We wanted to celebrate Britain’s Black History Month at CSU, as it had previously gone unmarked. In July a focus group of students came together to share ideas and plan for the campaign to celebrate, inspire and educate across all campuses. The month was split into 5 themes, education, culture, arts, business, and sports to ensure we celebrated the full range of our Black communities we represent.
Throughout the month we used social media accounts to share profiles of prominent Black activists, artists and changemakers, interviewed the Author of Black Poppies and promoted local Black-owned businesses. Our African-Caribbean Society (ACS) created a micro-aggressions TikTok, and shared homemade recipes of their favourite traditional food and supported us to fly the Pan-African and Jamaican flag at Parkgate Road, Shrewsbury and Warrington.
The campaign finished with a virtual panel ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’ attended by 40 staff and students across the University and chaired by Oge Obioha from Minds of People of Colour. The ideas and impacts of decolonising the institution were discussed and highlighted why it is so important that we start to make change. Black history month has already started to shift the way the University and CSU work towards racial equity and we hope to update you on the longer-term impacts of this campaign.
Led by VP Activities and VP Warrington, the Movember campaign aimed to highlight Men’s health and in particular break down the stigma attached to Men’s mental health and to challenge the stereotypes of masculinity.
Despite the Covid Lockdown 2.0 we were still able to hold a number of virtual events including a talk hosted by Campaign Against Living Miserably, and a Movember Quiz. VP Warrington Sam and VP Activities Daniel were panellists on Mindful healthcare’s November talk discussing what is masculinity? How do we go about redefining it? Which was attended by 47 professionals across the healthcare and education sector.
The two officers also ran a total of 123.34km throughout the month, with the aim for 60km each to represent the 60 men who take their lives hourly* across the world.
The Dear VC campaign ran from November 2019 and gave students the opportunity to give positive feedback as well as what they would like to be improved at the University. This was presented to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simmons, where Eleanor Lewis (President) and Rio Hall (VP Activities) did a Q & A with the VC. We produced this video as a result:
Mel Hooper (former VP Education) led on the Personal Academic Tutor campaign to help increase awareness of the system and inform students on how they can best utilise their PAT. Mel worked with the university, including the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Academic Quality, Chris Haslam, to help roll this out to all staff and students across the university. The results of the campaign showed recommendations of how the system can be enhanced and pushed for all PATs to get more guidance on mental health matters to allow them to better support their students.
The Elected Officer Team worked to get free fruit in all catering outlets across the University. Eleanor Lewis (President) had this as a manifesto point and was successful in achieving this for students, with free fruit available on alternative Mondays in all catering outlets and in the SU. Mental health is a big topic for students and is regularly discussed at Student Council. We are very passionate about this at CSU and this achievement helped us to promote a healthy lifestyle for students.
Jack Appleby (former VP Warrington) revamped his Movember campaign this year and it was a huge success! The campaign included giving out fake moustaches to students to raise awareness of men’s health, as well as CH1 Barbers setting up a barbershop in the SU giving over 30 complimentary haircuts to male-identifying students. The campaign raised over £275 – a big thanks to students and colleagues for their support!
Yasmin Ruane (former Women’s Officer and CSU Student Trustee) worked with the Elected Officers in 2019/20 to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Rio Hall (former VP Activities) worked hard to get free Societies, meaning that CSU no longer charges for Society memberships. This helped to reduce the barriers to participation, making Societies more accessible for everyone! Society committees have the option to charge a membership if they think it is appropriate. The money societies receive from charging a membership will remain entirely within the society in their social account.
This campaign was featured as a case study by the National Union of Students: https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/campaigns/lovesus/case-studies
In 2019/20, students were able to sit on the Student Experience Committee for the first time. After numerous meetings with Chris Haslam (Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Academic Quality), we were able to confirm that two faculty reps could sit on the committee. During the academic year, the committee split off into smaller working groups, where all faculty reps were invited to get involved. We have confirmed that going forward, all department reps will be invited to sit on SEC Working Groups, giving students a voice at high-level meetings within the university.
Over the summer of 2019, you may have noticed that CSU underwent a huge transformation. You said that your officers and staff need to be more accessible and that social space for students to relax was limited on campus. Well, we listened! We asked the University if they would invest in your Union, and they did. With the Universities help, we created a more accessible, safe and welcoming, effective student space for you to enjoy, along with a student kitchen for you to use at your leisure. We hope you love the space as much as we do, especially the bean bags!
Wellbeing Week was slightly different this year, due to working from home. We planned a virtual project led by one of our Student Advisors, Sam. We posted out 12 visuals from Katie Abey Designs on a range of topics to help us reach out to students. Over 70 of you tagged your friends in posts who needed a pick-me-up, and our advice team supported over 40 students with follow up appointments. 100 surprise packs were sent out to students who needed them, with a virtual hug and a reminder of the support available!
SASS (Sexual Awareness and Staying Safe) brought two weeks of giveaways and events to promote great sexual health and safe relationships. Previously named SAFE Week focusing solely on sexual health, this campaign also incorporated relationships and consent. We were able to bring in local organisations including SexSmart/BodyPositive, CSASS and Cheshire Police to talk to you about these topics and help address national student issues.
The University of Chester is no place for hate, and as a Third-Party Hate Crime Reporting Centre, CSU is fully equipped to support you should you find yourself subject to hate. We wanted to raise awareness of Hate Crime and the support that is available to you. Some of our Student Council Representatives got involved, including our Disability Rep and International Rep, to tell us what Hate Crime is, their own experiences and what you can do about it. Our service is confidential and available every day – you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.