It’s been a very busy month in the Association HQ- with the student leadership team now more or less settled into their roles the training and introductions sessions have wrapped up and we are off to deliver our strategy and make the student voice heard in the OU.
September saw a lot of OU meetings and committees to give us opportunities to speak on behalf of students. We continue to fight for students waiting for alternative formats, supporting students with credit transfers, worked with the university on delays with registrations and we are carrying on talks about students affected by the module result standardization. We are also working, in partnership with the OU to run a successful Student Voice week for the student body.
Some of our business as usual meetings with the OU have been around impacts of Brexit on European students, supporting students with caretaking responsibilities, looking at the OU governance to make the best use of our voice, working with the OU on access and participation and launching our joint Student Charter just to mention a few. Our faculties have involved student reps in senior staff recruitment, judging the WELS teaching awards, and supporting the Association in being more visible to students amongst many other initiatives. In Wales, work is ongoing to produce our part-time manifesto for the upcoming elections with the support of the Wales student panel.
Within the Association there has been lots of work going on to make a positive difference for students including our currently ongoing Freshers event. We have already had nations and faculty chats, drop-ins and quizzes with events carrying on until the 8th of October. Our OUSET trustees have also been working hard to provide grants for students experiencing hardships to enable them to continue their studies. We have trained some new student reps to sit on governance committees and recruited peer supporters and event hosts to enable offering more of our services to students.
Vice President Engagement
(posted on behalf of the Central Executive Committee)
Lorena - Area Rep for Wales
The “Study Tips” session for Freshers that I co-hosted was a huge success - over 150 students attended, and we received fantastic feedback about how useful the session was. The quiz and informal chat for Welsh students was another Freshers highlight - everyone had a lot of fun and students fed back that they would love to see more meetups like this one in the future.
Anca - Vice President Community
Freshers Fortnight is in full swing with a jam-packed calendar of events! The OU student community really comes together during freshers, helping students get off to a good start and it’s lovely to see so many positive and enthusiastic comments coming in. A personal highlight was the interactive “Make the most of your OU Tutor” session which attracted a high number of attendees.
Gareth - Faculty Rep for Business and Law
I took part in the appointment for the new Head of Business School - it was great that my participation was both welcomed and valued by the OU, and to have a voice in the decision-making process. I also made a well-received presentation to Law School Academics and W101 tutors on issues which have affected students – further similar events are being planned. Co-hosting the Diversity and Inclusivity event, looking at the impact of COVID on the barrister profession, was a particular highlight.
Fanni - Vice President Engagement
Being the joint lead for Student Voice week has taken up a lot of time recently- but having an engaging week of encouraging student partnership and enabling student voices to be heard across the OU is worth all the time! The Freshers chats, particularly the one for England students has also given me the inspiration to develop new initiatives and giving more tools to enable students to engage with us.
Verity - Faculty Rep for Wellbeing, Education and Language studies
Judging the teaching awards was a massive highlight for me and my first freshers drop in went brilliantly which I am really proud of.
Matt - Vice President Administration
I have particularly enjoyed OUSET casework as approving a grant can make such a difference to a student’s life if they have financial issues. It has been good to have regular catch up meetings with the Deputy Chief Executive and her team as I now feel I can contribute to the smooth running of the Association processes and obligations.
Sarah - President
Class of 2020 was my personal highlight – being part of the virtual graduation in August led to many students stories being highlighted during the ‘Class of 2020’ week and being part of a video to say how amazing my fellow graduates were was the icing on the cake!
Ray - Area Rep for Continental Europe
My highlights are some of our Freshers sessions - the “Study Tips” presentation, the meet up for international students that I co-hosted and the Student Hub Live event to share details of all of the fantastic services and activities that the Association has on offer for students!
Cin - Vice President Education
The Central Committee Representative training weekend was my highlight this month, having a new team to guide through and embed in our processes is fab. We had a mind-blowing 20 new appointees, a fantastic rate of new representation. The monthly drop-in for academic reps was a resounding success too. I am so proud to be involved with this great group of people.
Alison - Vice President Support
I have worked to ensure that there is accurate information on the Help Centre about the waiving of the £25000 household income for those needing to pay for their printing costs for alternative formats, and to get information to disabled students about print delays. One highlight was having the Supporters in a Facebook live session during Freshers, along with welcoming new Supporters to the Peer Support Service.