This year the OU and OU Students Association, working in partnership, wanted a Student Voice Week that was different to all other years. We wanted to ensure that student feedback could be given through short, focused sessions on topics that mattered most to the students.
The Student Voice Team enlisted the help of some Student Ambassadors. Two members of the Ambassador group have shared their experiences of designing a fresh week of activities and why you should take part this year!
What is a Student Voice Week Ambassador? And how have they shaped the activities for Student Voice Week 2022?
“As a newcomer to the OU life, I had thoroughly enjoyed the first course I took, and was looking to give something back. So when I saw a request for people to volunteer to become a Student Voice Week Ambassador it piqued my interest, and I applied straight away. The OU was looking for someone who wanted to contribute ideas, use creativity to come up with new ways of engaging with students, and was happy to share their views. It sounded right up my street! Being an ambassador has been a hugely rewarding experience. It’s not often you get the chance to be involved with such a large event. As students ourselves we have a unique viewpoint on what our fellow students want to see, be consulted on, and improved on within the OU experience.
As Student Voice Ambassadors, we had online meetings with OU staff, and we’ve been involved with giving ideas and opinions on a range of topics for Student Voice Week (SVW22). Taking place across 7-13 November, the aim is to allow you, the students, to engage with the wider OU community on a range of topics. All against the backdrop of ensuring that the OU is allowing students to be empowered, and represented, across the whole OU platform.
In our meetings, we discussed ideas such as the events we would have during the week, and how these events could be engaged with. Would events be online only, in-person or a mix of both? The sessions that would be held during the week needed to offer something for everyone. We wanted all bases covered, from academic meet-ups to sustainability, community involvement, career discussions, and the learning experience as a whole. The week needed to be interesting and accessible, and we wanted well-being to underpin whatever we did, so this was vital in the decision-making. Another key factor was how we involved the senior OU staff during the week. They really appreciate meeting students, and hearing and responding to student issues, but traditionally there has been a low take-up on interacting with them. We wanted this year to be different, and hopefully the ideas we’ve had, and the activities we’ve put in place, will help with this.”
“The Student Voice Week Ambassador role, for me, opened up creative and problem-solving opportunities. The overall experience has been delightful. It has been an eye-opener to the organisational skills the OU utilises in order to plan, prepare and execute events such as Student Voice Week.
I experienced opportunities to share my ideas, potential incentives for attending students, as well as my concerns. There have been connections made between different students, studying different degrees. Students have worked collectively with the OU to ensure Student Voice Week captures the essence and needs of their students.”
Why our Student Voice Week Ambassadors think you should attend Student Voice Week
“We really do want people to engage, and we want to hear your views and ideas. We hope you’ll find that there is something for everyone, and you never know, there might even be some gifts on offer for contributions. We’d like as many students as possible to interact with the OU during the week, so look out for #OUStudentVoice and use this whenever you share, discuss or comment on the event.”
“Students can look forward to sharing their thoughts on a number of topics, helping to build a better OU; quiz night, building communities and networking with other students; hearing from senior staff, careers guidance, study guidance; learning more about the OU and sustainability, and to take care of your well-being whilst studying.
It is a packed week! I will personally need to arrange my time wisely in order to attend my top picks and you may need to do the same, depending on your circumstances. I set students a challenge; ‘My 3 top picks’ – review the timetable, choose what matters to you most, and commit to three sessions during Student Voice Week. If you can do more, great! Remember: this week gives you the opportunity to help build a better OU, connect with students and tutors, learn, grow and above all, have some fun!”
If you want to know more please check out the information on the Student Voice Website OU Community – Student Voice Week 2022 (open.ac.uk) or visit the timetable directly to book yourself into some sessions and participate to win prizes!