Manifesto - Flora Smith
Director of Wellbeing (DoWell)
Check out Flora's social media here.
I’m Flora, and I would like to be your Director of Wellbeing for 2018-2019.
Throughout my time at St. Andrews I have aimed to be an involved and active member of the student community, discovering my passion for student health and wellbeing in my second year as a member of Sexpression. Working initially as the Secretary, and now the President of Sexpression St Andrews has made me hugely passionate about sexual health and its importance in the student community, and has allowed me to work on areas of equal opportunities with Saints LGBT+ and the Member for Gender Equality. Being the President of Sexpression has also given me the opportunity to work with the Wellbeing Subcommittee, leading Freshers week events including Speed Adoption and Afternoon Tea and contributing my ideas to Wellbeing initiatives in multiple areas. This work has allowed me to gain awareness of mental health related issues and the work that St Andrews is doing within the area. I also have a wealth of experiences outside of Wellbeing such a working as a class rep, helping to organise the Born to Dance dance marathon for Save the Children, and performing in multiple theatrical productions. These experiences have helped me become a well-rounded and well-informed member of the St Andrews community and taught me many important skills which would be invaluable in the role of Director of Wellbeing.
I believe that my university experiences have prepared me well for the role of DoWell, providing me with a good background in the student welfare systems as well as introducing me to a range of issues faced by St Andrews students. I am passionate about the role and have the foresight and realism to introduce real, positive change to wellbeing in St Andrews.
Promoting Wellbeing from All Angles
Wellbeing should be a part of every area of university life and help and easily accessible information should be available wherever you need it.
- Active Listening training for all Society Presidents, including information on signposting
- Give all Society Presidents the tools to help members so that no one is left feeling out of their depth.
- Make Mental Health First Aid Training Available to Students
- With one in four students experiencing a mental health problem at university, it is important that we provide students with the ability to help those around them. I would aim to make the training that has already been developed within the university available to students, in particular those who are in leadership and support roles within societies, subcommittees and academic schools.
- Promote Mental Health Services on a Regular Basis throughout the year
- Provide all Freshers with Wellbeing Packs when they arrive, detailing all the services available and their purpose to reduce stigma around visiting these organisations.
- Create a specific publicity role beyond Design and Events on the Wellbeing Subcommittee to promote the Wellbeing Subcommittee to all students.
- Advertise Wellbeing Services and Events throughout Halls and Societies to ensure they reach a wide range of individuals.
- I would aim to raise awareness of student run wellbeing initiatives to reduce pressure on Student Services and help students form support networks with other students.
- Run a “No Problem Too Small” Campaign across the Year
- Many students never go to Student Services with an issue as they feel their problem isn’t serious enough, I would like to remove this stigma around seeking help. I hope this would increase the number of students seeking help before they reach a crisis point, reducing the immediate pressure on Student Services and helping them to direct students to other suitable forms of support.
- Increase the deployment of Peer Support, increasing knowledge around the program in the student body and publicising it as a resource for all students.
- Increase both the publicity surrounding and number of “Supporting a Friend” Workshops.
- Continue to run events through the Wellbeing Subcommittee with Mental Health in mind
- I will work with the Wellbeing Subcommittee to provide fun and engaging events to help students relax and meet likeminded people.
- Run a full schedule of events in revision week to help students de-stress and continue to provide designated spaces where students can take study breaks.
- Wellbeing Events in Halls
- I will work with Hall Committees to promote semi-regular wellbeing related events that allow students to de-stress in calm and welcoming environments.
- I will work with Student Services to promote the interests of students in reforms of the Wardennial System
- Continuing to Promote and Support Nightline as a Source of Support for Students
Accessibility for All
- Working with the DoSDA and Societies Officer to promote “Give-it-a-go” style events within societies, designed with Freshers in mind
- Provide Society Presidents and Social Reps with optional training on how to run welcoming and unintimidating Fresher’s Week events
- Encourage Societies to run Freshers style events further into the semester
- Providing First Years with opportunities to build support networks from their first day
- I would continue to run Academic Adoption events in Freshers Week and the weeks leading up to Raisin, promoting academic families as a support system even after the foam fight ends.
- Run “How to Parent” workshops before the summer break for 3rd Years to plan fun but responsible Raisin Weekends for their children.
- Support mentoring schemes within all academic schools, helping the DoEd to create useful training for student mentors.
- Aiding commuting students’ involvement in university life
- Encourage societies to hold events on weekday afternoons to allow those who travel into St Andrews the opportunity to get more involved.
- Provide specific welcome packs for commuting students, highlighting the services available to them such as the commuter’s room.
- Promotion of alcohol-free events and support for those who have decided to stop drinking alcohol
- Encourage societies and hall committees to hold alcohol free events, especially in Freshers Week
- Set quotas to ensure that halls hold at least 2 alcohol-free events a semester, with equal funding, planning and promotion as events with alcohol.
- Design a support system for individuals who have decided to stop drinking to provide them with information on topics such as how to explain to friends and allow them to meet others who don’t drink to build a support network.
- Run social events out of term time to provide a social group for those who remain in St Andrews over the holidays
Promoting Sexual Health
- Free Self STI Tests Available from both Union Reception and Student Services
- By providing students with free self test kits in a discrete manner that can be used in the comfort of your own home, I hope to increase the number of students getting tested regularly, as well as reducing stigma and discomfort around STI testing.
- Sexual Health beyond SHAG Week
- I would aim to increase the number of Sexual Health related events across academic year, working with societies like Sexpression to ensure we continue the conversation around issues surrounding our sexual health.
- Increased Promotion of Sexual Health Services
- Many students have expressed frustration at the lack of accessible Sexual Health services locally, and the introduction of a new monthly service for students at the community hospital can be used to provide proof that we need more. I would ensure services within St Andrews are well publicised to guarantee they are well attended, so building blocks are created towards better student health.
- Increased Availability of Dental Dams
- Ensure Early Training for All Hall Condoms Reps
- Reform how overly drunk individuals are removed from the Union
- Currently if someone is removed from the union for drunkenness, they are left to find their own way home. That could mean a 20-minute walk alone when they’ve been deemed excessively drunk. If a student is not fit to walk home alone, we should use a taxi service to return them to their home and take a form of ID which will only be returned upon payment of the taxi fare.
- Volunteers in Freshers Week to help you find your way home
- In Freshers Week, when St Andrews is unfamiliar, returning home, especially after drinking, can be a daunting prospect. I aim to have volunteers during Freshers Week available to walk individuals home from the Union at night, focussing on helping individuals who have lost their friends. If successful, I would also work on expanding this service to become a branch of STand Together, having volunteers to walk individuals home from the union and the library at night.
- Increase to deployment of GotConsent Bystander Intervention training throughout the Student Body
- Compulsory Bystander Intervention training in Halls is an important way to keep all individuals in St Andrews safe from sexual assault and harassment. Although all halls do run Bystander Invention, in larger halls many students do not attend due to a lack of venue space and lack of follow up to ensure attendance. I will work with the Wardennial team and Student Services to ensure the infrastructure is in place to enforce attendance by running multiple sessions in each hall and fining individuals who do not attend.
- GotConsent Training will be compulsory at Presidents’ Training to ensure that societies are able to keep their events safe for everyone attending
- Easy Access to Water on Friday and Saturday nights
- Have water coolers in the reception area of the Union to allow access without having to make your way through the crowds to the bar
- Ensure the water remains both safe to drink and hygienic using lidded jugs.
- Working with the AU President to Increase Promotion of Self Defence Classes within the Union
Work with the Equal Opportunities Committee to solidify the purpose of the subcommittee
- Creation of Forums for all Equal Opportunities members
- The creation of forums such as the cultural societies forum and forum for lifelong learners has provided a greater opportunity to promote the minorities they represent. I would aid all members of the Equal Opportunities committee in forming similar groups, whether those be made up of relevant society presidents or students who would like to work on these issues.
- This will also promote the equal opportunities subcommittee and encourage action in the student body.
- Encouraging Big Ideas
- I want Equal Opportunities to have a larger presence within the student experience. As part of that, I feel that its members should be given as much support as possible in encouraging their ideas and large-scale thinking.
- I will put a focus on running events and pushing for change within the university, with members working to create new policy and raise awareness.
- Putting a greater focus on Pangea
- Many students are unaware of the purpose and presence of Pangea in the university. I aim to rectify this by making the festival the main focus of the Cultural Societies Forum and by moving the festival into Semester 2 to provide those working on it more time to plan and publicise the event.
Aiding the Member for Widening Access
- Greater Definition of the Role
- I would like to work closely with the holder of this role to ensure they have a clear focus throughout the year, as well as the resources and man power they need to put their ideas into practise
- Promoting St Andrews to students from a wide range of backgrounds
- I feel it is important that we make our university accessible to all backgrounds. I want to work with the Member for Widening Access and Admissions to ensure we are doing all we can to attract students, as well as provide them with support.
Promoting “Break the Glass Ceiling” Events
- Encouraging more frequent talks on “Breaking the Glass Ceiling”
- Encouraging the career aspirations of those from all backgrounds is vital to creating change in not only our university, but in our lives beyond. I wish to encourage the ambitions of students though frequent discussion of “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” and providing students with the skills they need to do this.
- Working with Equal Opportunities, the DoEd and Academic Schools to run events to encourage career development within minority groups
- I would work directly with schools and the DoEd to promote bringing in speakers from a range of backgrounds and running workshops to provide necessary skills, beyond careers week.
- I want to work with the Equal Opportunities Subcommittee on engaging a variety of groups in “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” style events and ensure they remain relevant to what the student body would like to see.
Listening to the Student Body
- Open Door Policy
- I want to ensure every student feels acknowledged. I will have an Open-Door Policy and set weekly office hours where any student can come to raise concerns or suggest improvements that could be made to student welfare. I will also aim to respond to all student emails within 2 working days.
- I will release semi-regular surveys to ensure that I am aware of new problems facing students. These will circulate through societies, halls and academic schools to maximise response and ensure students’ voices are being heard.
- Semester Reports by all Union Representatives and School Presidents
- I would ask every individual holding a position in the Union or its subcommittees to report what they have done each semester, with the aim of making the positions clearer to students and ensuring that manifesto promises are kept.