Rosie Makes a Post: Zoning (or, the most stressful 24 hrs of my life.)

Hey Edgehillians!

You’ll be delighted to know that your beloved VP Ac. Rep is back from NUS HE and FE Zones Conference 2015!

bow

The theme of the HE conference this year was the marketisation of higher education. Which sounds like it’s complicated, but basically is about how education is now seen as a commodity to be bought and sold, and that students are seen as consumers and customers in the education sector, rather than as partners in their education. And that’s not okay. As stated in the NUS Partnership Manifesto:

‘A consumer model offers students a false and inflated perception of their power.’

It’s dangerous. I’ve heard students say time and time again ‘I’m paying 9K per year, therefore I should get XYZ.’ But the problem is it doesn’t work that way, because education and university experience can’t fit into the product box that it’s being squashed into. And it doesn’t fit because it’s not a product.

cat box

With it being the key conference theme, we did a lot of stuff on marketisation and how it’s a hot topic at the moment, with the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework being yet another playing field for universities to compete on. And competition is dis-empowering to institutions, because it’s stops the coming together as a collective voice because they’re competing against each other rather than working together.

gabriel get along

As well as all of that super-interesting stuff, there was elections happening! And I was running. Because I hear the word ‘election’ and I don’t seem to be able to help myself.

dean quick turn

So I was running for Higher Education Zone Committee and the 2nd place on the National Executive Council. Now I’ve quite openly talked about the fact I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and in recent months my mental health situation had vastly improved, and I’ve been coping really well. To the point that when I ran for Vice President back in March I coped really, really well with the stress, I actually surprised myself. And I was really proud of myself. However, I really struggled with these elections. I barely ate the entire time I was there because I was certain I was going to throw up, and I didn’t want the front row to become a splash zone. I spent half an hour after my roommate left our the hotel room the morning of elections crying, not for any specific reason I can pin down, just nerves and stress. I held myself together publicly, but I didn’t feel very together. At all.

I didn’t get elected, but, for an intercalating sabb from a small, unknown union that’s never had any part in NUS’s democratic structures before, I’d say I did alright. I’m still proud of myself. And the people that did get elected are truly great officers, and I have total faith in our committee this year. Congratulations to all of them!

elf congrats

When I left yesterday I had decided I was never running in an NUS election again. There are a lot of great people in the movement, and maybe I’m just too mediocre to get elected. I’ve since had people tell me I should run for Block of 15 at National Conference 2016. And you know what, I just might, if I can prepare myself enough for it mentally. (See what I mean about me just having to run in elections?)

I truly enjoyed the sessions at zones, I enjoyed the networking, the discussion and debate. I did not enjoy running in the election, but that’s not down to anyone else, that’s just down to me being a nervous wreck.

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But now I’m back at Edge Hill Students’ Union, and I’m getting down to work on feedback, catch up training sessions for course reps, and preparation for EHSU’s first ever executive council on Monday the 2nd of November, where I’ll be presenting my first officer report AND being on the first sabb team at EHSU to be formally held to account ever! Speaking of, if you’d like to ask a question to any of your full time officers, you can contact any of your part time officers, who can take those questions to the exec and ask them on your behalf. We’ll also be passing policy for the first time ever, (!!!) and I’m submitting a free education policy, and a policy stating the unions position on the TEF.

The damn TEF.
Damn TEF.

Well, that’s my update for the moment. So for now, over and out!

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Why Student Opportunities Changed my life – A guest blog by Richard Brooks

I came to University in 2010, the first in my family, in a city that I’d only been to before on an Open Day. I was a weird, chubby fresher who was a bit awkward. I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t know what to expect – I didn’t really have anyone around me who had been to Uni to tell me what it was meant to feel like.

I didn’t know much about Uni, but I knew what I didn’t like; my University. I was alone, bored, lonely and I wanted to go home. I actually went to my Uni to ask about it. And then, I joined a society.

I made friends, and did some cool things. Then I met some more people, and they asked if I had thought about being on the committee, why not? I won my first election, and carried on. I joined more societies, and realised that I quite liked doing cool things and trying to make changes, so I started running campaigns. That’s when I became a proper keeno – societies, sports, fundraising – everything.

I got to the end of my third year and realised I could do the things I enjoyed doing, full time. So I became President of my Students’ Union. And from there, I ended up being Vice-President Union Development of NUS.

People underestimate Student Opps; they think it’s just having a good time or meeting new people (and some of it is, and that’s incredible anyway) but Student Opportunities change lives. They make people better and they make the world better around them.

And I know that student opportunities change lives, because it changed mine.

Thanks,

Richard

'Weird, chubby fresher' in 2010
‘Weird, chubby fresher’ in 2010
and after.
Giving VP UD candidate speech to NUS National Conference 2015

Richard Brooks is Vice President Union Development at the National Union of Students, and a guest speaker for Edge Hill Students’ Union Student Leader Development Day 2015.

For more information and to register for the event, please click here.

Home sweet Home- #WMHD15

As I type away I’m watching the late Robin Williams do his incredible thaaaang in Mrs. Doubtfire- the film that you lot at EHSU voted to see.

I do a great impression of a hot dog.
“I do a great impression of a hot dog.”

Today has been wonderful.

Today we celebrated World Mental Health Day 2015 slightly prematurely on 7th October, when actually it’s on Saturday (10th October)!
We chose to do this because we thought we’d be able to get the message out to more of you if we did it then. [and we did!]

The theme that the Mental Health Organisation set, as they do annually, is ‘Dignity’. specifically, living with mental health problems with dignity and pride.
Now, at first I sort of struggled to make it fit into the beginning of the year and then- as I sat chin-wagging to my mum down the blower, I thought what better than homesickness? It’s something that I think, not many people talk about or openly admit but it can sometimes lead to mental health issues if not tackled such as Anxiety or even Depression. 2 3 4 5

So to raise awareness I created, alongside our amazing Graphic Designer Vicky, this gorgeous little booklets..hsh 1

& this is what they said…

“Moving away from home can be a little bit daunting…
Okay, I was completely kidding.
It’s amazing.
No rules. No one telling you to pick up your slippers or wash the dishes. No one saying ‘YOU TREAT THIS HOUSE LIKE A HOTEL’.

Freeeeeeeeeeeeeedom!

But sometimes you actually miss home and those rules, and kind of wish that you could lie in your own bed and that’s completely natural.

In fact, 70% of males & 50% of females experience homesickness.

I mean,realistically- as soon as you see one of your flatmates actually cook themselves something that looks delicious and un-potnoodley, you’re gonna miss home cooking, your parents, your goldfish etc.hsh2

Never fear, take a look at our top 5 tips for fending off Homesickness and also a cheeky coupon for discounted fishbowls for tomorrow (8th October) where we’ll be starting in our very own SU Bar and seeing where the cocktails take us!

  1. Stay in touch with home.
    Be this on facebook or a midnight call to the mother- just hearing the voice of the person you miss will make you feel a million times better.
  2. Don’t be on your own.
    Keep yourself busy, take up a hobby, join a society, go out!! The Liverpool World Museum is free and SUCH a good day out.
  3. Throw yourself into uni life.
    You’re here for a while so you might as well enjoy it! There is always something going on- whether it’s Netflix with the flatmates to societies to nights out to studying…*cough* oh yeah, forgot about that last one didn’t you..
  4. Find familiarity.
    Find things that make you feel happy! Pictures are a great way of doing this- a top notch photo wall is a must for any uni room- careful with the blutac though! Or cook yourself a dinner that your parents made for you once a week just to get a little home comfort.
  5. Comfort eat!
    Within reason of course… there’s studies that show there’s food that make you feel good! So, bananas are great because they contain tryptophan, an amino acid that studies suggest plays a role in preserving memory and boosting your mood. Ooer!

 

It all starts with self care.
But if you feel like you need a little more help then there are Counsellors on campus to help you, head on over to Milton House (on Ruff lane, just out of the back entrance) and the people at the Student Information Centre will help you. Alternatively, register at a local GP and make yourself an appointment. Remember, you are in charge of your own happiness.

Or if you ever need me, your VP Welfare or Lauren Blunds the rest of the time… please don’t hesitate to contact me- if it’s for advice, a chin wag or you want me to come on a night out…just kidding. But I am here for you, it’s my job!

<3

I wish I had listened to my own advice!!

World Mental Health day is about celebrating and raising awareness. I think we did a good job? Don’t you?

Search the hashtag, #WMHD15, on Saturday to keep us with the world wide goings on.

PEACE OUTTTT.

Rosie Makes a Post – Why Course Reps are Important

Ok, being honest, I didn’t just volunteer to be a Course Rep. I hounded my tutor about it until we had our ‘election.’ Back in those days we didn’t have democracy, we stuck our hands up and 4 of us were chosen. Two single honours students, two joint honours students.

chosen one

I, admittedly, mainly wanted to be a rep in the first instance to put it on my CV. Because I had no idea what I really wanted to do when I graduated, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to have an extra thing to say I’d done.

no idea

But I quickly discovered that representation was my gig. Re-validating courses, feeding into the department, making sure the student voice was heard. And the little wins that the Performing Arts Course Reps won on our Student Staff Consultative Forum’s, like approving a graduation ball for the department, like getting no – shoe rehearsal rooms for dance students so they weren’t rolling around in dirt other students trekked in, like fixing the little issues that actually affected students.

And it was those things that definitely helped to inspire my decision to run for Vice President, so I could change things for all students, across the university.

When I was a Course Rep, the training was meeting with the relevant VP and sitting through a PowerPoint. Which was why one of my manifesto pledges was to ‘revolutionize the course rep system.’

les mis

And alongside our new dedicated Union staff member, that has happened. With democratic elections, not selection by tutors. With our Student Leader Development Day, so Course Reps will get actual, relevant training. And with briefings and de–briefings for SSCF’s and Faculty Boards so reps can feel confident going into meetings, and know how to chase up the outcomes after.

freeze-frame-high-five

Course Reps make change for their peers. Course Reps are so important to the democracy and representation of the union. Course Reps are so important to the student experience, for both their peers, and for their own as well.

Summary, Course Reps are important.

david tennant

Lots of love,

VP Ac. Rep.


If you’re a Course Rep or Society Committee member, and you’re interested in our Student Leaders Development Day, just click here for more information and to register for the event!

How to be a Society Superhero!! ….kinda….

avengers-gifPat, your VP activities here….Calling out to all Society Committee Members!!

On Saturday 24th October we are holding our first ever Student Leaders’ Development Day where you will become ninjas, or Batman… or maybe just really excellent at running your societies?

The day will be full of a variety of workshops aimed at boosting and (dare I say it) developing not only your own personal skills, but also the effectiveness and progression of your society.

You’ll learn all sorts of useful tips and tricks on how to give feedback, raise money, problem solve and present effectively, to highlight just a few. Your social skills, confidence and knowledge of how to deal with a variety of people will all soar, just like Superman!

giphy

At the end of last year EHSU ran a survey asking what, if any, additional training would Society Committee Members or Course Reps have liked… answers included:

“How to successfully market the societies through different bodies on campus and social media”

“Financial training, basic training of how to operate.”

“Information about organising events and whom to to turn to…for advice in general.”

Well, Student Leaders’ Development Day has all that advice and more. It’s part of our commitment to you, our members, showing that you can really benefit from us and everything we put on throughout your time here. Just gaining a degree isn’t good enough in this competitive day and age, employers out there want to see what else you’vlargee done to develop and better yourself.

Rosie our current VP Academic Representation and previous President of the Pokemon society, Vice President of Murder Mystery, and a member of almost every other society the Union has, commented on how useful the day would have been for her and will be telling all about that and much more I’m sure in her own blog next week.

Shaun Finch & Charlotte Sibbitt of the LGBT+ Society summed up what the day could have meant to them last year:

“If we’d had something like the Student Leaders’ Development Day previously it would have helped prevent internal struggles and led us to be better educated on policies and procedures. It would also have made the handover transition between committee members year to year a lot easier.”

Others when discussing the benefits of the day brought up topics such as help with coming up with ideas for campaigns, and then how to plan and run them once you had the idea.

Personally, I’m a great believer in the saying ‘you only get out of life, what you put in’, so if you want to stand out from the rest, and lead people instead of being led, then I really do hope you come down to the Student Leaders’ Development Day.

Pat xx

gandhi-be-the-change-quotes