That’s it for sports!
A push for these pledges will be happening
Steven – the welfare officers introduced were a great idea, some clubs were great at publicising that, even though the Union hasn’t been able to support that fully yet. We do want to make sure that the officers are fulfilling their pledges as welfare officer, but sadly other projects have taken priority currently
Audience member – Raises the issue of support within sports clubs, says he hasn’t heard much about the introduction of the welfare officer, and says that some support systems and events are too late in the year. Is there anything being planned to help this?
Steven – it has been hard to target students at WSA in the past and that is hard to change. Any WSA students that do want sports clubs up there should talk to me or the Union
Sam – What could be done to encourage sports teams to travel inbetween WSA and Southampton etc?
Steven – keen on looking at free sports, as we don’t offer anything for free although there are varying costs. There are no free courts or pitches etc. and I believe that is an issue and so do Sport and Wellbeing. There is some funding put aside to look at perhaps providing free facilities
Membership has dropped enough to perhaps initiate a change in thinking, although it is slightly less than last year
Steven – Really recommend people who are struggling to go straight to the Union, there are bursaries for top-level athletes. There is also the hardship fund, so could look into the criteria for that. Also talk to the enabling services and advice centre.
Recmmends students who are struggling to go to the union – they have bursaries for top level athletes, hardhship fund, enabling services, advice centre.
Audience member – There are a fair amount of people who can’t afford the cost of playing sports at uni, could there be any way we could subsidise more or is there any more funding/how can it be found?
Steven – This is one of my manifesto points. The year-long one-off payment is a lot to ask of a student, and it can put people off. I would like a minimum of one semester at least available for students.
He is unable to say any more about the possible developments in this, but he hopes to be making positive changes very soon
Audience member – no option for a semester-long gym membership, could this be introduced or is it now an option?
Steven – i like the idea of getting more into the pass, perhaps adding casual bookings into the options? or perhaps a super off-peak time, with extra time restrictions that frequent fitness doesn’t have?
Audience member – any ideas on how you would make the sports pass better valuable or are you going to try and bring it down?
Steven – I believe there needs to be more value in the sports pass, £110 is perhaps too much
If things are changing, there’s going to be backlash – current method for intramural is the best method going forward.
The current way we pay for intramural likely is the best way we can do it
Steven – intramural is set up as less intense/more casual, in terms of actual funding you’re looking at equipment etc. mainly
Sam – how does intramural fit into all of this and all of these aims/strategy?
How should we be spending/spreading our money?
Steven – currently we are very inclusive, 93 sports in the sports zone
We have been talking about moving towards a more modern approach to sports – a ‘unified department that involves both the Union and Sports and Wellbeing’ is the aim
Steven – some context, at the moment all the facilities are run by sports and wellbeing, not me, although I do work with them
The debate about sports is about to start!
Audience member – what is the cladding on the halls? Arun – we did recently check, it’s non-flammable and of the highest quality
Arun – it’s been very successful overall and we have a lot of resources and experience now to look at for future years
Arun – it’s gone really well, from my experience of working with the committee it’s being really good, and even though the committee are undergrads they’ve been able to work really well with the postgrads and work with their demands
Evie – how has the first year of Gateway being postgrad halls gone?
Arun – a lot of the fresher events that we ran are open to everyone, and in regards to students from second and third years in halls its about working with the halls committees to work out what different students want, e.g. working out how events work with third year dissertations
Evie: What can be done to include students, who aren’t first years, in halls?
Arun: Private – rented committee and Halls committees working together closely to encourage collusion
Audience member: How can Private – rented students be more well integrated?
Arun: This is often just used as a precautionary sign, there is not necessarily a substantial risk, but this has been noted and is being looked at
Question from Monte Halls resident: Problem with Asbestos I’m accommodation – Is issue being resolved?
As a Union we offer a lot of different things and we are trying to connect these
One of these events was the ‘chill out’ evening, where it was very relaxed
Arun – we tried to have 50/50 split between events so we had a wider range and it could target lots more different groups. It is hard to break the mentality that freshers week is alcohol-fuelled and we are trying to break that stereotype
Audience member – how can we engage first year students more if they don’t want to take part in typical alcohol-based events?
Arun – are there any ideas about how we could reach out to international students in halls and engage them more in events and communities? this should be something we could think about more
Audience member: Core offer for halls is being offered (eg film nights, freshers crawls), being replicated in EP.
Sam: More involvement between Winchester and Southampton students trying to be achieved. How is this being achieved events-wise? E.g. Winchester students BBQ not allowed
Arun : These WSA students should get more involved with EP committee
Sam: Private rented issues in Winchester. Conflict about whether they should go to EP committee or Private rented committee for advice/accommodation
Sam, second question – there is a rumour about more halls at Winchester, is this true? Arun says he doesn’t know for sure, as that doesn’t come under his role and is university-led
Sam : EP gets stereotyped as an international halls – need to make it clear that lots of different people live in them
Arun – we do have comprehensive lists of who’s who, and we can pass that on to other student groups who are interested in reaching out to students in halls
Charlie – we should make it clearer who can be connected to help with creating events for halls
Arun : That’s something we like to work on – an example could be the Chinese society coming to halls to host an event
Charlie : How can other societies use halls spaces to make them more fun?
One example is the pumpkin carving that took place at WSA – perhaps we could implement other things like this in other halls to enhance the community feel?
Arun – The Halls committee structure is in place to provide officers to deal with the community aspect of halls. However if there is an issue with a lack of community then we can definitely utilise what we already have to improve this
Audience member – Mayflower can feel very cut off sometimes, how could we improve this?
How can we represent students better in halls?
A Hello from Arun VP Student Communities – Ex-President of Liberty Point and Quays
The next debate from External Engagement: How should the Union represent and support students in Halls?
The next discussion about Halls will be starting in a few minutes!
Wrapping up there with a reminder to vote in today’s AGM.
The turnout just shows the overwhelming support, Emily suggests a Facebook page or online platform for suggestions and ideas
Discussing the lack of clarity around recycling systems in the city – changes from halls to private rented, etc. Sam says it will be worked on and wants to roll out a clear bin system to all sites.
Posters detailing the effects of plastic, and displaying reasons why plastic straws are being *banned* and the decisions the union are making in an effort to be more environmentally friendly etc can educate people
Emily is an advocate for making being eco friendly “trendy” to encourage people to want to be sustainable
Sam suggests that maybe our local MP can be contacted to improve our local recycling rules, but it is a huge issue. It has taken long enough to try and implement use of non plastic straws!
The difference in what can and can’t be recycled in Southampton compared to other parts of the UK is drastic. Sam says in her home town of Cornwall most plastic can be recycled whereas in Portswood very little can actually be recycled
Most take away coffee cups are not recyclable in any way, two materials bound together makes them completely unrecyclable
Audience: More clarification of whether items can be recycled
Emily recommends menstruation cups instead of disposable sanitary items, for those who have periods. They are a slightly pricier option but its a one time purchase
Audience: range of confectionary in Union Shop encourages too much plastic
The more we use sustainable products, the more changes we will find
Some alternatives are too expensive, but there are some options that are reasonable and only a few pence more expensive. Sustainable options last a lot longer too
Sam emphasizes everyday changes ie. bamboo toothbrushes can make a big impact
3 billion cups used in UK in one year and less than 1% are recyclable. Thats 40 per person in the UK. So one person can make some difference.
Emily: consider what plastics are used the most so we can prioritise issues
Audience notes the waste from clingfilm packaging etc. and whether this can be changed
If anyone has any ideas into alternatives to plastic food packaging, please get in touch with the union and sustainability zone
Edgware is a plant based compostable material, they want to look into implementing this but there are problems with keeping food fresh etc
Audience questions plastic packaging on sandwhiches
Emily doesn’t want a ‘trial and error’ system, wants to get it right first time
The union say they will look into the best option. People think it can be limited to metal, paper and plastic but there are many other options.
Emily determines an aim for complete paper straws rather than wax reinforcers – ‘a wide variety of options’ for sustainable material
Sam emphasizes that paper is an option and metal isn’t that heavy, and the audience member responds that paper straws can disintegrate and metal ones aren’t feasible for her
Audience member quotes a disabled friend who finds it difficult to use metal straws but doesn’t want to use plastic
In 2008, Leeds uni banned plastic bottles, cost them £30,000 but they’re still going. There must be a way to be sustainable as a uni
Audience notes the NUS ‘last straw’ campaign, and Sam argues that whilst we aren’t a part of it we should champion it
Sam: It’s more than ‘just a plastic straw’ – half of plastic has been made in the last 13 years
half of the worlds plastic was made in the last 13 years
Emily: Let’s not look up to other unis, we want to be looked up to
Emily urges us to note how plastic is everywhere ie. food packaging
Emily: 2016 cleanup: 358 plastic items per km squared, 222% increase from last year
Audience questions whether metal cutlery would be on offer or we would have to provide our own
Sam notes there is a youmakechange on banning plastic cutlery that can be upvoted
Once you get into the habit of bringing your metal straw to the club, or taking cutlery in your bag its so easy and lifechanging for you and the environment
Emily has a metal keychain of reusable cutlery, she found it difficult to get used to at first and used it every two weeks… now she uses it every day
Audience member asks why plastic culterly is neccessary when there is metal on offer too
Emily adds that this is a process of ‘baby steps’
Pret have announced plans to reduce the price of coffee to 49p if you bring a reusable mug, if the outlet on campus took this on board that would be great
Sam claims that the first step is to set an example for these places
Audience member asks whether the straw ban can be stretched to retail outlets on campus
Sam says this is a work in progress with uni – will provide regular updates
Audience questions the disposability of paper straws
Audience member emphasises the reason for the straw ban should be made known, rather than making it seem like an authoritative decision to intentionally put people at a disadvantage.
Audience member adds that raising awareness of this approach with signs will be beneficial to the movement
Emily adds that a free option will stop those needing straws being ‘priced out’
Some people need straws out of disability or preference, it would be unfair to charge for paper straws
Audience member questions whether disposable bars will be charged – Sam says this won’t happen
The paper straws would be free as they are disposable, metal straws would be available for purchase but very very cheaply. Other universities have advertised them for £1
Audience member and Sam discuss how the masses of given straws aren’t neccessary
Audience member questions how this will impact costs
Having the straws behind the bar rather than on the bar, will take away the impulse to just take one out of habit
The more students from different societies and committees join together in supporting this decision, the louder the message will be to the university itself.
Emily – Uni is aware of student opinions, and that drives this environmental change
Sam describes this as a ‘brave step’ that will contribute to solving the problem
Audience questions one cafe becoming waste-free
10p discount off hot drinks when you bring a reusable mug
Sam brings up Sheffield Uni’s precedent with their metal-only straws and sustainability ideas
Would be too much to just ban everything so although these small changes seem pointless, in the long run it will make a huge difference
Emily emphasizes one step at a time to stop a huge change/outrage, Sam wants us to be an advocate for making positive change
Environmental and Ethics officer asks what’s next after the straw issue, notes that Soton Uni is one of the worst environmentally
Sam emphasizes a staggered approach to this change
Emily introduces reusable cutlery as an alternative
Audience questions plastic cutlery
Sam – every animal tested in the ocean had ingested some level of plastic
750kg of waste collected from Chessel Bay clean up
Marine Conservation representative – in ten minutes of clean-up dozens of straw waste, hoping to ‘make a statement to industry’
Ideally banning plastic straws would be ideal – solution would be a stack of paper straws behind the bar (both bendy and straight) and metal straws to purchase
Audience -questions whether it is blanket ban and how it will impact disabled people
Sam – ‘Small changes make a big impact’
100 million straws used across UK – approximately 30,000kg of plastic straw waste
Emily and Sam from Sustainability committee introduce
Arun rounds up discussion and says ‘thanks so much for attending everyone’
Arun suggests it might be worth the union considering employing support staff who speak foreign languages to improve outreach to international students.
Evie says a good point is to be made about language exchange and promoting events for people with shared fluency in certain languages
Representing international students and there’s lot of flexibility for the International Officer based on what they set out as their goals in their manifesto – Arun
Audience member asks: ‘What does the International Student Officer do?’
Arun says that there is no expectation of in depth knowledge to run to be a student leader or sabbatical officer. He adds the processes need to be accessible and transparent.
Speaking of his own experience about being aware of the task of being VP Student Communities, Arun jokingly says: ‘I basically knew nothing before I got elected’.
Evie Reilly, VP Democracy and Creative Industries, adds that it’s a general task about making SUSU processes more accessible and comprehensible to all students
International student raises concern about more information needed about visa issues for students applying for Sabbatical roles for the next year.
Arun says that’s a ‘great shout!’
Arun: “We need to educate people so they know it’s not acceptable”
One audience member asks about the exhibition in the library encouraging people to write what makes a good neighbour. He says the board has been abused and that it is worth being aware of the risks involved in encouraging people to participate.
Arun says Language Exchange already exists, but ‘maybe it’s worth us talking to Erasmus Society… so they can push it with their students’ and making people generally more aware
Erasmus student: ‘Sometimes it’s really difficult to be in contact with British people’ and suggests it’d be a great idea to organise events based around modern language students
Audience member says international students are often more likely to respond to encouragement to attend events from academic staff as opposed to students
For more info about the Culture Festival in March, please click here.
Audience member – ‘Union should diversify its events, supporting things such as Black History month, Islamic celebrations etc to be more welcoming to other demographics’
One audience member praises events occurring to mark Black History Month and improving covering of international culture events.
Arun responds that ‘that’s a very nice segway to the Culture Festival that will be held in March next year’ and conveying his excitement for the event, adds that it’ll be ‘amazing’
Audience member who was President of two societies last year said one of the problems they had was not knowing how best to engage with international students
Student suggests more targeted contact with minority groups, promoting engagement through leadership with the Union
Arun raises issue of ‘nice white’ individuals dominating standing for elections and would like feedback about how to diversify representation on leadership roles, encouraging BME and the like to stand for positions
The Union will also work with societies and international student communities to create packs outlining major cultural difference
Arun says part of what they did for International move-in was that he created a presentation for incoming students, informing them more about UK culture and life, although adds there’s a balance to avoid being patronising
Suggestion of a monthly survey to international students asking for their feedback and how their university experience can be improved for them.
Another audience member (an international student) demurs and says she doesn’t think such an idea would work due to the culture in some countries of making a complaint not being appreciated
Arun says in response to the pen-pal suggestion that elements are already in place in relation to this idea of making international students feel more welcome before they’ve arrived even and adds that they’ve been further developed this year
Arun asking for suggestions for how to make international students more welcome – audience member suggests opening up a zone specifically concerned with international students and another suggests a pen-pal system before the uni year starts
Audience member suggests partnering up international and domestic students (within courses) to help break barriers
Audience member – ‘We could have more engaging cultural exchange events within Halls to help International students integrate’
Arun welcomes the feedback from the three audience members which have fed back about awkwardness of sharing halls with international students who are ‘shy about coming out of their shells’ as one audience member puts it
Audience member builds on the issue of international students in Halls and sometimes lack of interaction between international students and UK ones, suggesting more socials should be organised
Audience member and International Student says that when they lived in Halls, they found international students, especially Chinese exchange students, were often grouped together and this was because international students often requested to be with each other, which she found ‘uncomfortable’ because it limited interaction with non-international students
That concludes the topic of how to increase study space
Dedman: consultation and feedback is happening across the breadth of the university.
Audience: targeted consulations on these issues or waiting for students to approach?
Criticism of the self-scanning machines to check out books in Hartley Library and their temperamental nature/difficulty in scanning certain books. Dedman responds that he will raise that to the library staff
Audience member raises issue of inadequate IT equipment in group study space
Cowley: Computer Cubicle areas to book
Question about the availability of group study spaces and they’re being quickly booked up
Social Human and Mathematical Sciences students also have issues with having to walk between Highfield and Avenue for lectures despite being Highfield based, says their faculty officer.
President Noble: Says we are working on reducing the number of students having to travel between Avenue and Highfield Campuses and looking to improve use of room space
Audience member asks if there’s any way to prioritise humanities seminars over others in scheduling of the use of rooms at Avenue Campus
Discussing how they’re looking to improve study spaces outside of Hartley and Avenue Campuses, Dedman comments on the following:
Soton General Hospital – working on the MedSoc common room, making hot water more easily available and seeking funds to improve it
Winchester Cafe – microwaves fitted, helping improve an informal study space
NOCS and Boldrewood: differ in way they are approached in terms of study space because they’re research-based and less undergrad heavy compared to elsewhere, but it’s revealed Sabbs will be shortly visiting NOCS to discuss this, among other issues
Avenue space is going to be bookable to students very soon.
Arun: Open-access university payroll leads to students/sabbs having limited access
Avenue space is going to be bookable to students very soon.
Arun A- Avenue Cafe space will be bookable to student very soon
Not being able to access buildings due to certain cards – ‘We want to find out who can access which building when and ask the question why?’
One audience member says it would be good to have more spaces where people are allowed to converse and speak at a normal volume.
Feedback is for generally some kind of Bridge-like/coffee and study spaces place
Sam Dedman expresses interest in students’ opinion of how Bar 2 space could be more useful
Arun Aggarwal, VP Student Communities: ‘We’re definitely going to have a say’ on topic of more space for post-grad students at Avenue and floats the idea of post-grad sharing Masters space as a possibility, but want to receive feedback on this idea
Sam says that a fourth building is in the pipeline as part of the University’s long term planning.
Query of a fourth building at Avenue for postgrads
Audience member raises concern that Delphis library resource access system has not been working properly lately. Dedman responds that he wasn’t previously aware of that and will investigate the matter
Dedman: would be good to put more info up around campus when refurbishment is happening. Building 7 is one of the next to be redone.
All the common learning spaces are on a five year cycle that are put on a list to be refreshed.
Dedman: limitations of publishers and licensing with ebooks means that multiple versions are difficult.
Issue raised about e-books where they’re only available one reader at time on Ebrary
Question raised about the problem of Course Collections and limited availability of certain resources
Sam announces that opening hours for the library are being extended to 24 hours later in the semester next year to benefit medicine students who have later exams than most other courses.
Sam Dedman – ‘there isn’t much of a demand for a 24-hour library in the first few weeks of Semester 1, hence its early closure then but the decision is constantly being reviewed’
‘Why is the library not open 24/7 from the start of the semester?’ – Audience member
‘Is there any representation for students who use the ATS?’ – Sam Dedman thinks that this would be an excellent idea and agrees representation is very important.
Dedman: it makes sense to have locally focused resources where there is demand. This is something to look in to in collaboration with VP Welfare.
One audience member raises the issue of a lack of assistive technology provision on Avenue. Does this negatively impact humanities students?
Audience member – As a second year humanities student, I will likely need to use the archives for my dissertation, they are incredibly small and inaccessible sometimes. Is that going to change?’
Audience Member: The accessibility of archives
Lack of available spaces in Assistive Technology suite brought up. Issue to be tackled by VP Education
Sam Dedman – ‘I am definitely aiming for that and we have some plans in motion to make sure power sockets are on every seat in level two’
Dedman: Floor 2 is the next step for refurbishment
Sam says that the majority of spaces in the library now do have power but he is aware of issues, especially on level 2 of Hartley.
Audience member – The lack of power sockets in the library is an issue
Topic raised about the Bridge laptop ban controversy, which you can read more about here.
Joint Honours Officer Matthew Cowley takes the lead
Redbrick Coffee and Consultation event on study spaces next Tuesday
Dedman: The Education Zone this year has decided to focus on study spaces across the university campuses
Idea: Improvised study space in Bar 2
Sam Dedman opens the discussion.
Debate topic two – ‘How can the Union improve study spaces on campus?’
The University is planning to build across campus over the coming years and request student’s input and opinions to guide the plans for the spaces in which they will be studying in. This debate is led by the Union’s Education Zone and is part of a larger initiative by the Zone to involve students in the consultation process to create suitable study spaces across both the Union and the University.
That concludes the discussion of the topic of holding the Union to account
Reilly says that the Union ‘need to be clear that we listen to what students tell us and we act on it’ and emphasizes publicising what the Union does
Reily and Noble acknowledge the division and urge the importance of student feedback
Flora – ‘This is the biggest issue we know we have. We want to just say thank you for bringing this up and laying out ways we can address this’
Audience: Too many student groups are overlooked in Union initiatives
‘Knowing your limits as a Union and not a corporation’ an audience member emphasizes and says the plastic straw topic should have been sent out to relevant societies, e.g. the Marine Conservation Society
Plastic straws issue – this should have been directly sent out to all societies.
‘We can’t do this because WHY… students need an explanation.’ – Audience member
Audience member: ‘Students aren’t going to get involved and aren’t going to trust the Union until there is full transparency’
Message society presidents so they can share it within their societies. – Audience suggestion to improve full transparency.
Evie ‘These students in societies should know about the union, they are the union. There is that slight disconnect that I am trying to work on’
‘Yes you are elected by the students, but only by a small number of students. The Union and the students are not merging together’ – Audience member
Evie – ‘We don’t want to look like we are hiding from anything, it’s difficult to convey real meaning through an email. Come chat to us face to face to raise any issues’
Flora Noble – ‘We have a set of policies like any organisation of employment that we have to stick to so we don’t impeach of employment law’
Audience member: ‘Campuses are known for being one of the hubs for sexual assault… I would not want to attend the university anymore knowing that a student representative had attacked students’
Flora Noble – ‘I would be very uncomfortable working with a team if that was the case, because that is not an atmosphere we want to embody’
Evie Riley – ‘We don’t want to stop each other (sabbs) from being held accountable, we are friends but we are being paid to do a job’
Audience member raises concern about perception of Sabbs not representing students if they’re appearing to protect a Sabb who has behaved inapproopriately
‘We want to take the input out from beyond this building, make it easier for student’s to attend and how we can better engage student from beyond the union’
Noble says she’s ‘really keen to see more people’ at the Senate ‘asking more questions and trying to really push us to broaden out what we achieve’
President of SUSU, Flora Noble, details her experience of being on both the Senate and the Union Council previously and says that Senate was more ‘constructive’ in her experience
Flora ‘We are trying to do our best to give students as much information as possible (in reference to the Dan Varley incident)’
Audience member raises topic of Varley and his ban from the Union Bars and lack of info. President Flora Noble says the reason that has been the case is due to following HR confidentiality rules
Reilly: ‘We want students to come along and engage and ask tough questions’
Before senate, there was the union council. One of the main criticism’s they faced was that due to their size, they did not get much done.
Evie asks – ‘How best can we elect the people who hold the Union and sabbatical officers to account?’
‘There’s slight disparity in when senate elections happen’ – elections to Senate in the Autumn, while the Chair is elected in the Summer
Senators are elected in the Autumn elections.
First year students can run
The Chair is elected in the Summer elections.
No accountability for sabbatical officers who start their role in July
Not meeting the specific criteria of senate roles may leave students feeling unable to fill a particular role.
Reilly: ‘We want to hold the university to account as much as we hold ourselves to account’
You make change platform is a way to direct questions to specific zones or sabbs.
‘Zone meetings are not happening enough e.g Sustainability zone only meet twice a year’ – Audience member.
Reilly responds that ‘we need to look at’ when an answer from SUSU isn’t straightaway forthcoming on a topic and if there’s a way to be more responsive
Audience member – -‘In terms of transparency you cannot have student representatives who aren’t communicating with the students about issues that are very relevant to the students right now.’
Reilly expresses sympathy for audience point about the Senate not having met yet this academic year – ‘There is perhaps an argument that this infrequency doesn’t follow in line with the big decisions that happen throughout the year’
‘The University has decided to restructure and there is only so much response we can bring to that from the students when the senate only meets three times a year – perhaps there is an argument that this frequency does not fall inline with the big events of the year’ – Evie Riley
Who is currently sorting out the transparency issues if the senate has not even met yet and will not until December?
Audience member says of the Senate: ‘Sometimes it seems a little bit unfair and secretive when it’s a body that represents us and we don’t really know what’s going on’
Union Senate – ‘One of the things we want to think about is membership of it’ – certain rules about who can stand for Senate exist currently
Senate is open to all students to attend, the question is whether more students should sit on the senate.
‘What would you like to see from a body who holds your Union to account?’
Senate is the main place that the union makes policy, holds sabbatical officers to account and has representatives for all zones.
Evie Reilly, VP Democracy and Creative Industries opens the topic
The Union’s Making Change Summit is about to begin! First topic to cover – ‘How can we hold the Union to account?’
The Union Senate is an elected group of students who review the actions of the Union and its sabbatical team. The Union Senate are only a year old and therefore would like student’s input on how they can improve accountability and transparency at the Union.