hey, I'm taran

VICE PRESIDENT WELFARE AND COMMUNITY

I'm the elected student voice for mental health and wellbeing, student communities and general welfare.

If you've got a question, you can drop me an email below.

Send me an email

 

 

Updates for ramadan and committees

This week I’ve had a number of committees to attend. University committees deal with a number of things at the university, from health and safety to the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Centre. The first one was tackling sexual violence, where we discussed the university’s strategy on sexual violence and hate crime reporting. On Tuesday I attended the Drug and Alcohol Impact group, where we examined harm minimisation theory and how that can be applied to the university and SU. This was followed by the Health and Safety group and the Multi Faith Chaplaincy committee, where we discussed the induction of the new Jewish Chaplain and the university’s and SU’s plans for Ramadan, which starts on Monday 6th May. The SU will be providing fans with our SU Angels and prayer mats will be available in the relaxation pods in the Silberrad Centre. There will also be dates available from SU Reception for breaking fast, and the Islamic Society will be hosting prayers in 5.300A/B. For more information, drop an email to inclusivity@essex.ac.uk.


ESTRANGED STUDENTS MIXER

Last week I held an estranged students mixer in collaboration with the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service. This mixer was held so that we could gather feedback on estranged students needs and how the university can do more to accommodate them. Unfortunately we didn’t have anyone turn up, but we did manage to have a discussion as staff on how we can better target estranged students and get their feedback as part of the #StandAlone Pledge the university will be signing soon.

 

LIBEration calendar and exams campaign

This week I have been working on a liberation community events calendar. This is a year long calendar that would feature awareness and memorial days for liberation communities such as LGBT+, women, disabilities, black and Asian. The SU and University do many things for liberation groups however some events can be overlooked so it is important that staff and students are aware of events going on for liberation communities, as sometimes they will clash.

This is also to help next year’s part time and sabbatical officers prepare for the next year and make sure that these awareness events are known beforehand so that they can be planned for.

I also had a meeting with the Student Support team and the Inclusivity manager from the University to help prepare for exams period. We know that some students find exams a stressful and difficult time, so we are planning an exam campaign that has many different parts so that we can cater to as many student needs as possible. Our education team are planning peer led study packs, whilst the study spaces Big 5 group is planning on creating 24 hour study spaces on campus as well as child friendly study areas in collaboration with the Promise 4 department. We also wanted to make sure that we’re collaborating on the campaign with the University so that students and staff are more aware of what’s being offered, so we’re in contact with the library and Student Support to create a plan featuring events and initiatives from all 3 teams so that we can ensure we’re not clashing or duplicating events.

We’re really excited for the exams campaign this year, so keep your eye on the website and social media for more information coming soon.  

REVIEWING the student code of counduct

This week I have been working with the university on changing the Student Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is a very important document as it outlines the behaviours expected from students during their time at the university as well as committing to the values of the university around issues surrounding poor behaviour.
The current document is outdated and confusing and does not provide clear guidance to students that wish to report issues regarding the behaviour of other students as well as not clearly stating outcomes and processes for students that have broken the Code of Conduct. I’ve been working on the document with the university to make sure that the language it is written in is accessible and not confusing. We’re also combining the Accommodation Code of Conduct with the main one as most of it overlaps with only a few differences.
Along with this, the university is examining reporting procedures and how the differences can be better communicated to students. We’re also working on how data is managed so that data can be accessed faster and more efficiently. Currently conduct data is not stored in one place so it can be very difficult to access data; this is a big problem when it comes to evaluating welfare issues for students or if certain communities or locations have had a spike in reports.

Why the free plants?  

You may have seen me a couple of times during Freshers' Fortnight giving away free plants - asides from being absolutely obsessed with plants (as my desk will attest to), I'm really keen to raise awareness of mental health and reduce stigma around mental health in as many ways as possible. Our plant stalls were a huge success - we managed to give away over 400 plants, and around 600 mental health support and advice leaflets too! everyon that came to the stall was really interested, and stopped to chat with me about mental health, and where support is available from the SU and the University.
i'm also really keen on seeing how your plants are doing, so keep me updated using the hashtag #SUPlantBabies so I can see how your plant is doing!
Our brand new Wellbeing Ambassadors project is also now live through the VTeam. If you're passionate about mental wellbeing and supporting your peers, the Wellbeing Ambassadors scheme is a great way to get involved in the Mental Health Big 5 Project and help other students too. You can sign up through essex.su/welfare, or head straight to the VTeam projects page.
If you missed out on a plant, have no fear, as this was so successful and so much fun that it's likely we'll be doing this again soon. Keep an eye out for Wellbeing Week in November too, where we will have loads of fun and engaging things to do that will help your wellbeing too

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS DAY

I’ve been Essex as a student and as a sabbatical officer for a number of years now. I’ve loved the majority of my time here, but like plenty of students at university, I’ve had my own battle with mental health issues since starting my studies. During my second year, my mental health became bad enough that I had to intermit – although this felt really daunting, I’m glad I did, as it meant that I was able to deal with my issues and rediscover my love for my degree and have the opportunity to put myself back on track. After going through experiences like this, it ignited a passion for people’s welfare that I channelled through my work as LGBTQ+ Officer and subsequently by becoming a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer. This year, the SU has made one of our biggest priorities mental health. We’re working on a number of projects to break down the stigma of mental health issues and create a conversation around mental health and wellbeing – you may have seen one of our first steps into this if you got a free plant from Freshers’ Fair! We’re also working on a training programme for mental health first aid so that students can be trained on how to deal with mental health problems – it’s important that we give as many people as possible the tools to work on mental health and wellbeing so that we can break down stigma. We’re also working on how we can increase support and awareness of services that can be accessed whilst at university – we’re working very closely with the Student Wellbeing Service to ensure that all services are as student accessible as possible and work for students too. I’m so excited for the year ahead and can’t wait to help students as much as I possibly can – we’re always looking for student involvement, so if you’re passionate about mental health, wellbeing and student welfare please get involved on this journey with me!


 

HSC REGISTRATION ISSUE

A quick message to all HSC students having an issue registering.
We’re aware of the situation regarding HSC students not being able to register. We’re working with the departments to try and get a solution fixed – in the meantime, if you’re struggling financially, SU Advice offers a short term Hardship Loan to help you cover some living costs. You can apply through essex.su/advice.   In the longer term we will be working with the university to make sure that any students affected will be compensated – if you’ve been affected in any way, such as childcare costs or late registration fees, please contact sureps@essex.ac.uk with ‘HSC registration’ in the title.   We will make sure we keep students in the loop if anything happens.  
Love,  
Taran and the Promise 1 team x