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Convenor Update - February

Hey all! Natalie (your Disabled Student’s Convenor) here! I hope you have liked hearing about what I have been up too so far. This update will discuss what I have been up to in February 2022!

Attended Semester 2 Refreshers Fair:  

As part of students joining the university in January, the Students’ Union held another fresher’s fair to welcome students to the university who had recently joined us. As part of this, myself and the other Community Convenors held a stall to meet and connect with students. It was also a way to let students know about the different communities at the Union as well as encouraging students to join too (and a chance for them to ask any questions).

Attended the Refreshers Community Event:

As briefly mentioned in my previous updates, the Officers and Convenors all agreed we wanted to help combat loneliness within students so decided to plan an ‘all communities’ event. The event turned out to be a great success as a lot of students from different communities turned up! During the event students got the chance to network with the Convenors, Officers, and other students. This event also provided students with a chance to ask questions and discuss concerns (e.g., issues relating to their community or university).

Attended the monthly Officer and Convenor meeting:

This Officer and Convenor meeting included all Officers and Convenors providing an update of their work in the last month (all the updates I provided are included in this report or the last). As mentioned in my past reports, this Officer and Convenor meet is a chance for us to all come together to discuss issues affecting students as well as a chance to try and resolve these issues. One of the main topics of discussions in this meeting (that relates to this) was the ‘Have Your Say’ platform. If you have not heard about this before, this is a platform that allows students to submit ideas that will improve students’ experience at LBU. If the idea gets enough support, it will be put forward at the ‘Have Your Say’ forum (which is an opportunity to discuss your idea further). Any student at LBU can put their ideas forward here: Have Your Say (leedsbeckettsu.co.uk). Good luck if you do put anything forward!

Attended an ‘Idea Generation and Campaigns’ Workshop with Student Hubs:

I got the opportunity to attend a workshop by ‘Student Hubs’. Student Hubs are a charity that work alongside students and universities from all over the UK to provide students with opportunities to learn new skills and knowledge through things like volunteering and placements. As well as coming away from this event with interesting tips on campaigning/bringing ideas to life, I also left feeling more confident in being able to help others with this, especially if a student had a campaigning idea they wanted to work on for the disabled community.

Met with Academic Experience Officer Meg Darroch to work together on an Accelerate meeting and continued our work on the #Doitmyway project:

I met with Meg on several occasions this month to work together on developing the #Doitmyway toolkit as well as supporting her with a session for her ‘Accelerate’ student group. The session was going to be around the topic of working alongside people with disabilities and Meg wanted me to share my experiences. I unfortunately was not going to be able to make the session in person so we decided it would be a good idea for me to make some presentation slides that could be shared with the group. In the slides I spoke about myself, my disability, this role, and how I work with others who have disabilities. If you were interested in hearing more about this, feel free to get in touch ??

In addition to this, Meg and I also met to do more planning on the development of the #Doitmyway project. We agreed it would be a good idea to have a ‘resource bank’ with the toolkit and reflection form with things ranging from life and study hacks to a place for students to talk about their experiences (e.g., being a disabled student) to stress relief activities. If you are reading this and have any other ideas you think would work well in the resource bank, feel free to email myself (n.lennox@leedsbeckett.ac.uk or m.darroch@leedsbeckett.ac.uk)!

Met with the EDI coordinator and Student Voice and Insight Manager from the SU to discuss the ‘Have your say’ idea:

In my previous reports, I mentioned about working on the ‘Have Your Say’ disabled students’ hub idea (a space dedicated to students with disabilities to get help and support as well as a place to meet others in the community). In January, I held two focus groups with students from the Disabled Students’ community to find out if students liked this idea. Both group sessions went extremely well, and we even got loads of valuable feedback too. From these two focus groups, the EDI Coordinator completed a report which I then went through and agreed I was happy with all content included.

This meet (with myself, the EDI coordinator and the Student Voice and Insight manager) was to discuss the next steps of the idea. During the meeting we pulled together all the key pieces of information from the focus groups on how this space would look, what would be in it and where it would be located. We also agreed the next steps (to work on a final draft of the idea and contact the relevant staff member at the university for a meeting to take the idea to them). I will keep you all updated but this means we are one stop closer to hopefully having a place where students with disabilities can go to relax, study, and meet other students!

Continued work with the Woman’s Convenor Yara Vizinho on our ‘Mindfulness Workshops’ project:

?Yara and I have been continuing to do research and are beginning to prepare for our first ‘Mindfulness Workshop’. If you have not seen any of our previous updates, we hope to run these sessions to help students in our communities with tips and ways to overcome things like stress, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelm while being at university. We want to make sure these are going to be well informed, interesting and helpful sessions, so we have not planned a date yet but as mentioned, keep your eyes peeled for updates soon!

Continued weekly engagement with the Disabled Students’ Community:

In the last month I have made sure to continue to engage weekly with the group! I have posted about a range of things including the student elections, reminded students about the refreshed event, a careers leadership event/programme and study tips to help students with their university work (something that was asked for in my questionnaire from last year). Finally, I hosted two drop-in sessions and a post about being a community leader to support students who may have wanted to put themselves forward to be the next potential Disabled Students’ Lead of the community.

Thanks for reading and engaging and see you here again for blog #5! Any questions email me at n.lennox@leedsbeckett.ac.uk ??

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