Zuleikha's Semester 1 Overview

Photo of Zuleikha, Students' Union President Zuleikha, Students' Union President

Students' Union President Semester 1 Round-Up

This first semester has well and truly flown by! It’s now December, you will have got through a few assignments and possibly be preparing for exams in January. I am proud at how you have all adapted to the new normal and ploughed on. I must give a huge shout-out to every one of our Elected Officers Steph, Sophie and Meg for fighting your corner, supporting you, connecting you with other students, championing your concerns and making you smile. There are a lot of staff who support Officers behind the scenes, so thank you for all your support and guidance.

Despite the pandemic, I have made progress on key areas of my manifesto and more.

Financial Support

  • The Student Hardship survey closed a few days ago and received over 1,000 responses. I’ll be using the data from this survey to inform campaigns going forward.
  • I have been working closely with the School President for the School of Medicine and Course Rep for the MBBS programme to understand the financial pressures international students are facing as a result of COVID-19. Many international students are regularly commuting to placements from Preston to Burnley/Blackburn. I am working with central services to look at how we can best support MBBS international students in the New Year and clearly signpost students to suitable accommodation in the Burnley/Blackburn areas.

 

Employability

  • I have been working closely with UCLan Careers, Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and 3 Schools (Justice, Business and Psychology and Computing) to pilot a Diversity eMentoring Programme. We need to do more to reduce the awarding gap at UCLan and provide opportunities for underrepresented communities at UCLan to thrive whilst they are in education and beyond. Applications will open in January 2021 so please do apply if you think you would benefit from this opportunity.

 

Bring the SU to You

  • We wanted to be on campus a little bit more but COVID-19 said no! Officers created a NEW Instagram page to communicate to you online and we have seen some great engagement through polls, questions and DMs. Do give us a follow @uclansu_officers. Every Wednesday at 4pm students have attended and engaged in our Officer Live. This is where students can raise concerns or just come for a chat and brew. It’s been great to see new faces every week. Join our TEAMS Officer Hour Channel by entering the code 8n9rxjg.

 

Accommodating Dietary Requirements in Canteens

  • I worked closely with the Chair of UCLan Islamic Society and UCLan Imam to put forward a Big Idea on the Students’ Union website for Halal Food Options on Campus. The Big Idea received 171 votes and was passed at Students’ Council. This Big Idea will now remain Union policy for the next 3 years. The pandemic has presented an opportunity to create change within the University. UCLan are currently reviewing their catering offer going forward and a few days ago we met with UCLan’s catering consultant to go through why having a hot, affordable and nutritious halal food option on campus is important for our Muslim community. We look forward to making progress on the Big Idea with the University in the New Year.

 

Extras

  • Launched a graduation poll through UCLan Comms Team and 75% students (eligible to graduate) voted in favour of a face-to-face graduation. I am pleased students engaged with this poll and now UCLan are looking to host a face-to-face ceremony in July 2021.
     
  • I came across free Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia Awareness Training and got the SU to arrange SU Staff/Trustees/Students’ Council to attend. This training will now help us better understand how to best support our students at UCLan to ensure they do not feel marginalized.
     
  • I spoke at an Islamophobia Awareness Month webinar about a number of things the SU are working on to tackle Islamophobia and ensuring the Muslim community feel welcome at UCLan e.g. Halal Food, Sport Hijabs (New Sports Kit) and a relaunch of Report and Support working with the Lancashire Council of Mosques.
     
  • Worked closely with our International Student Rep on Students’ Council to raise concerns on behalf of international students. I pushed for clearer communications regarding Biometric Residence Permits and to bring staff from the International and SICT team on campus for January 2021 intake so students have someone they can speak to face to face for important issues.
     
  • I have been involved in regular COVID Recovery meetings with the University and planning for Activities over Christmas for students staying on campus. Take a look at our schedule of activities here https://uclan.native.fm/

I hope to see you soon, whether that is in person or virtually!

Best wishes

Zuleikha Chikh

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