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Welcome Back! - A Message from VP Activities Daniel Forrester


Welcome back to Term 2! All of us at CSU hope you had a great winter break and, even though we now face new home-studying challenges, feel recharged and ready to face the new semester.

 

 

Societies had a hard first term and a bad start to the second term, with the news that no in-person activity will be able to take place for the immediate future. However, many societies have adapted to this and made the best out of a tough situation - they’ve been holding online activities instead. Drama Society even held a virtual show! A review of online activity provision was carried out in the latter stages of the first term, where all the Societies met with me on a one-to-one basis to discuss where they can develop, what has worked well and what has not. It was found that some preferred the online move while some suffered from it. Overall, students’ feelings were that they felt left out and that a lack of social activity was affecting their mental wellbeing.


ReUnion, our welcome back celebration, has started and will continue into the first week of February. All our planned activities have been moved online, with a few being cancelled due to them primarily being in-person focused. All virtual events are getting lots of advertisement around the University and Students Union social media, so make sure you’re following us! We’re putting on film nights, quizzes, meditation, yoga and much more. The events that we’ve had to cancel will hopefully be integrated into the schedule and delivered in the future when guidance allows.


I have been working very closely with Gordon Reay over at Sport and Active Lifestyle recently, organising live Q&A’s on Instagram, forums on Teams to meet with sports teams and talking over the possibilities of holding Varsity with Salford in March. Alongside this, me and Gordon are still working on the Inclusion and Equality Charter for sports and Societies – this will be integrated into the next round of training for 2021/22 sport and Society committees.


Coming up in the next few weeks we have the Super Society of the Year and Super Team of the Year competitions – these have both started and have had good uptake, with events happening fortnightly. Societies and teams earn points, which are collected into a league table and awards will be distributed at their respective awards ceremonies at the end of the year (Society Awards and Sports Presentation).

 

 

 

 

January Update from VP Education Jack Rankin

This last month has been incredibly challenging.


Once again, we’ve seen students learning online rather than at the University.  As a result, this month as VP Education has been one of the busiest of my term in office - but also one of the most rewarding.


CSU’s Academic Rep Coordinator, Chloe, and I have carried out refresher training for those Reps who missed round one in the autumn.


I sat on a national task force against essay mills, where we plan to lobby social media platforms and the government to do more so students don’t fall prey to these repulsive companies.
 

I’ve also worked closely with the Student Futures team and the Learning and Teaching Institute to deliver training to Learning Facilitators. This will ensure they are in the best position to support you and improve your student experience.


The biggest, and most rewarding, part of my role this year has been supporting students to gain a “Safety Net Policy” for assessments which puts students’ academic interests at the fore and will protect all levels of taught study. This was finally announced yesterday, so please check your emails from the University for full details, or click here for a transcript.

Shrewsbury & Warrington Roundup

VP Shrewsbury Adam Kerr writes: Hey Shrewdents, just a quick update from your VP on the goings on this month and our plans for the next few months.


Dry January is going great! At the time of writing, it’s been 18 days since I’ve had a drink and implemented my fitness regimen. It’s been so transformative! I have a new routine that I love and, overall, I’m feeling so much better about myself!


Over the next month I’ll be writing a couple of reports. The first is surrounding our recent online engagement survey, to figure out the best ways to interact with you all virtually and support you all throughout lockdown. The second is regarding the Shrewdents Up Town discount scheme. This report will be about the types of businesses you liked best and what other ways we could help to make Shrewsbury a more student-friendly town in the future!

That’s all from me for this month, I’ll see you all soon 😊.

 

VP Warrington Sam Derbyshire writes: There has been some exciting news released about Warrington Campus this week! As some returning students may know, the University conducted an extensive review of the Campus last year and spoke with lots of students to better understand the real experience of being a student at Padgate.
 

The University are delighted to announce that, as a result of this work, a new location for Warrington Campus has been identified and that they are currently negotiating with the Council for a town centre presence in Time Square. The Time Square premises will act as a ‘shop window’, allowing members of the public to visit and engage directly with the University while a second building near Time Square will facilitate teaching and learning.


Throughout the next stages, we’ll be putting your input and ideas at the fore and helping the University plan a new vision to make the new site amazing for students!

If you have any ideas, questions or queries please contact me directly or email the dedicated address for the move: warringtonstudent@chester.ac.uk

Updates from the Advice Service
 

  • The University has made BlackBullion available to all students this year, with lots of fantastic information available on budgeting, getting finance and more. You can also apply to the Financial Assistance Fund through BlackBullion. Go to www.blackbullion.com to register today and why not try out one of the learning resources?
  • Our team are busier than normal right now, meaning they may be delayed responding to you but they are still here for you. Last month we advised 148 students with questions on appeals, academic integrity, housing and money. If you need advice, please go to www.chestersu.com/advice/contact to tell the team what you need support with.
  • Right now we’re planning out Wellbeing Week activities to share with you later this year. Have you got an idea or an event you’d like to see? Let us know by emailing csuadvice@chester.ac.uk

 

Update from President Eleanor Lewis
 

During the first week of Spring term, I wrote to you to outline the questions CSU has been asking the University, with our focus being on rent, wellbeing, academia, and tuition fees. We’ve had many wins on these fronts, the first being the University agreeing to freeze rent payments for those of you living in Uni-owned accommodation for this term. In addition to this, the VC and myself both wrote to private housing providers urging them to offer some form of rent rebate. I’m happy to report that Purpose Built Student Accommodation Provider Student Roost has listened and frozen rent payments for 6 weeks! Please head here to see more about how we’ve been advocating for you through this third lockdown, and check out some answers to your FAQshere.
 

On Monday 18th January, I discussed my Value for Money report with the University’s Financial Bursar. The report was well received. He is keen to work with us on improving the transparency of where fees are spent, getting students involved in the University’s business planning and taking into account where students feel their money should be going. There will soon be an infographic showing where tuition fees are usually spent and following that a similar one outlining spending for a ‘Covid’ year. This is a big win in terms of transparency and listening to student voice on a particularly important issue that students are facing nationally.

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