An Update from Your VP Wellbeing & Diversity

Your VP Wellbeing & Diversity, Alice Goode, shares a blog about what she's been working on over the summer months to ensure the student experience at Royal Holloway is as accessible as possible.

Image of VP Wellbeing & Diversity Alice Goode in front of some trees

It’s the start of a new academic year and whilst you guys have been enjoying the summer sun, we have been busy working away at the SU getting ready for your arrival. Over the past three months, we have undergone two weeks of training, been on a week-long course led by NUS, have been working with the College, and developing our manifestos.

Accessibility is really important to me as a wheelchair user with chronic illnesses. Over the summer I have been working to try and make the student experience at Royal Holloway as accessible as possible.

Accessibility Guide

I have written an Accessibility Guide to be sent out to all student groups, members of staff who run social media pages, and those who deliver teaching and training to students. The guide covers topics such as access needs, image descriptions, and fonts and colours, in an attempt to get people thinking about how different people access the world and the accommodations that they may need.

Walking Tours

I’ve also been filming a series of Walking Tours to help you find your way around campus and the local community. When we (the Officers) looked back to our first year, we all had one thing in common – we didn’t know where anything was or what people were on about when they said things like “It’s by the back gate” or “let’s go to The Packhorse”. So we thought it would be a good idea to film how to get to a bunch of places so that there’s a guide – sort of a 'sabb satnav' – on how to get around. We’ve covered places like the SU, the Sports Centre, the GP Surgery and Wellbeing corridor, the train station and Tesco. Look out for these videos dropping next week!

Reviewing student support services

One of my manifesto aims this year is to review student support services, which means that I will be working closely with the Wellbeing department during this academic year to hopefully provide more cohesive and streamlined support. I’ve also been working on student group training and a signposting handbook for all the different wellbeing services so that academic reps, personal tutors, student groups, etc. can make sure that students are getting the correct support they need.

Amplifying minority voices

Equality, diversity and inclusion is really important to me and is at the core of all my work. Another one of my manifesto aims is to amplify minority voices and provide a platform for their voices to be heard. I don’t want to speak for or over anybody, so I am really eager to work with the Collectives, our culture and faith groups, and minority students to hear what they want from the SU. This will hopefully get more minority students in places of power at the SU – academic reps, student group presidents and sabbatical officers.

Loads of other great stuff!

My final manifesto aim will hopefully happen once term starts. I aim to implement Wellness Wednesdays to run alongside the off-timetable sports afternoons. The benefits of movement, and of having time to de-stress are widely proven and I want to make sure that everyone can participate and benefit from it. Therefore I’m hoping to have pop-up movement sessions including activities like yoga and Zumba. I’m planning to create a Zen Zone in the SU Main Hall as a designated quiet and safe space on campus. I would also like to include some Instagram Stories featuring chats with different student support staff such as a Hall Life rep or a Wellbeing advisor.

I’m really excited for this coming year! I’m loving it at the SU and am passionate about my manifesto. I can’t wait to start working with you guys on my manifesto aims.