Vice President – Student Support

Spring Elections 2020

Blair Anderson

I’m Blair Anderson, my pronouns are he/him and I’m an undergraduate law student running for Vice President Support Student. As an estranged student, I know what it’s like to be let down by the University’s existing student support services. I know first-hand that the support offered to students can be better. I believe that I am the person to achieve that for all students with my track record of achieving change, from working with senior management to run the climate strategy consultation process as part of my job with GUEST, or leading a campaign to improve the support offered to estranged students and helping to secure a Scottish Government review into the issue.

  • Weekly surgeries for students to raise issues with the SRC. We should effectively represent the views of students to the University, and I would work to actively engage with all students on issues including divestment from fossil fuels and arms, a Green New Deal for the University and support for striking staff.
  • Continue to fight for estranged students by working with the Widening Participation team to raise awareness of the support that exists and working with the Scottish Government on their review
  • Improve the experience of students who take time out of studies – the University and SRC should offer continuing access to facilities and support during time out, as well as pastoral care
  • Work with University senior management and the Sustainability Working Group to ensure the University’s climate strategy is as ambitious as the climate crisis requires us to be, accurately reflecting the views of students expressed in the consultation process.
  • Push senior management for increased funds for Counselling and Psychological Services.
  • Get SRC involved in local and national campaigns affecting education and young people – such as continuing the work of Glasgow Student Forum on free public transport, and championing UofG during COP26 in November.
  • Support postgraduate students by ensuring the SRC adequately represents postgraduates and fights for fairer funding.
  • Support international students, particularly after Brexit, with the transition from study into work and fight for Glasgow’s place in Europe.
  • Support disabled students by ensuring our views are represented across the university, particularly with the ongoing campus expansion and renovation, make the university accessible for all.
  • Fight for lecture recordings as standard across the university, by reaching out to the academic staff, therefore making university more accessible for students with disabilities and caring responsibilities.
  • Continue to push all aspects of UofG to proactively ensure the safety of students on campus. There should be a zero-tolerance misconduct policy for sexual violence, bigotry and hate speech. I would work with all student bodies and the University to create a transparent procedure for misconduct. I would work with University Estates and Glasgow City Council to ensure all parts of campus are safe, including improving lighting on Kelvin Way and around the South Gate.

Ella McCabe

Hello! I’m Ella, a 4th year History and Comparative Literature student. I’m currently the Treasurer of the Tennis club and on the GUU board of Management, where I have worked on the Welfare Committee across the year.

Through these experiences I’ve been exposed to the mental health crisis on campus, seeing first-hand what students are struggling with, particularly through providing a duty of care when working on HIVE nights. This experience gives me a unique insight into what can practically be improved and worked upon in the coming year. It has equally given me exposure to the format and discussions of cross-campus welfare forums.

I have also spent the last year as President of Northern Services, an association of student unions from Scotland and Northern Ireland, which GUU and QMU are both members of. Within this role, I have formalised communication channels between Unions, working to allow further collaboration on policies and welfare concerns. I have been the voice of the student experience within this board, which I think is a transferable skill to this particular role. The collaborative effort I experienced across Unions on this board has given me insight to the collaborative capabilities within our own student bodies. This experience, alongside what I have gained in the GUU, would therefore serve me well in promoting cross campus relations internally, ensuring we can achieve the most from all initiatives.

If elected, my ideas include:

  • Organizing an ‘Alcohol and drug awareness’ campaign, similar to one that Heriot-Watt University offers. While drinking is such a massive part of student culture, I feel that the consequences of overconsumption are not widely enough discussed. This would address issues such as how these substances can exacerbate mental health issues and stress, alongside the social and physical consequences they can have.
  • Building on this campaign by promoting more non-drinking events campus wide, including those of other clubs and societies, which would also favour the inclusion of international and home students. Promoting these more could be a way to help tackle isolationism within these groups.
  • Investigating expanding Sexual Violence and mental health training so that it is compulsory for one committee member of each club and society, whether this is a designated welfare convenor or another member.
  • Coming up with new, innovative ideas for the ‘look after yourself’ campaign, particularly around exam time. Having worked on the GUU front of this campus wide effort, I saw the surprising success of creative events such as ‘Bob Ross painting’. Continuously engaging with new ideas to increase popularity could also help deliver increasing student engagement with SRC services as a whole.
  • Carrying on the work that’s been done to deliver support to those involved in sexual assault. This year this has been particularly topical on campus, so I would aim to increase awareness of SRC services such as drop in sessions with a qualified councillor.

I feel strongly about contributing to new student welfare initiatives, so hopefully you consider giving me your vote!

Mary Michael

Hello all, I am Mary Michael currently studying IT Cyber Security at the postgraduate level in the school of Computing Science, an international student from Nigeria, in Africa. Being a student at the University of Glasgow has been one of the most exciting experiences in my life and I just want to contribute to ensuring that every student is able to say the same for their student experience here at UofG.

I have enjoyed being the current class rep of my course, and being able to serve my immediate area of influence has been a rewarding experience for me. Prior to coming to UofG, I have served in my College as the Female Vice President of my college association, I was a Squadron provost in my high school as well and all these previous roles have given me the avenue to be able to represent the student body and ensure their voices and opinions are being heard where it matters.

We recently had the Class Rep conference and it was exciting to learn about the Digital / Smart Campus Transformation progress. It is good to know the school actively seeks the input of students in these projects and to see the feedback implemented in these projects. The idea of having a smart campus is great, however, it should not downplay the need for the student to relate actively with a fellow human.

I will like to contribute positive change to the lives of students during their studies. I will work with the different welfare officers to give all students a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ to answer and attend to their inquiries. I intend to make it easier for new students to be able to mix, interact and network within their first few weeks on campus and in the process build lasting relationships. A big priority is to work with the team to get Gym membership cut down to an affordable fee for all students and the introduction of a quarterly team-building exercise, that all students can partake of at minimal or no cost. Also I found it quick to settle down when I resumed on campus because I sorted out housing needs long before I resumed, however in my interaction with students four-five weeks into the semester, people were still struggling with housing requirements. This is an area I will also like to work with the team to see how we can improve the student experience in subsequent years.

Lastly, I observed in the current year that well into the middle of the semester, there is a significant drop in class attendance at regular lectures largely due to student ill-health caused by difficult adaptability to the weather condition. Hence, I intend to develop campaigns that will support students to kit themselves properly for the Glasgow weather so they can achieve optimal class attendance.

I will ensure to use my role to represent the student body accurately and honestly, and implement an open-door policy for all and sundry if elected.

Rachel Symon

Hi! I’m Rachel and I’m a final year Spanish/Classics student – and I want to represent YOU as the next SRC VP Student Support!

The SRC and I go way back! During my time here, I’ve been involved with lots of different sides to the SRC. I’ve been a Freshers’ Helper twice, including as a deputy team leader this year; I served on the Raising and Giving Committee during the 2018/19 academic year; I have been a class representative for Spanish (also during 2018/19); and I’ve been among the first students to participate in the SRC Ambassadors’ program. This year, I’ve also served on Council as your Disability Equality Officer. During this time, I’ve overseen the expansion of the room finder app to include accessible toilets and I’ve worked with other student bodies to improve food labelling and accessibility of on-campus food for those with dietary requirements. Throughout all of this, I’ve maintained a full-time job, which I feel lends a number of transferrable skills that would translate well to being a well-organised, effective sabbatical officer.

As VPSS I would focus on the following areas:

  • Safety and security

Lobby the University for greater funding for CAPS and the Disability Service.

Continue to promote the SRC Advice Centre as an excellent and under-utilised resource for students.

In light of recent events on campus, lobby for better lighting and visibility on and around campus, including on the ever-tricky Kelvin Way.

  • Inclusivity and equality

Try to widen participation amongst so-called ‘non-traditional’ student groups – these include students who are care-experienced, estranged, parents, mature students or student carers.

Try to expand the Home Student Network to include meets ups to combat social isolation.

Work with the VPSA to bring in mandatory equalities training for all SRC affiliated clubs and societies. This will work to ensure that inclusivity and diversity are priorities for all SRC and affiliated groups.

  • Accessibility and support

Create the ultimate disability guide as well as ensuring the publication of the Coming Out Guide for LGBTQ+ people. Both of these guides, in easily digestible formats, will help signpost student to services they may need, whilst also insuring the remain aware of their rights.

Help support the expansion of the peer support system to ensure that no student is left behind.

Support the continuation of the gender-based violence programs and ensure that the planned Rape Crisis drop ins get off the ground.

Ensure that a sufficient portion of campus redevelopment translates to accessibility, family-friendly study space and reflective space.

This election season, vote for someone with the experience and the follow through to get things done. Vote for someone who has poured her heart into the SRC this year and will continue to do so for as long as you’ll let her. Vote #RachelSForVPSS