Some of us have been working on dissertations this year, some of us have been meeting cohorts for the first time and some of us have still never tried a Cornish pasty. Regardless of what we’ve been doing, I’m sure we can all agree that this has been an interesting year as we come away from the pandemic and navigate this new normal. I definitely missed the in-person shenanigans but learning how to socialise again has been weird for sure. I find myself asking people how they are doing twice whilst
Anyway, back to the point of this update – here is a brief round-up of this year before I give the baton over to the next President Welfare & Inclusivity, Kira!
Back in the autumn of 2021, you may remember that personal safety and gender-based violence was a huge concern for students following on from national stories of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard. Your feedback was so prominent in this, and we were able to hand out free test strips, silicone cup covers, scrunchies with cup lids whilst the Universities funded for free personal alarms too. The Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG) group was set up and worked with Cornwall Council to allocate dedicated money of £5000 from their Safer Streets campaign towards student-led initiatives, which has since funded for self-defence classes in Penryn. So, a huge well done and thank you for those on the group for making student ideas truly happen!
LGBTQ+ History Month back in February kicked off so many great discussions and recognition for important historical figures from the LGBTQ+ Community, including Daphne De Maurier. Little did I realise the author of the name behind the DM building on Penryn Campus wrote about her homosexual encounters as ‘Venice’. Even recently in May, Cornwall Pride took place in Falmouth and Neo, the LGBTQ+ Officer, hosted her own pop up there!
It was so amazing to see so many societies and clubs come together for International Women’s Day back on the 8th March. I’m so proud of Immy, the SU’s lovely Women’s Part-Time Officer, for leading on a pop-up event in the Stannary which brought people together with lots of really good discussions on gender equality on the Cornwall campuses.
Mental Health Awareness Week in May was my last big hurrah before I go. I hosted a series of pop-ups which included lots of free food and drinks. With it being deadline and exam season, we thought it would be fitting to give students free food and drinks as a boost, but also as an opportunity to share updates and ideas on better provision and resources for students.
In between all of these were ongoing conversations with students and staff on important issues such as trans and non-binary student inclusion, as well as feedback from our Islamic students on current prayer spaces. It’s so good to see these conversations transpire into actual implemented ideas, including a new much larger prayer space in the Tremough House as well as more gender neutral toilets to come to the campuses. Part-time officers such as Olufikayo Bright (Race Equality Officer) and Hanne Gustaven (International Officer) have been brilliant in representing students on key issues around race equality and international student inclusion.
Lastly, I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone as I couldn’t have asked for a better cohort of students to work with in delivering changes this year. You deserve a big pat on the back and a big thank YOU!!