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SU President Student Experience Amelia Banton

 

SU President Student Experience

Hello, I am Amelia and I am the SU President Student Experience, which means I represent students from both universities in Cornwall on everything that isn’t directly related to your degree, such as sports, societies, sustainability, volunteering, and fundraising. Moving to a new place, especially from abroad, can be daunting, and the SU was pivotal to me finding my feet when I started my history degree in 2018. I’ve loved what getting involved has given me, from the friends I’ve made in societies, to the changes I’ve been able to implement in my department as a Course Rep.

I’m so excited to be taking on this role and to begin implementing my manifesto, although so much has changed since I wrote it! It’s going to be a strange year as we adapt to life with Covid-19 but, whatever happens, the SU will be working to make sure you have the best student experience you possibly can. The SU is run by students for students, so don’t be afraid to get involved. If you have any questions, feedback or ideas, no matter how strange, please get in touch.

Roles and responsibilities

  • Student opportunities - including sports clubs, societies, volunteering and fundraising
  • Sustainability - including carbon use, water and energy, biodiversity and estates, green travel, catering and procurement, and waste and recycling
  • Events - from Freshers to Graduation
  • Commercial facilities - including the bars, shops, outlets, sports centre and more
  • Estates - including the construction of new buildings, social and study spaces, the library and resources
  • IT and digital - covering IT spaces, online learning platforms and timetabling

Space

  • Optimising and enhancing study spaces is a key priority of mine. I’d love to work with FXPlus to create study spaces in the style of the new Undergraduate Study Space in the Peter Lanyon Building. Along this vein, I would also love to work towards developing a dedicated Postgraduate study space for Falmouth students.


 

Progress Updates:

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  • 27/09/2020 The new academic building (Exchange Courtyard) has opened and the new social building is on track for a January opening.

  • 27/09/2020 I have been attending monthly Academic & Social Buildings Project Boards so am able to effectively track progress, and I have met with FXPlus later this week to discuss furniture.

  • 27/09/2020 It is really important that the Sustainability café and Bar will feel like student owned spaces so over the term I will be looking for feedback from students about how we can ensure this happens.

  • 27/09/2020 Library study spaces are bookable via this link: https://library.fxplus.ac.uk/using-library/about-library/study-spaces. I had a meeting with the head of the Library to pass on feedback from reps about the system and I’m really pleased that these are being enacted, including the development of a digital map of the library to help you find your booked seats.

Create space for students to exhibit and showcase their work (both physical but also potentially online).

Get the University to commit to refurbishing the Falmouth Campus library.

More water fountains and microwaves.

Progress Updates:

  • 27/09/2020 FXPlus are currently in the process of instilling peddles to the water fountains around campus, in the meantime please remember to bring a filled bottle to campus.

Work on creating a clause in the contract between societies and AMATA regarding cancellations.

Keep gently pushing Exeter University on sport space.

Progress Updates:

  • 27/09/2020 Cara and I are working on a Sports Strategy, with the intention of having an Agenda item at Exeter Council in November.

Academic Societies

  • Collaborations offer the chance for people to come together, meet new people, learn new skills and potentially raise money for charity
  • I’m envisaging pub quizzes, sports tournaments
  • Especially promote of collaborations between stereotypically Exeter and Falmouth Societies
  • Integrate into both university and British life

  • It can be difficult for academic societies to reach their relevant cohorts, so I want to put Academic Societies events into student timetables to ensure everyone had a society to call home from when they first arrived, and contribute to course culture.

 

Progress Updates:

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  • 27/09/2020 Putting academic society events into Fresher’s timetables was unfortunately not possible this year due to pressures on the timetabling team because of Covid but it is something that they will look into next year.

 

  • Successful academic societies increase student engagement both academically and socially
  • Every subject is different, and so every academic society must be different
  • So I don’t think it’s a one size fits all situation. For example, Law is a new subject in Cornwall, and they have a formal signed partnership between the society and department. But other subjects will suit a more informal arrangement. So this point would be about working with each society president and finding out what support they felt they would be helpful (ie history society may want help with facilitating guest speakers)
  • More autonomy for the societies so they can cater for their members
  • Baseline commitment to money for creating a brand for each Falmouth subject that can facilitate a network

 

 

  • The creation of a handover template document and a societies handbook that is less graphics, more clear instructions
  • Overhaul of the SU website to make it easier to find key information, i.e. instructions on how to structure finances for society collaborations

 

 

  • We all love the opportunity to dress up and celebrate
  • I’d use my experience of organising a hugely successful ball for my subject to work with students to create events to remember

 

Possibly something to promote at committee training

This can be summed up by getting the disengaged engaged with what the SU already do. Offer of First Aid Training (including Mental Health First Aid) for committee members, Specifically Presidents and Members Reps.

 

Progress Updates:

  • 27/09/2020 I have been working with the Student Opportunities team to review how funding is allocated to sports clubs and societies to ensure it is as fair as possible.

  • 27/09/2020 Together with Charlotte, I am working with lots of students and societies to organise a programme of events for Black History Month in October.

 

  • Starting university is hard, especially when you are in a new country, coping with a new currency and potentially language. I would draw on my experience of living and studying abroad to help students integrate into both university and British life


 

Progress Updates:

 

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  • 27/09/2020 I hosted an international drop in event on Zoom with a focus on student experience shortly before welcome week and have been in contact with the International teams at both universities about how International Students can be better supported as the year progresses.

Marking events such as Chinese New Year and Diwali would contribute to the rich tapestry of Penryn campus and ensure that all students feel recognised and valued.

The Ultimate event for everyone!


 

Progress Updates:

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  • 27/09/2020 I have begun conversations about funding for a Graduation Ball.

Other Priorities

Push with piloting minibuses between campuses

Text book and equipment recycling scheme. This will contribute to saving both the planet and money. Opportunities for graduating students to sell or donate to younger years. I envisage two events for books sale or exchange – one at the end of the year for 2nd/3rd years to sell to 1st/2nd years and one in September for selling to the new freshers.

More sustainable options in the food outlets and campus shop

Improvement of recycling facilities on campus, including investigating the possibility of recycling food waste.

Progress Updates:

  • 27/09/2020 I have joined the Climate and Environment Emergency Group for the University of Exeter and am working with FXPlus as they implement their 2030 Climate and Environment Emergency plan, which I reviewed in August and am really excited for it’s implementation

 

Simplify the legends website, promote volunteering opportunities in the community (this also helps with community relationship building) and run one off fundraising events on world issues in a similar vein to the Australian bushfires events myself and Kerry ran back in January.

 

Other Things I'm Working on 

  • 27/09/2020 I’ve been discussing with both universities and FXPlus how we can safely allow all societies to meet but this is a constantly evolving situation. In the past week my focus has been lobbying the University of Exeter to allow a return to in person activities in line with the Union’s charitable objectives of the advancement of education (Falmouth University are happy with the stance that the Union wish to take). You can read our letter to the Registrar here. I am currently working on a paper outlining what a return to society activity should look like and would welcome input from committees.

  • 27/09/2020 As well as my three key priorities, I’ve also been working on union development, specifically working with the Student Voice Team to shape the Student Council for this academic year in advance of elections. Nominations will open on October 1 and you can find out more about them here.

 

President Blog!

 

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