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Hello beautiful people!
This month has been a whole lot of Christmas and travelling home talk. My plans have changed almost every day, as more people have been unable to travel home. I really hope you are all able to find some enjoyment this Christmas, whatever it looks like this year, whether it’s your first one alone or the first one reconnecting with family. I hope you’re supported, loved and most of all, merry.
For those of you who have stayed at your term-time addresses over Christmas, thank you for taking part in the events we organised for you! We loved doing the watch parties and especially the quiz. If there’s anything else you would have liked to have seen, just pop us a message - we can only do our jobs if you keep telling us what you want!
Following the release of the travel guidance for students, the University organised a virtual visit from the Universities Minister, Michelle Donolan. I was invited to join by the Vice-Chancellor and delivered a short presentation highlighting the support and hard work that the Students' Union has been able to offer students this year - a great opportunity to also demonstrate where students are requiring additional support from the government. Julie Mennell and her team did an excellent job of showing just how diverse our University and student population is, encouraging the Minister to think more about those who fall outside the 'typical student' profile. It was also a great opportunity to learn more about how committed UOC is to supporting local communities and the benefits of the new campus projects.
December has also seen the end of Disability History Month, for which, we heard about your nominated role models with disabilities. It has been an eye-opening experience for me, especially joining in the discussion about accessibility, hosted by Colette Conroy. I’ve learnt so much about what it means to navigate the world with a disability, even in terms of my own mental health and eczema. This influx of new information has really inspired me and got me working on some really exciting projects.
The first being the accessibility maps – we're recruiting as many people as possible to help annotate old campus maps, so they can highlight all accessibility considerations. How we perform in a space can have so many influencing factors, particularly for those with disabilities. It’s so important that we’re able to have spaces that work effectively for everyone, spaces that promote a healthy working environment.
My interest in space and our environments prompted Murray’s Medical and The Sensory Pod to get in touch. These are two companies that work in the interest of people with autism, however, their products can offer enormous benefits for everyone. Due to the high-stress nature of Universities, I’m desperate to get pods at every UOC campus! They also informed me about the charity As I Am and their Autism-Friendly University Award, something that I am currently looking into as a project for the new year. If you’re loving or hating the sound of any of this, please please please get in touch! This is a huge project; we need to make sure we do it right.
For now though, go grab a mulled wine and cheese board, kick your feet back and make the most of whatever moment of peace you can get your hands on.
You’re going to need your energy because we’ll be back in the new year with some exciting new projects designed to make your social lives a li’l bit more carefree!
Love you lots, jelly tots! And Merry Christmas x