Charlotte Agnew, President Welfare & Inclusivity, updates us on what she's been working on recently.
I’ve been working with the Liberation Committee who have their first meeting on Monday 22nd March, now that they have had their training. The members includes Melissa Muchema (Racial Equality Officer), Michael Warn (Disabled Students Officer), Hayley Davies (LGBTQ+ Officer) and Mia Terra (Women’s Officer). This committee will meet once a month to lobby student issues relating to EDI (Equality Diversity & Inclusivity). I am excited to utilise this space to bring student representation closer to the heart of decision making that takes place at both Universities.
In terms of Accessibility, myself and Michael, our Disabled Students Officer, are gathering student feedback on the final designs for badges for lip-readers to help overcome communication barriers imposed by Covid-19 face coverings. However, once these have been printed and distributed for students, the SU and I will work closely with the Accessibility Team at FXPlus to produce infographics. These include how to communicate with lip-readers (such as standing apart and lowering the mask) as well as what hidden disability sunflower lanyards are, and how to approach students/staff who wear them on and off campus.
In terms of Diversity, I’ve worked with Lizzy (President Falmouth) on a paper which proposed a new EDI working group which sits under Falmouth University’s main ED&I group which got approved. Moreover, we asked for a re-structure to involve more student representation, such as the SU’s Liberation Committee members and other students because it was very staff heavy beforehand. Melissa Muchema has already attended a Race & Equality Meeting with Falmouth, but a new Gender Equality Group is being set up which is excellent news for more representation for Transgender students. On the Exeter side, we have also been creating spaces for more student involvement, which includes Julsz Preece our Mature Students Officer being invited to Exeter’s Mature Students Working Group and so forth.
Together Wherever is still supplying free Yoga sessions, but we are working with PTOs to make this more interactive with Instagram lives to discuss important topics. Keep an eye out for these under ‘Fancy A Chat?’ to take part in these discussions, as well as free apps such as the UniWellbeingApp on the Together Wherever page on the SU Website. Your wellbeing and mental health is so important so remember to keep taking breaks, especially as we are gearing up towards deadlines. FXPlus have set up a new Partnership Wellbeing Steering Group which I sit on, and there are discussions on how we can get more students involved with these types of discussions which is an incredible next step – so keep an eye out for updates from me as you’ll soon hear more about this!