Voice

Flora Smith - DoWell Candidate

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Flora Smith for Director of Wellbeing 2019-20

 

Introduction

 

My name is Flora and I would like to be your Director of Wellbeing 2019-20. I have been heavily involved in student wellbeing across my time at St Andrews, and I would love the opportunity to work on these issues full time. I have contributed to a variety of areas concerning wellbeing, including sexual and mental health, and collaborated with multiple equal opportunities groups, so feel I have both the ideas and experience to serve you well as the next DoWell.

 

I have the experience and knowledge to hit the ground running and make some real, positive change to student life over the next year.

 

Whilst at St Andrews I have been involved in a range of student led activities, including with Mermaids and Gilbert and Sullivan productions, charitable events with Save the Children and Race2 and serving as a School of Biology class rep for 2 years.  

 

The most formative of my experiences, however, have been within student wellbeing. These include:

  • Sexpression President
    • Increasing awareness of sexual health issues
    • working on areas of equal opportunities with Saints LGBT+ and the Member for Gender Equality
  • Peer Support Coordinator
    • Increasing the number of referrals more than tenfold from the previous year after only the first semester
    • Implementing higher levels of volunteer care and building the community
  • Biology Buddies Mentoring Scheme Coordinator
    • Bringing Wellbeing into an academic context
    • Helping First Year students to have a smooth transition into university
  • Wellbeing Subcommittee
    • Contributing to my ideas to a range of ideas
    • Leading multiple events including last year’s Academic Family Speed Adoption and Afternoon Tea
    • Working on Wellbeing Week both last year and this year

 

I hope that after reading my manifesto you agree that I am the best candidate for the Director of Wellbeing and vote Flora for DoWell on the 7th and 8th March

 

Wellbeing

 

Creating Support Systems

Many students face difficult times at university, whether that’s loneliness, stress or struggling to find your place in St Andrews. I want to ensure students have support systems available to them, whilst also encouraging them to make their own. 

  • Run Wellbeing events for meeting people throughout the year
    • I will run befriending/friend-making events all year, not just in Freshers’ Week
    • I will continue to run “Academic Family Finding” events and advertise them before Freshers’ Week
    • I will run events for 5th year students whose friends may have graduated
  • Subsidised “Burst the Bubble” events
    • It’s so important to get out of town sometimes! I will run subsidised “Burst the Bubble” events to nearby cities and attractions, helping to relieve stress and pressure that builds up whilst in the “bubble”
  • Better support for Academic Schools’ mentoring schemes
    • I will work with CAPOD to develop standardised signposting training for all mentors on school mentoring programmes, ensuring that mentors are equipped to help incoming students
  • Lobby the Government for a Mental Health Crisis Team in Fife
    • I will work with Student Services and local representatives to lobby the Government for the creation of a Mental Health Crisis Team in Fife to provide emergency treatment in people’s homes
  • Run a “No Problem Too Small” Campaign
    • It’s important to work on the stigma around seeking help from Student Services with ‘smaller’ problems, because many people don’t reach out until they’ve reached a crisis point. This would reduce the immediate pressure on Student Services and help more students access support
    • I will increase the deployment of Peer Support and publicise information about the program.
    • I will increase both the number of and publicity surrounding “Supporting a Friend” Workshops

 

Wellbeing for All

Wellbeing is for everyone. My goal is to engage new groups in wellbeing issues and encouraging inclusive events across the university.

  • Outreach events aimed at breaking gendered stigmas around Wellbeing
    • I will work with the Wellbeing Subcommittee to run events aimed at groups who are typically less likely to attend Wellbeing events to increase participation
      • Potential events could be Fifa nights in Sandy’s or friendly sports games on the beach
  • Continued Support Out of Semester
  • Continue to run events out of term time
  • I will work with the university to ensure that students living in halls during the winter and summer holidays due to work or out-of-term circumstances are kept in mind, particularly Postgraduates living in halls over summer when the university also uses halls as hotels
  • Keep Postgraduates engaged in Wellbeing
    • Wellbeing initiatives will be advertised through academic schools to make students who aren’t involved in the Union aware of these resources, using simple solutions like posters in academic schools and asking school officials (Presidents and staff) to include Wellbeing related information in emails
    • I will work with the Postgraduate representatives and Society to understand the main issues facing Postgraduates and run the kind of events that PGs actually want to attend

 

  • Create an alcohol awareness branch of StAnd Together
    • Alcohol can play a decisive role in so many important issues at St Andrews, like student safety and sexual assault, so it must be addressed head on
    • I will work to create an alcohol awareness branch of StAnd Together which will work with societies and sports clubs to plan great events that aren’t always drinking-focused
    • This group will also run alcohol awareness campaigns throughout the year, focused on responsible drinking and peer pressure, rather than encouraging students not to drink
  • I will also work with the DoSDA to create a Society Award for the “Best Non-Alcoholic Event” to encourage societies to run larger events that aren’t focused around alcohol
  • Continued encouragement and further support for AU wellbeing initiatives
  • I will work with the AU President to ensure that the AU’s wellbeing initiatives continue to grow

 

Consent and Sexual Health

  • Review Student Awareness of Sexual Health Services
    • I will run a review of Student Awareness of Sexual Health Services to identify which services the Union could better advertise, and maximize their effectiveness and utility for students
    • Make free STI test kits available in the Union to ensure that students can take their sexual health into their own hands
  • Continued Support for GotConsent
    • I will continue the work to make GotConsent training mandatory to educate students and prevent any differences in concepts of consent

 

Equal Opportunities

 

  • Create an SRC Member for Students in Employment  
    • I will propose the creation of an SRC Member for Employed Students to ensure these students are adequately represented and supported
      • This position would represent students who work part-time, as well as providing information on navigating part-time employment and any resultant issues
    • I will make it simple for students to report malpractice such as cash in hand payment by employers

 

  • Increase Support for Students from Widening Access and Participation Backgrounds
    • I will work with the Member for Widening Access and Participation to create a Widening Access working group within the University for current students and offer holders, looking at how the university could support students from Widening Access backgrounds after they have accepted places at St Andrews
    • I will create a network for students from Widening Access backgrounds to provide support and a platform to share information and opportunities
    • I will utilise external groups like the Robertson Trust and the Sutton Trust by inviting them in as speakers and promoting the continued support they can offer

 

  • Ensure there is a place for LGBT+ students still working out their sexuality
    • I will work with Saints LGBT+ to provide more support for students who are still working out their sexuality and may not be comfortable with the ‘loud and proud’ attitude of many of the current events
    • I will continue support for Queer Peers and encourage growth of the initiative
    • I will encourage the continued provision of lowkey social events for LGBT+ students

 

  • Encourage more collaboration within Pangea to increase student awareness and promote diversity
    • We need to do a better job of promoting diversity in St Andrews, and thus I will support the current move to turn Pangea, the union’s cultural festival, into a year-long campaign with more recognition
    • I will work with the Member for Racial Equality to expand collaboration between Pangea and with a range of other student groups to increase involvement

Democracy

 

  • Open Door Policy
    • I will have an Open Door Policy to ensure I am available to hear the concerns of the student community
    • I will aim to respond to all emails within 2 working days

 

  • Hold Sabbatical Officers accountable through online manifesto trackers
    • I will set up an online manifesto tracking system to better communicate what Sabbatical Officers have been working on

 

  • Create Union Feedback Forms
    • I will create feedback forms similar to those in the library to give students the opportunity to share what they would like to see happening in the Union

 

  • Provide more support both before and after Elections
    • I will run “How to Campaign” workshops with CAPOD early in Semester 2
    • I will ensure the Union maintains contact with unsuccessful candidates after elections to provide support and to promote other opportunities available to then to reduce disengagement with the Union
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