All students are welcome to come and discuss issues relating to student welfare in the University and Colleges.
One of my aims for this year is to improve and democratise student welfare. Along with Elia (our Disabled Student’s Officer), I sit on a lot of committees that focus on student wellbeing, mental health, and accessibility in the University and colleges. While I advocate for the student priorities that are decided or approved by the SU council, I can never fully reflect the variety of differing welfare-experiences students have in each college or faculty. This is why I’ve put together ‘welfare forums’ for this term which, unlike any other forum we run, will be open to everyone.
There will be three forums this term, which each have a different ‘theme’ of discussion, however, there will always be a chance to provide updates or raise any issues you’ve noticed.
The dates and themes of the forums are:
The forums have three main aims:
Aim 1: To facilitate conversation between student reps across colleges about welfare related issues.
It’s so important that welfare reps from each J/MCR have an opportunity to talk to each other, but also for any student who cares about welfare reform to have their voice heard. Some colleges are doing fantastic things that need to be shared to see if they can be put into practice elsewhere. Alternatively, some colleges or departments may be really failing their students and it’s important to share this and collaborate to change it.
Aim 2: To fully engage students in decision making about welfare-related issues that the SU works on.
Although the official place for my accountability is the SU Council, these forums will serve as an informal place for me to update on the work that I’m doing in more depth. It’s a chance for me to consult students on upcoming issues that I may be facing in various committees, and ensure students get a chance to discuss them.
Aim 3: To bring students into direct conversation with decision makers concerning welfare services in the university and colleges
While there will always be time at each forum that is only for students, for some of them I will be inviting staff members from the University to come along and answer questions directly from students. For our first forum, we’ll be joined by Adam Welstead who is the ‘Head of Student Wellbeing’ at Cambridge, and it’s his job to co-ordinate the ‘Heads of Wellbeing’ in each college and improve wellbeing on a college-level. For the final forum of term we’ll be joined by Eva Seinsche who coordinates the Mental Health Advice Service. Previously in the summer I helped coordinate a similar conversation between Chris Haylock, the head of the University Counselling Service, and J/MCR Welfare reps.
On Thursday (20th), we’ll have our first forum which is in the SU Lounge (with an online hybrid option for those who need it). It will be a great chance to chat to other welfare reps or students, and discuss what kind of ‘college support’ exists in each college, as well as asking Adam any questions. If you have any topics of discussion or University staff you’d like to include in the welfare forums, send me a message. See you there!
[A dark green graphic with the title 'MICHAELMAS 2022 WELFARE FORUMS' and the Cambridge SU logo. In pink boxes it says
20TH OCT: COLLEGE SUPPORT, SU Lounge & Online 6-7.30, with Adam Welstead, Head of Student Welbeing in Cambridge University.'
1ST NOV: SUICIDE PREVENTION Supported by the SU Student Advice Service (SU Lounge and online, 6-7.30)
24th NOV: INTERMISSION, with Eva Seinsche, head of the Mental Health Advice Service (SU Lounge and online, 6-7.30)]