Mature Students' Officer
From 20th November I started advertising the Mature Students Mixer at Top Bar that would be taking place on 1st December 2017 at 12:00. I changed the banner on the Facebook group to the Mature Students Mixer picture and let the group know that it was taking place via a post at least 3 times in the group and twice via email. I also asked my mentor Mike Bamford to advertise the event on the screens on the steps between Square 3 and 4. Eventually 1 person turned up to the mixer, and I knew her before from the Games Night that I had been running. I don’t know whether such a turnout is disappointing, only that it was the best opportunity to introduce myself as Mature Students Officer in person rather than posting on Facebook, which I think is preferable, and in this regard it felt like a missed opportunity to connect the community. My recommendation would be to review in the next academic year whether there is sufficient demand for Mature Students Mixer.
On 4th December my friend and Trans Officer Jestin Bartlett kindly decided to organise a juggling session in the Hex to try to appeal to student parents. The event was designed to be something where student parents could bring their children and have a break from their busy schedules whilst having fun and trying something new. Both of us advertised the event in advance on the Facebook group but nobody turned up beyond members of the Juggling Society. I am aware that for mature students getting their degree is more important than socialising but at the same time whether that means that there is completely no interest in socialising I think is debatable. The rationale behind holding such an event was the broaden the appeal of societies among mature students. In a meeting that I held in the common room in which 3 mature students attended they told me that they were not really interested in societies, and that as a mature student it appeared false to socialise around a certain interest. I asked the Politics Society if they would be open to holding an event during the day time to help mature students who have a busy schedule but again there is an imbalance between mature students saying that there is not enough aligned to them at the University, and then not saying what they would like to see, so I have to just estimate and run things anyway, and so this is what me and Jestin were trying to do.
I’m constantly trying to think of ways to respond to mature students and make them feel more included at the University. Part of this process has been to make myself as approachable as I possibly can be. Whenever I meet a mature student, which admittedly is less often than I would like, I ask them how their experience at University is going and if there is anything that I can do for them. Generally the response has been that things are going alright, but I let them know if they have any concerns or problems they can contact myself. Admittedly, I made a mistake in standing for the position based on a reflexive manifesto, which means that my whole role is based upon responding the community, since I believed that was the best way to fulfil Promise 3, because I am expected to know what mature students want rather than them being proactive and telling me, but I understand that I misunderstood the situation. Therefore, I have talked extensively with my mentor Mike and we are trying to work through and find a way for me to feel comfortable in the role and have projects to work on independently. We are going to set up a focus group with 8-12 mature students to get more structured feedback.
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