part in the GBV working group which seeks to draw up a GBV policy to create a culture which fully rejects inappropriate behaviours or attitudes in line with equality, diversity and inclusion. A draft policy is currently under review, thus, I am available to discuss the details and welcome suggestions from student, societies and groups.
  • Senate: I took part in my first ever senate as welfare officer in an observatory capacity. We discussed the Aberdeen 2040 documents. Anyone with suggestion can still contact me or send them through.
  • Senate Effectiveness Review: As part of the senate review effectiveness group, I took part in discussions on effectiveness of senate moving forward. Discussions around senate composition, scope, monitoring, and evaluation dominated our first meeting.
  • Inclusive Workstream: This is a group which seeks to promote equally and eliminate all barriers to make us an inclusive university. Issues discussed include gender, race, cultural, diversity etc. As a member of this group, I champion all issues in the interests of students.
  • PGR welcome event: This was the first official event by the university to welcome PGR’s specifically to the university. It was hugely attended, as well as there were stalls from AUSA, career services, students support, counselling etc. Together with Isla Scott and Louise Henrad we manned the AUSA stall and engaged PGR students on AUSA and how we don’t just support undergraduate students, but also PGT’s and PGR’s.
  • Combat Misconduct:  The 2016 Universities UK (UUK) report on sexual harassment, Changing the Culture, highlighted the excellent work by universities across the U.K. to address sexual harassment and misconduct. However, the report also showed that institutions could be more systematic in their approaches. The Changing the Culture One Year on showed that although progress had been achieved in addressing sexual harassment, challenges remained around adopting a whole institutional approach and embedding changes into existing governance, policies, practices, processes and systems.

Against violence & Abuse (AVA), the national domestic and sexual abuse charity, is working closely with UUK and the NUS with an offer to support further change across the sector through a new two-year project, #CombatMisconduct. The pilot will be with only five (5) institutions to be selected, and I am happy to report that University of Aberdeen put in an application and we have been successful as one of five institutions selected for the pilot.

  • Students-led project/campaigns: Over the period under review, I have had three students’ groups approached me to discuss their initiative on projects ranging from mental health to domestic abuse. Very soon, there will be students-leg campaigns on social media as well as organising events including workshops and seminars on mental health related issues and domestic abuse. Anyone interested to get involved should kindly contact me for further details or signpost them to the relevant student’s group.
  • Black history month: I had an interview on ASR to share my opinion on black history month.
  • Open session with welfare officer: There will be two open sessions dubbed “Time with the Welfare Officer” on November 26th at Union Brew and 29th at Foresterhill. Kindly check AUSA social media pages for more details. The aim is for students to come talk to myself as well as some members of the welfare committee on any welfare related issues i.e. GBV, personal safety, mental health, wellbeing, inclusion, diversity etc.
  • Videos on study areas on campus: In collaboration with students’ experience, we interviewed students on study areas on campus. Watch out for videos on student’s life social media pages later this month.
  • Gender Neutral Toilet: As a follow-up to the September report, the university has released a spreadsheet of WC facilities across the campuses which identifies those that are being prepared to be re-designate as GNT. I will continue to work with estate to ensure that is done as soon as practicable.
  • Committees & Meetings: I attended some committee and other general meetings during the month under review. This includes;
  • Meeting with unicomms: This was an introductory section and exploring the possibilities of working together and understanding their role in external and internal communication.
  • Students marketing, communication and events: This is a recurring meeting to discuss everything about events, and communication as well as introduction of new activities.
  • Mental health network group: We met to review the mental health and wellbeing week and the possibilities of getting other students who have interests in mental health. Thus, anyone who has interest in mental health and its related activities should contact me via ausawelfare@abdn.ac.uk.
  • Meeting with CASE: As a student group with interest in consent and GBV’s issues, we met to discuss and working in ways to achieve zero tolerance on sexual harassment and abuse.
  • Welfare committee: We had our first meeting of the welfare committee. It was an introductory section, and the main discussion centred around the planning towards mental health and wellbeing week. It was a successful meeting. The next meeting is on November 6, 2019.
  • NUS Scotland mental health action group: We had a skype meeting to discuss the possibility of organising a Scottish students mental health conference. More update will be provided in the subsequent months report. However, students who are interested to be part of this conference can contact me for more details at ausawelfare@abdn.ac.uk.
  • Finance committee: We met to review AUSA’s financial statement for the year ended June 2019. The report has been forwarded to AUSA trustee, subsequently it will be released on AUSA website. Any question and/or concerns can be forwarded to me.
  • Stress Out Students: This will be from November 25-29, 2019. Keep the date in your diary, series of activities have been outlined to excite students as we prepare to write end of semester exams. Don’t be stressed, keep calm and relax before and during the exams.
  • Catch-up with SMT: At this month catch-up, two things were discussed. These are the universities commitment against GBV’s, and Black history month being observed by the university in future.
  • Launch of Old Aberdeen library: The launch has been done and books are fully accessible from the ground floor of the library after a short registration process. Books on wellbeing, cooking and other social issues are available for collection.
  • Democratic Review: Discussions are progressing among Sabbatical Officers on some issues identified by the democratic review process. Will update once finalised.

It has been an activity filled month and I am grateful to all for the supports.

 

Your Welfare, I Care

Alexander Acheampong

ausawelfare@abdn.ac.uk

alexander.acheampong@abdn.ac.uk

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Student President

Hi, I’m Cecilia and I’m your Student President. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve policies, diversity, democratic structure of AUSA and if you want to help make a positive change at the University.

Email: ausapresident@abdn.ac.uk 

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Best. Person. Ever. 

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

'Did you try turning it off and then on again?'

If I had one superpower, it would be:

To be able to understand any language.

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

Have a good chat with my friends, Michaelle (cat) and Tom and Jerry (plants).

This year I want to achieve:

Increased inclusivity and engagement within the student body. 

8 posts
Last post 02 Dec 2019
Communities Officer

Hi, I’m Louise and I’m your Communities Officer. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve sustainability, environment and ethics and accommodation within the University and the city.

Email: ausacommunities@abdn.ac.uk 

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Empathetic, committed and (sometimes) adventurous. 

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

Don't waste your time on something you don't like doing. Find what makes you happy and go from there. 

If I had one superpower, it would be:

Being able to fill up anything (my bank account or my fridge!)

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

I like to garden and plant things, but also exploring new places in cities or nature. 

This year I want to achieve:

Sustainability! Not just in words, but actions. 

25 posts
Last post 21 Nov 2019
Welfare Officer

Hi, I’m Alex and I’m your Welfare Officer. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve the welfare and general wellbeing of students. 

Email: ausawelfare@abdn.ac.uk 

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Affable, approachable and cheerful. 

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

To create my own plan to manage stress and not to concern myself with things I don't have control of.  

If I had one superpower, it would be:

The power to call everything done. 

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

Enjoy my favourite football team (Arsenal) play and win.

This year I want to achieve:

To make sure support and welfare services are more accessible and publicised. 

4 posts
Last post 13 Nov 2019
Sports Officer

Hi, I’m Isla and I’m your Sports Officer. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve sports clubs, sports events, activities and facilities.

Email: ausasport@abdn.ac.uk 

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Sporty (of course), friendly and innovative.

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

From my mum - 'touch once'. Basically means once you start a task, see it through. 

If I had one superpower, it would be:

Teleportation - it's a lot greener than transport. 

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

Baking.

This year I want to achieve:

A lot! The 3 key themes will be Sport for all, mental health in sport, and improving communication for clubs. 

 

12 posts
Last post 22 Oct 2019
Education Officer

Hi, I’m Dariya and I’m your Education Officer. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve educational and teaching quality and if you need support with anything concerning your education.

Email: ausaeducation@abdn.ac.uk  

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Cheerful, Determined, Quirky. 

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

Something a friend once said: Be so completely yourself so everyone else feels safe to be themselves too. Cheesy, but always helpful to keep in mind. 

If I had one superpower, it would be:

Teleportation, definitely Being able to instantly transport yourself someplace new and exciting sounds amazing. 

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

I like live music so going to gigs is one of my favourite ways to spend my free time. Day trips are also super fun. 

This year I want to achieve:

I'd be very happy if I am able to deliver some of my key manifesto goals and represent students best I can. I also have my personal goal to visit more new places than the previous year. 

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