Vice President (Education) 2023/24 over and out!

Check out all of the amazing things I achieved last academic year...

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Throughout the year I have led on many fun and engaging events such as offering free pancakes for pancake day in the atrium if you follow us on our social media accounts to help boost our social media presence. This saw over 100 students’ able to get some free pancakes; these event work well when wanting to gather feedback in the form of conversation with our students.

For Women’s history month I hosted my first major event, Sip and Paint which both staff and students come together to listen to good music, have free snacks and goodie bags, get together to talk and celebrate being a woman, all while painting a wine glass to take home.  

For mental health awareness month, I got out to Buxton and Leek campuses to run two workshops where I offered free loaded hot chocolates and the opportunity to paint a Mug for the college students which was well received and saw both event slots filled with students.

During Mental Health Awareness Month I also held a Big Union Picnic outside for both staff ad student to attend in the aims to get everyone outside and get some fresh air, being able to take 10 mins to yourself or just move your lunch outside can have so many benefits to your mood and mental health. The event was a great success with around 90 students and staff attending, I was able to give out free brownies, doughnuts, crisps, and juice. Our advice service provided myself with some free leaflets, MHAM badges and cute little empowering mini poster cards which I was able to hand out to everyone, we also had some chilled music playing and a variety of games and activities to get involved in.

For Mental Health Awareness Month, I found it to be the perfect month to start up my Coffee and Cake campaign. This campaign aims to get nurses to feel comfortable to talk about their journey or even if it’s just taking a small break to have a laugh with some friends and have a slice of cake. This campaign aims to offer the nursing students at Chesterfield a space in between lectures and at lunch to come along and chat with our advice manager, Becca, or chat with myself, or even if it’s to just play some games and have some free coffee/tea and cake.

A recent and incredibly successful event which I held was the Big Union Jam- I wanted to celebrate the student who are not only finishing exams, doing assignment or in their final year but all our students. Being at university can be some of the hardest times of our lives but also so crucial when it comes to discovering yourself, learning independence, making endless friendships, and aiding with self-growth. Being able to celebrate our students any stage in life there at should be something we do year in year out. I went out to the students’ using surveys, and social media platforms to ask the students ‘If we were to do something for an end of term celebration, which kind of celebration would you like to see?’, 55% said lively on-site, 24% Off-site event, 14% Chilled on-site, and 6% said nothing. We also want to know if the student has any suggestions for what they’d like to see and received these responses, summer fayre, massive bouncy castle, festival, BBQ, DJ, and booze, competitive activities, freebies, ice cream van, variety of food options, and fair style games.

From this I decided to start planning and organising an end of year event, we had an original plan to hold the event outside however due to weather concerns had to bring the event inside. It took a lot of planning and stress but it was worth it to see the amount of student come along and enjoy themselves - with around 155 students signing up for The Big Union Jam, we offered live music performance from Music and Band plus Musical theatre, free hot-dogs and ice-cream, boozy slushies (plus non-alcoholic ones), an activities corner, and plenty of space to chill out and mingle with friends.

Being able to offer opportunities, activities, spaces which anyone and everyone can get involved in is something that I wanted to do when I entered my position – especially during not only the cost-of-living crisis but also during some of the hardest times on students’ mental health. As a Union we’re here to offer students something besides their academic qualification, a space which is safe and a chance to have a little fun and grow individually, I will continue to do this in my next role as Union President.