The 60 second manifestos were recorded and produced by YSTV.
Vote Mia for Community and Wellbeing Officer 2017-18
Who am I?
Hi, I’m Mia and I would like to represent you as your Community and Wellbeing Officer. I’d like you to get to know me better and discover for yourselves that I am a resolutely positive, solution-focussed individual. I want to put my passion, commitment and experiences to good use in implementing crucial changes to our welfare system that will make it watertight - preventing students from slipping through the gaps. I also feel its important to make YUSU more accessible and to enable more students than ever to engage with each other in solution-based dialogue, have their voices heard on the issues they care about and participate in improving community life here.
• Centralised welfare request system on E-vision to make seeking help with any problem stress-free, easy and trackable (alongside the current system). This would take the admin burden off of students and use allocated “welfare advisors” to signpost to the correct support, communicate to the student’s department if necessary, help with mitigating circumstances and check up later.
• Data collection of type and quantity of welfare requests (from system described above) and an annual report of findings to develop a long-term evidence base of the kind of issues students are facing, enabling the university and YUSU to work more accurately.
• Serious expansion of support services and increased promotion of what it can already do, including in providing long-term counselling, increased specialist support (e.g. for survivors of sexual assault/rape and for dealing with experiences of culture shock/homesickness) and more widespread promotion of disability services.
• Creation of a “student at risk procedure” where students can flag up a friend who they feel is at risk of serious harm and needs support relatively quickly.
• Disclosure training for heads of departments (who would then deliver this to their staff) on how best to respond to and support any student who might tell tutors about any instance of sexual assault, harassment/rape.
• Reinstate retrospective mitigating circumstances and mitigating circumstances for students with long-standing conditions. Without these safety nets, a huge amount of pressure is put on individuals already in difficult situations.
• Guarantee students eligible for bursary/additional financial support the option to choose budget accommodation should they so desire regardless of whether York was their first/second choice or whether they chose through clearing.
• Unite with YSJ to create a fully-functional, permanent Nightsafe stop in town so students know exactly where to go to find volunteers if they can’t find one around.
• Creation of a community space for any student to raise awareness about campaigns or issues affecting students that they want to talk about and educate others on. This would be both on the YUSU website and physically on campus.
• Jargon-busting, ‘Student Community and Wellbeing 101’ handbooks for all students (to be emailed out) which would explain everything from for example - what a “sabb” is, to LGBTQ and BAME terminology, to how students can submit ideas to YUSU, to what mental health is - plus details of liberation networks and support services.
• Freshers to opt-in before arrival into any liberation group they identify into via a form. They would then be sent a pack of info - the history, aims, projects, events and socials that liberation networks (LGBTQ, Women’s, Disabled, BAME, Mature, International) provide - giving more students a voice/ access to a ready-made support system.
• Campus food discount incentives for Nightline and Nightsafe volunteers in a drive to reward student-run projects and expand - to keep up with an increase in the student population.
• Collective social media for liberation officers to promote their events, projects and networks - through a public Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. This will make hundreds more students aware of these groups and encourage more to get involved.
• Termly debate forum where students can nominate an important York-related issue to talk about in teams in front of an audience - to encourage communication between opposing groups of students and develop real applicable solutions to be presented as an idea to policy review.
• Roll out “college parenting/family” system across all colleges to help build inter- year relationships between a diverse range of people and contribute to a positive and inclusive social atmosphere for both the most extroverted and introverted of individuals.
• UoY ‘Community and Personal Wellbeing’ app/web page via uni log-in providing a calendar of UoY (YUSU, Careers, Departments) and local events, mental health resources and support services, a “welfare advisor” section, a unity health and open door appointment section as well as self care tips and links to education resources (e.g. sexual health).
• Fundraise through YuStart to start a “Welfare Award” where a student/s pitch an innovative project to improve the wellbeing of York students/community life and the winner is able to set up their project with university support. Not only would this be engaging and beneficial for the wider community, but it would also increase employability.
So, why am I the best person for the job?
I want to show you that I really care and that I’m not only passionate about the welfare of students and improving community life here - but that I’m not afraid to challenge and negotiate with the university to deliver the support that students deserve and need. I have developed these skills as YUSU Women’s Officer and I want to put them to good use in bringing my manifesto to life. This year, I’ve delivered unprecedented initiatives including persuading the university to approve and deliver gender-neutral consent talks as part of the freshers’ safety briefing, developing tangible plans for an online reporting system and putting on events including free self-defence classes and accessible gym hours at York Sport Centre. With that taster in mind, I really hope you can trust me to do this job and give me your vote, I won’t let you down.