Student Advisory Board 16/01/23
The third meeting of the Student Advisory Board began with Officer updates and Q&A. Jack (VP Education) explained the upcoming industrial action (strikes) by a University staff union (UCU). Jack is working with senior leaders to minimise the impact. Emma (VP Liberation & Equality) confirmed that the Guild’s response will be student led (e.g. through polls and focus groups) in order to support students. Individual officer views may vary. Jack has also overseen the University ‘reset’ the self-certification for mitigation allowances following the start of the new academic year.
Emma shared updates on the £2 meals campaign (really successful on Streatham, will look to expand onto St Luke’s), the University’s partnership with Shell (are talking about how to divest from fossil fuels), and gender safety (16 days of action and advocacy for students).
The Guild is currently on the second phase of a rebrand project, having engaged students so far in surveys, focus groups, and trustee interviews and are now looking at engagement touchpoints. The SAB were split into two groups and were asked to write down all the engagement touchpoints that they could think of where students engage with the Guild.
Both groups came up with the ‘normal’ ways that students engage with us (eg. societies, academic reps, advice service). Some students raised touchpoints that are more niche (eg. Survey Superheroes, therapy dogs, community cafes). Some students brought up services that were not run by the Guild, but University run (e.g. residence life).
We shared that from our research during the rebrand project, three themes kept coming up: Transparency, Clarity and Accessibility. These are slightly wider than the scope of the brand but are key things that the Guild needs to work on. We asked students then write down what they thought we were good at or need to improve on under the three headings.
Transparency: good at using social media and sharing officer updates to know what’s going on, but need to improve on advertising smaller initiatives, such as SAB and do students that aren’t a part of it know what it is.
Clarity: good at surveying students to gain overall opinion of students and communicating it, and that our website and events navigation was clear. We need to be clearer on society rules, department officers and specific officer roles, and how many people are ‘behind’ the Guild.
Accessibility: good things mentioned was around support for student run campaigns and initiatives, and that our social media was accessible. We need to improve our accessibility was mainly around societies, for example events selling out, room booking issues, funding help for low-income students.
Students’ Guild Buildings
Student Advisory Board ended by discussing some exciting plans for the future of Devonshire House on the Streatham Campus and how the Guild is seeking to enhance its student-facing spaces. The discussion featured a tour of Devonshire House to consider potential changes including improved furnishings, layouts and relocating Guild services to ensure a seamless experience for our members. It was a great opportunity to ensure students are at the heart of future decision-making as well as outlining how the Guild intends to ensure future Guild spaces can be designed in collaboration with students.