Category Archives: Edge Hill SU President

Posts from the Edge Hill Students’ Union President Kayley Wilson

A look back on Semester #1

Hi folk and Happy New Year!

Welcome back to most of you and to those of you that are still on your Christmas holidays I envy you very much. Having been allowed the luxury of lie ins over the Christmas period I can’t tell you how hard it has been getting up these first three mornings back. How much I long for my comfy, warm bed on a cold, windy, dull morning such as today I can’t tell you.

Anyway, before we broke up for Christmas the other sabbatical officers and I decided to get together and note down all the things we (with the help of our great staff team) had done in the first semester (well, since we started on July 1st) and I thought I would pass this information on to all of you, to give you an idea of why we’re here and the kind of things we get up to on your behalf.

A comprehensive list of everything we could think of goes as follows:

–       Pontins – over the summer Colin (President) in particular was instrumental in the discussion taking place regarding the buses (making them free and the timetables) and the Internet provision there, fighting on behalf of the new first years who were going to be living there.

–       We have run a large campaign in the first semester to collate a list of all hidden fees or in other words, all costs a student incurs on top of their tuition fees, with a view to having them removed. Such costs include: kit, placement transport, books, field trips, printing etc etc. We have met with Directorate about this on two occasions now and are working with them to work out the best way of resolving some of these costs.

–       Billy (VP Faculty of Arts and Science) with the help of some our SU staff has successfully lobbied the University to provide Council Tax Exemption forms for students who are studying a Part-Time year on a Full-Time course i.e. resitting certain modules. Something the University was previously not doing and which in turn has put a significant amount of money back into students’ pockets.

–       Billy has also been working with the local council to implement an accreditation scheme which will vet the houses of those landlords who sign up, to ensure they meet a set standard of quality. This is being launched on 14th February, or for you lovebirds out there – Valentines Day. The long-term aim: obviously to improve the standard of student accommodation in Ormskirk.

–       There will also be very detailed accommodation content and advice on our website very shortly which will hopefully help students when selecting and living in student accommodation.

–       Natalie (VP Faculty Health & Social Care) has been looking at teaching and enhancing learning within the faculty – finding out what students say is good and what would be useful and sharing this across all areas within the Faculty.

–       We launched our new website in the last term and Colin has done lots of work on the site to make it as useful to students as possible. The site will hopefully provide much, much more over the coming months and years.

–       The first semester also saw the launch of our first ever radio station L:39 radio. It allows any students to get involved with broadcasting whether it be for enjoyment and entertainment or to increase their skills and employability.

–       The same can be said for our new online magazine ‘Vibe’ which will be launching soon and also our TV station which we hope to get underway with once the new magazine is up and running. Again these provide you the students with the chance to not only get involved with something fun and have your voice heard but also improve your employability.

–       In his role as SU President Colin is also a Governor. The University and its Vice Chancellor are accountable to the governors and they oversee what it does and the direction the University takes. In this capacity he has developed much stronger links with the governors and encouraged them to interact more with students which led to two of the governors attending our AGM.

–       At our AGM in November we had the Vice Chancellor of the University Dr John Cater present and answer questions. This was a great chance for students to talk directly to the person responsible for running the University and led to the Vice Chancellor agreeing to invest £50k into more books for the library.

–       The three Vice Presidents in particular have supported students on various panels whether they are Appeals, Disciplinary, Malpratice or Fitness for Practice, helping them prepare for and often accompanying them at the panel.

–       We were instrumental in securing more computers in the library.

–       We have also triggered a price review by Facilities Management in Sages.

–       We have linked some students’ courses (BA Advertising and BA Web Systems Development Development) with a real life client by involving them in our website and magazine development as part of their coursework with the aim of increasing their chances of employment when they graduate.

–       Working with Careers to identify pitfalls in various Edge Hill courses’ employability skills and trying to find resolutions.

–       Over the first semester we held a number of Part-Time Focus Groups within each faculty to identify the issues of Part-Time students and what we can do for them. Information from this has been collated and put into an NUS report and will formulate how we go about better engaging with and catering for our Part-Time students.

–       Natalie and I have also held several drop-in surgeries in our faculties as another way of interacting with students and ‘putting ourselves out there so to speak’. Much important information has been collected via this method.

–       I divulged a whole host of issues with the Dean of the Faculty of Education and Head of Secondary Education regarding the Secondary Mathematics course and made recommendations. These meetings led to a number of changes and improvements being made.

–       Raised problems with an unauthorised company who had accessed both the campus and certain lectures within the FoE to both the Pro Vice Chancellor Resources and various members of the FoE including the Dean. Ensured that procedures were put in place to prevent similar things happening in the future.

–       Worked alongside the Head of Professional Development within the FoE to make positive changes to some of the Undergraduate Non-QTS courses including adding an extra module option which has proven to be very popular.

–       Been involved in the re-validation of the Primary & Early Years courses highlighting what I felt was good and what could be improved or included.

–       Course Rep system – the SU has responsibility for this entire system and provides training for all course reps. In addition the VP’s in particular have been meeting with their respective course reps to discuss what they understand the role to be and how to go about making positive change.

–       All three VP’s have visited students at some of our various Outreach/Satellite Campuses (Hopwood, Shrewsbury, Manchester and Aintree) to ensure that the SU is representing ALL its students and not just those who study in Ormskirk.

–       The SU has been looking at security across the campus (lighting, CCTV, barriers) and will continue to try and improve these things in the next semester.

–       Natalie worked with the Faculty to redesign the module evaluation forms so that they were more user friendly and asked the really pivotal questions.

–       We held a Mental Health Awareness Day which took place in The Hub and had a number of different companies and charities attend.

–       We have worked with Admissions to look at the customer service provided when students are going through the admissions process and how it can be improved.

–       Issues have been raised and recommendations made regarding placements in both the FoH and the FoE.

–       Made a conscious effort to shift our image through our rebranding, the way we dress and even the way our offices are now set up to ensure we are representing all our students (mature and part-time included) and portray the fact that we are a professional organisation.

–       The SU also removed its Student Council in the first semester. The Student Council was originally set up to get students involved in what happens at the Union and the University itself. However in recent years it has been felt that Council was doing the opposite of this as it appeared to be only allowing a select few students to actually have any influence over what the SU did i.e. if you weren’t elected you couldn’t get involved. By removing it, the hope is that all students feel they can now get involved if they want to. If a student has an interest in the environment for example they don’t need to be elected to an ‘environment officer’ role, they can simply come in, tell us about it and get on with whatever it is they want to do.

–       I have planned to undertake both a Lipdub project and a semi-naked sports calendar this year too of which I hope both will get underway very soon.

–       We have been involved in research with Student Services to find out what students want from the campus over the next few years.

–       Of large importance is the fact that through our new sabbatical structure we have interacted and worked heavily with both the Faculty of Health & Social Care and the Faculty of Education. Both of which we have often neglected in the past.

–       We have made inroads to improve our relationship with the University College Union (UCU) and met with them less than a week before the ‘Day of Action’, meaning we were able to advise students on what was happening and what action they could take.

–       We have worked with IT Services to provide better wireless access on campus.

–       Colin has also been asked to submit an article on our Alternative Prospectus to ‘Spotlight’ NUS’ national magazine. This will inevitably raise the profile of Edge Hill University and encourage other SU’s to undertake similar projects.

–       Colin has been influential in linking Postgraduate research students with Solstice which provides further opportunities for them to enhance their learning.

–       We have also promoted and aided the student support groups which has resulted in increased numbers.

–       We are looking into the potential of having an external, professional body come in later this year and research what you the students want from the SU.

–       We have been involved in discussions regarding the buses and have relayed students’ concerns and problems with the current service. Hopefully students will begin to see some changes later this semester.

–       Dealt with issues raised by a Key Stage 2/3 cohort regarding a particular tutor.

–       Helped numerous students with placement problems particularly those with transport issues.

–       Managed to get a student on a PGCE course extra time to acquire their required enrolment documentation when otherwise they would have been withdrawn from the course.

–       Also helped introduce a placement training plan which will be used with delayed trainees within some areas of the FoE.

–       Helping students to understand how the placement system works within the FoE and manage students’ expectations.

–       We have supported students in internal investigations and helped them write statements.

–       Made a landlord change the standards of a house based on visits from both the SU and the Council.

–       Natalie highlighted concern about the FoH not allowing pregnant students on placements.

–       We have set up the first ever Edge Hill ‘University Challenge’ team.

–       Helped a sport student withdrawn from their course get back on.

–       Supported a student who was being sexually harassed on placement.

–       We have also seen a dramatic rise in the number of societies we have over the last semester and much of this is likely down to the fact we now have a dedicated Societies Officer in one our members of staff Tina. They are a great way to have fun and make new friends.

–       The SU was obviously responsible for setting up both Freshers Week and Freshers Fair and all four sabbatical officers were heavily involved in the running of these events.

–       We have been involved in the recruitment of next year’s Student Assistants (SA’s)

–       During Open Days both in evenings and on Saturdays we have been present to talk to prospective students and inform them of what they can expect from the SU if they decide to come to Edge Hill.

–       We have secured several students places in halls who originally missed out.

–       Daily we provide students with advice and guidance on various issues and queries whether this is in person, via email or phone or our many other outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, our website etc.

–       We have helped students to put their posters up across the numerous television screens around campus advertising various things.

–       Over the summer we helped some of the April intake nurses to get PDP folders having originally been told that they wouldn’t receive them.

–       Natalie and I have met with students looking at the prospect of setting up a ‘Fifa Tournament’ in The Hub and utilising the 126” screen in there.

I’m sure there are other things we have forgotten or couldn’t think of at the time  but I think this is probably enough for now. For those of you who have made it to this point a huge congratulations and thank you as I know it isn’t the shortest thing to read. Hopefully you can all find something that affects or relates to you in this extensive list and it gives you an idea of what we’ve been doing and will continue to work on.

Many thanks
Elliott
Vice President Faculty of Education

01695 657310
suvpeducation@edgehill.ac.uk
Twitter: @EHSUvpeducation
Facebook: Ehsu VPFacultyofEducation

New SU Mag out Feb 1st!

Hi Guys,

The Students’ Union recently has started to develop its student media, starting with L39 Radio, now the SU is starting its first ever student magazine (we don’t have a name yet so suggestions welcome!)

We need students for the following..

    • Designers (to design the magazine)
    • Photographers (to take / collect images for the content of the magazine)
    • Interviewers (to undertake any interviews for the magazine)
    • Writers in the following sections…
    1. Music (Album / single / gig reviews)
    2. Film (Cinema releases / Just out on DVD etc.)
    3. Features (Major articles 2 page spread)
    4. Games (Reviews of games across platforms)
    5. Technology (New tech out i.e. new mobile phone or tablet device)
    6. Celebrity / TV (X Factor / gossip / celeb break ups etc.)
    7. Fashion (Outfits / look like a celeb for e.g.)
    8. Sport (Team Edge Hill Sport, local sport, Sporting Edge etc.)
    9. Fillers (The pieces around the side of pages, like Tweets of the month, horoscopes etc.)

(The list above isn’t exhaustive so if there is anything you feel would benefit the magazine get in touch also!)

If you are interested in any of the above email me at supresident@edgehill.ac.uk or come into the Students’ Union upstairs in the Hub across the bridge. The magazine’s first issue will be the 1st February, so it’s important if you are interested to get in touch as quick as possible!

Thanks,

Colin

Students’ Union President

 

Hidden Fees

Hi Guys,

More of a request then a normal blog. The Union is running a project this year into what costs students incur when they start their course. This means the Sports student who arrived and were told in their first week they had to buy a whole kit costing near a £100 and had no idea about it before they came. If a similar thing has happened to you, and you have turned up to start your course and found you have to pay for something you weren’t told about- let me know either comment below or email supresident@edgehill.ac.uk and the SU will do what they can to get this stopped!

Until next time,

Colin

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing- Walt Disney

Hi Guys,

From those who knew me as a Vice President, I didn’t talk much in meetings or at council. I always tried just to do stuff then update. In fact, meetings drive me insane, a quote often used is ‘meetings are where minutes are taken and hours are lost’. For too long the Students’ Union has talked around tables about how we’d love to do this and that.

University committees aren’t built to deliver quick changes to improve student life, they are often slow and can take months to pass anything. So this year we changed- we still sit at all the meetings but rather than waiting for a meeting to do anything we are achieving things all the time.

We often get asked what is it you actually do and honestly its a hard question to answer on the spot. In this blog I’m going to talk about all the things we’ve achieved as a team since the start of July..

  • Freshers Fair, around 5000 visitors through the fair on the day, nearly twice as many stalls as last year, and companies who were at the fair saying its been more successful for them than some massive fairs at other Unions, i.e Liverpool, Newcastle, Leicester etc
  • Societies, we’ve always wanted more.  We had 5 active in 08/09, then we had 10 in 09/10, then 15 in 10/11. Steady progression? We have 81 in 11/12 with over 2500 members going off reports from Freshers Fair.
  • Pontins, its not ideal its not we’d want but we have to help the students who are there. We got the University to put on free buses there and back, and now we are starting conversations with Pontins themselves about improving the accommodation there.
  • Freshers Week- the biggest act we have had since I came to Edge Hill in 2007. Greg James loved it and said what a great crowd you all were, and Ellie Goulding was there even if she wasn’t performing.
  • New sabbatical system. I go on and on about this but the best single thing the Union did last year was change ove. Now everyone has someone to go to, everyone is represented and put simply it works so much better than the previous system.
  • New website, www.edgehillsu.org.uk its not perfect yet, but its under construction still but its a lot lot better than anything in the past, and it will be brilliant. Its becoming the place to go to find out anything about what’s happening at Edge Hill & the SU.
  • Placements! Last year we used to get told again and again people aren’t happy with placements but we didn’t do anything; none of us had ever even been on a placement. This year we have Elliott & Natalie who both have and understand the problems and have already put recommendations forward to make placements better at Edge Hill.
  • Secondary Maths, the National Student Survey showed an obvious problem in this subject in Faculty of Ed in previous years. Elliott in his first couple of weeks had investigated this, met with Deans & Associate Deans and made recommendations on how the subject could be improved. Actions have now been put into place to resolve many of the issues.
  • Accreditation scheme passed by West Lancashire Borough Council. This will come in across the year and is the first step in improving student houses in Ormskirk.
  • Student Council gone – what is the need to get elected if you wanted to get involved in the Union? In the future rather than having to get elected as ‘Entertainments officer’ to influence entertainment now you can just come in and give us your ideas.
  • Governors, we have given several recommendations to governors about how they can learn more about students so when they make decisions to change your University they know how it affects you the students.
  • Hub move, we have moved upstairs in the Hub although we wanted more from this building we undoubtedly are more accessible and easier to access than ever before.
  • Hidden Course Costs, the Union from now to Christmas will be investigating how much you pay for your course outside of tuition fees. E.g. the Sports student having to spend over £100  on kit, the Law student spending a fortune on books etc when your paying thousands in tuition fees doesn’t seem fair to us! So were going to find out all these costs and try to get them abolished so its included in your tuition fee.
  • Re-brand, the Union used to have this horrendous green and orange logo, which changed colour every time it was used, we invested in a re-brand which to many is just a logo but to some it means we are taken more seriously and professionally meaning we can do more for you- the members.
So as you can see the SU has been busy, but if there’s something we haven’t done and you think we should of then let us know, all our contact details are here. This is just the beginning however, there is much more to come yet.

Until next time,

Colin

SU President.

Freshers Week 2011!

Hi Guys,

I’m writing this at 1am sat in the old SU just waiting for the end of the Traffic Light Party on Sunday night, just to make sure everything finishes off properly, so in my boredom I have decided to write a blog (my mood is occasionally lifted by someone outside shouting something banterous) so how have you found Welcome Sunday? Excited for the week?

For 2nd and 3rd years and our PG students we’d love to be able to fit more into the bar during the week so you can all get involved, but don’t forget there is essential stuff in Freshers Week you can get involved in, like the Takeover in Liverpool on Tuesday (Takeover wristbands can be bought from the SU for £10) and then on Wednesday afternoon is Freshers Fair- when you can sign up to our 100 odd societies, or join any of the sports teams.

On a completely different note remember if you are a student at Pontins or Unite you are as important to us at the Students’ Union as any other student, and if there is something your not happy about get in touch either by email (supresident@edgehill.ac.uk) or Twitter (EHSUpresident) or simply by going upstairs in the hub and going across to the SU to see me or any of the team face to face.

It’s likely I will write a few blogs this week while I’m here until the early hours, so bye for now.

P,s outside I can hear about 7 different accents (Irish, Northern Irish, American, German, English, Welsh and Chinese I think) arguing about Harry Potter, its one of the best things about University meeting people from other parts of the UK and the World.

Colin

New year, new start

Hi Guys,

 

Sorry my blog has been so late this year, we have had all sorts of technical problems with the new website and getting my blog to work, although it seems the World Wide Web likes the three Vice Presidents as it worked fine for them.

 

Mini rant over, how has your Summer been? I have spent the entirety of the Summer at Edge Hill, early Summer was spent moving jobs from Vice President to President, then the new guys started (Elliott and Natalie) then since then its been manic organising Freshers,helping the radio prep for launch, planning campaigns for the year, finishing the new branding off and building the website which is still under construction.

If your a Fresher and need to know anything about Edge Hill University or the Students’ Union drop me an email at supresident@edgehill.ac.uk, tweet me @EHSUpresident or when you arrive and see me about just stop me and ask away.

Looking forward to seeing all old and new faces in September,

 

Colin

A brand new start

Hi guys, today is my second official day as Edge Hill Students’ Union President, meaning I can finally click the ‘From the Presidents desk’ category which is pretty cool.

So what can you expect this year from your SU?

  • A new system meaning every student has representation,
  • Campaigns aimed at improving your student experience,
  • The biggest and best Freshers Week so far,
  • Edge Hill’s first full time student radio since the 1950s! Linky
  • Were moving into the new hub Linky
  • Were going to make a big push on helping societies start, grow and develop.

It’s often overlooked across the country but one of the main parts of being a Vice President or a President is talking to students to find out what’s affecting student life so we can go to the University and try and change things for the better.

If you want to get involved in the SU, if you have an idea, if you want to set up a society, if there’s anything we can do for you, email me on supresident@edgehill.ac.uk

One last thing keep an eye out for blogs from Elliott Hodgeon the new VP Faculty of Education, Billy Jones VP Faculty of Arts & Sciences and Natalie North  VP Faculty of Health and Social Care.

Until next week,

Colin

Twitter: EHSUpresident

 

New Beginnings

Hi Guys,

When I first wrote this blog I accidently called it ‘New Beggings’ which would of not got my first ‘Presidentish’ blog of to a great start! I say ish because I am still Vice-President until July 1st, but Dean is now in America and I had a few things I need to update you on…

 

  • The Library is having a refurb- this will include a silent study area, flexible spaces for 1-2-1′s and small group work.
  • The Hub is going to be open for September- linky
  • The University has a new website- linky
  • Next Friday all the sabbaticals jobs start, I become President, Billy Jones becomes Vice President Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Natalie North becomes Vice President Faculty of Health & Social Care and Elliot Hodgeon becomes Vice President Faculty Education.
  • Each of the VP’s will have a twitter account which I will let you know about in the next blog (next Friday)

I think thats it! Any questions or comments drop me an email at suvpcomms@edgehill.ac.uk

Hope your enjoying Summer,

Colin