Sabb Blog #8 – VP Student Support
Throughout the academic year, your GUSRC sabbatical officers will provide an update on the work they’ve been carrying out to make your experience at the University of Glasgow even better. Our eigth blog comes from your VP Student Support Lauren McDougall
Hi everyone, I hope you’ve all been enjoying the lovely weather and using it as the perfect excuse to get some much needed time away from your books! It’s been a busy few months in the world of student support so I thought it would be good to update you on just some of the things I’ve been up to.
As always if you want to know more then please get in touch, I’m always happy to hear from you! You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @GUSRC_VPSS on Twitter.
We’ve been working hard, along with the other student bodies on campus, to bring you a range of events and goodies to help get you through the exam period. We’ve had dogs on campus, David Attenborough screenings, creative painting sessions, yoga and much more! There’s still a week of activity left so make sure to like our cross-campus Facebook page Look After Yourself at Glasgow University for details of the remaining events and our top tips on looking after yourself throughout this busy time <3
You’ll also be pleased to know that there’s still time to grab yourself a free de-stress goody bag from the library at midday on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until the 18th of May. They’re packed full of things to help you stay healthy and happy during exams (as well as a wee sugar boost in the form of some tasty love heart sweeties).
One final, more serious, comment on exams from me – if you find that things haven’t gone quite right for you during your exams, perhaps something unexpected has happened like you’ve been unwell and you’ve missed an exam or you’ve had a bereavement, please don’t feel like you’re alone. Our highly experienced Advice Centre can help support you through theGood Cause or appeals processes.
Mind Your Mate
We have recently been successful in receiving a grant of nearly £22,000 from the National Lottery to expand our suicide prevention training initiative. We’re very excited about this as it means we can roll the workshop out to even more students, something you’ve been asking us for since we had our first sell-out open sessions earlier in the semester – open sessions will be running next academic year so keep an eye out for details of those We’ve heard from students that they feel more equipped to support themselves and others who might be in crisis after attending one of the workshops. Early intervention support is so important, and it’s something students have been asking us for, so we’re really pleased that we’ll be able to reach even more students next year with this additional funding.
This money also means that we will be training more students as facilitators to deliver the workshops. The training takes place over a week and is delivered by the mental health charity, PIPS, who also created and developed the workshop content. This is a fantastic opportunity for students who want to take a more active role in working to raise awareness about mental health and in preventing suicide. The training is expected to take place in mid-August and we’ll be starting recruitment soon. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in then please watch this space and make sure you check your student email over the next few weeks.
Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence
Let’s Talk is our other peer-led training initiative and has been developed in partnership with Rape Crisis Scotland. I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to secure funding from the University to enable another group of students to be trained up as facilitators for next year who would attend a week long course enabling them to deliver the workshop.. If you’d like to become a Let’s Talk trainer we’ll be opening up recruitment at the start of the summer and the week of training is expected to take place at the very end of August. It’s a great opportunity to be part of the ongoing work to raise awareness of gender-based violence and the support available to survivors so keep on the lookout in your student emails for more information next month. . We’ve had great feedback on the workshops so far, and the trainers have really valued the skills they’ve gained..
Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence is one part of the wider work I’ve been involved in around gender-based violence at UofG. As well as the workshops I have been working on how we increase reporting rates as we know that the numbers of reports do not reflect the number of incidences. I am continuing to push for an online reporting system that will make it easier for students to report any incidences of violence and harassment. I’ve been working with the Equality and Diversity manager at the University, and the IT team and we hope to have this in place for the start of the next academic year. It’s incredibly important that we remove the barriers that exist for survivors to report, especially when it’s already a difficult thing to face. Students can currently access information on reporting to the University via the following support pages and there are links to services that exist to support anyone who has been sexually assaulted or harassed. https://www.glasgowstudent.net/advice/health-and-safety/sexual-violence/
The Pride Glasgow parade takes place on July the 14th and I’ve been working on organising a University-wide walking group to allow students, staff and alumni to walk together in celebration of our wonderful and diverse student population here at the University of Glasgow. Although we don’t support the marketisation of Pride, and as such will not be attending the ticketed “festival”, the SRC believe it’s important to attend the parade and to give students the opportunity to march together with staff and to feel supported by the University community. We’ve made a lot of great progress on LGBT+ issues in the last few years at the SRC including successfully pushing for more gender neutral toilets on campus and the creation of gender neutral title options on MyCampus, taking part in local and national campaigns and organising flag raisings and events for LGBT History Month and Transgender Day of Remembrance so taking part in the Pride march is of the utmost importance to us. We’ll be posting exact details on our social media closer to the time when the parade route has been announced– see you there hopefully!
That’s all from me this time. If you’re graduating this year then I wish you all the best for the future, and if you’re coming back next year I look forward to updating you on more news of our work as your next SRC President.