officer blog

blog

sophie atherton

campaigns & democracy
s.atherton@uea.ac.uk

what do I want to achieve this year?

For those of you that might not know, my job as a full time Campaigns and Democracy officer at your Student’s Union means that I represent students in a variety of areas. I make sure that democratic structures are being upheld at uea(su), look after the commercial services such as bar|su and UNIO, work with UEA on sustainability, and generally campaign to improve your student experience.  

We are already four weeks into the first semester, so I thought this would be a great time to let you all know what two of my top priorities for this academic year are.  

Your Money Counts 

There are several costs on campus that students have to pay, two of which are rent for on-campus accommodation, and laundry costs. As rent continues to rise, I firstly want to make it a priority to investigate rent prices and to explore the possibility of a rent price freeze. Alongside this, I want to use this as a platform to talk about other accommodation-related issues. When considering student feedback, lots of you have commented on the fact that in most on-campus accommodation, the only communal spaces are your flat kitchens, and that you would love to see some better communal spaces for students. I am dedicated to improving the student experience, and so I am going to make it a priority to investigate the improvement of social and communal spaces for students in on-campus accommodation and rent prices.    

Another unavoidable cost for most students on-campus is the cost of doing laundry. Over a period of a year, the average student spends £152 on laundry facilities, that includes 1 wash and 1 dry a week. Health Science students often spend £102 more than this due to having to keep their uniforms clean. This is as cost that so many students wish could be less, which is why it is going to be one of my top priorities to look into the option of getting these prices reduced for you.   

 

Transparency within the union 

Student feedback tells me that a lot of you feel like you are not involved enough in the decisions that your Student Union make. I want to make you aware of what we do here at uea(su) and enable you to see these decisions through from the very beginning to the very end.  

Part of this will be making you more aware of what your sub-committees and liberation groups do.  Our current sub-committees include: 

  • The Education Committee 

  • The Ethical and Environmental sub-committee 

  • The Liberation, Equality and Diversity Committee 

  • The Postgraduate Committee 

  • Welfare Subcommittee  

Liberation groups and assemblies include: 

  • The BAME Liberation Society is formed of a Committee of Representatives and Executive Committee. 

  • The Committee of Representatives is made up of representatives from each BME cultural society. 

  • International Assembly 

  • LGBT Plus Association 

  • Mature Students' Assembly 

  • Disabled Students' Liberation Society 

  • Non-binary and Women's Network 

  • Postgraduate Assembly 

I want to make sure that UEA students know what your committees and liberation groups do, and how they can enable you to get involved with the decision-making process at uea(su). To start finding out a little bit more about what each of these groups do and how to get involved, click here, and keep your eyes peeled for more to come on this.   

This diagram shows our overall governance structure: 

 

 

For now, one of the best ways to learn more about the way decisions are made at uea(su) is to come to Union Council. Union Council is an essential part of the decision-making process here at uea(su) and it is free for ANY student to attend. The first meeting is October 18th in lecture theatre 2, 7pm. Just email me at s.atherton@uea.ac.uk if you’d like to come, see you there! 

I really believe that investigating costs on campus and transparency within the Union could lead to a better overall student experience, so keep your eyes peeled for more to come on this!  

Remember, if there is something that you are particularly passionate about, perhaps there’s something you’d love to see your Student Union Campaigning for, or against, and want to talk to me about it then please do email me or come into Union House for a chat. You could Lead Change, so get involved now! 

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