Groups Gear Up for Challenging Year

We really have had a summer unlike any other. However, our Student Opportunities team were determined to make sure our student groups were prepared as much as possible for the year ahead and we forged ahead with Student Group Training in a new virtual environment.

Part one of training took place over a three-week period back in June/July, with sessions for presidents, secretaries and treasurers to run them through key information and actions to be completed over the summer. We then ran part two from 7-11 September with sessions for all student group committee members.

Our committees have done a great job of remaining positive over the summer as government guidance has continually altered what they will be able to deliver. Whilst guidance is likely to influence change continually for our student groups over the following term, training was our main starting point for getting groups back up and running.

Unfortunately, the new government guidance was announced in the middle of our sessions last week and, as a result, we made the decision to reschedule our two Q&A drop-in sessions from Friday. These sessions will be taking place as soon as we have more clarification from the University’s Health & Safety team.

Engagement

A huge thank you to everyone who attended Student Group Training Pt.2 this year – everyone persevered through long sessions and a lot of information!

We had an impressive 274 individual committee members join us from 103 separate student groups, including 70 societies and 31 sports clubs. It was great to see so many groups engaging in these sessions which will help support them throughout the year.

For anyone that missed the sessions, they were recorded and can be found in the ‘Shared with me’ section on your student group’s Google Drive.

Sessions

We kicked off the week on Monday with Treasurer Training. This was presented by our Head of Finance & Business Reporting, Katie Marriner, our Societies & Media Coordinator, Laura Black, and our Sports Clubs Coordinator, Megan Beddoe. 73 individuals were given a detailed explanation of all the responsibilities and the processes involved with student group finances.

We then had Mental Health Awareness Training on the Tuesday, where we reached over 100 committee members! This was an important session looking to reduce stigma around mental health and empower students to be able to create open discussions and a more inclusive environment for people to be able to talk about their own mental health experiences.

On Wednesday and Thursday, we ran sessions specific to Societies & Events and Sports Club & Return to Play. This was a chance for the Student Opportunities team to go through the in-depth activity guidance document that has been provided to all committee members, and answer any questions regarding our groups had about returning to campus. These sessions had a lot of unknowns, particularly following the new government guidance that came out just before these sessions ran, and I am so grateful to all the committee members in attendance who were understanding of the difficult situation we find ourselves in.

Looking Ahead

With Freshers’ Festival nearly upon us, our student groups are all posting on social media to let you know their plans for the upcoming term so make sure you check this out!

We have our Virtual Freshers’ Fair launching on Tuesday 29 September which will allow you to visit pages of all our student groups and decide what you want to get involved with this year – there are 130 groups so I am sure there is something for everyone!

Our student groups really have some great plans in the works and I would recommend anyone to get involved with these friendly and supportive communities as you go through your university life – they have so much to offer and you never know what amazing opportunities a group could provide you with.