Disabled Students Network
We aim to provide info about DSN and the Disabled Students Officers in freshers information packs, making it easier for students to get involved with the DSN and socialise with others who may be in a similar situation to them starting at uni. This will also allow students to contact us if they encounter problems, and we will be able to signpost them to the appropriate service to give advice and support if needed.
Meeting times and locations will be planned well in advance to ensure they are accessible to all, and livestreamed and archived via facebook to increase access. A termly poll will be taken to ask students to specify what time a meeting would be best for them, and we are open to varying the times and locations between campuses to be able to include all.
We will be running drop-ins in collaboration with colleges during freshers’ week to welcome new students to the university so they can meet their peers in a friendly environment and ensure they know where they can go for support from their first week.
We will promote DSN throughout the year, as it is important for all disabled students to feel a part of the network even if they missed us in the first weeks of term.
Mental Health DSN Sub-Network
We will continue the work of the previous officer to establish and strengthen the Mental Health Sub-Network. This is an opportunity to connect students, the DSN and societies supporting mental health campaigns & promoting mental wellbeing, in a way that we can run campaigns, events and activities.
We will recognise the importance of having different roles for officers in the Mental Health Sub-Network, recognising the importance of gender and minority groups and how this may affect mental health in different ways.
In Freshers’ Week we will run an event where every student who identifies as disabled will be invited to join us for a few hours of varied accessible activities as well as some timetabled and structured events where they can meet other students, and try some familiar and new experiences, as well as drop in and chat to relevant staff and support networks.
We will continue to run informal tea and cake sessions for disabled students, as a relaxed way for students to get together and have a chat, and to talk to us about campaigns and activities they may want to see in a setting less formal than a network meeting.
We will lobby the university to keep campus accessible and continually improve this- such as fixing broken lifts, keeping campus well lit at night and working on the inaccessible signage across campus. We will ensure that information is clearly and accessibly given to disabled students, which is currently done only via twitter (@uoycampusnews).
We will campaign for disabled students to receive extra printer credit which is vital for those who need to use paper to read and work on. We will also work with departments to ensure flexibility of methods of assignment hand-in to fit the needs of students.
We will continue, improve and raise awareness of accessible hour at the freshers’ fair. This has been effective in ensuring a quieter and more accessible chance for disabled students and those with families to attend the fair, however last year many stands were not ready in time and lots of students were unaware that this opportunity existed.
Autism Awareness: We want to raise awareness of autism in an academic environment and for fellow students. Autism affects people in their academic life and we want to inform teaching staff how to understand and accommodate people with autism.
We will work closely with each college disability rep, and further ensure every college has this role filled (which currently only 4 of 9 do). As members of the DSN, we will support them to fulfil their manifestos as best we can.
We have both been an active part of the DSN, engaging in campaigns and supporting the current officer in her role.
We are both currently Disabled Students’ Representative on Vanbrugh and James’ common room committees. This has given us an opportunity to work closely with other students in our colleges as well as experience running different kinds of events.
We have been able to effectively engage with students through our tea and cake sessions in James and Vanbrugh, where we have been able to give students advice, discuss issues facing people with different disabilities and talk about campaigns.
Sharing the job between two of us will make us twice as effective. We are both confident chairing and minuting DSN meetings, running events and attending meetings held by other groups in the uni and YUSU.
Willing to reach out across the university and yusu, actively engaging in meetings and decisions in order to ensure that disabled students have a voice.
We are also proficient in social media and feel that this is a perfect way to reach out to and engage with students.