Arriving at University this year, you've been threatened with localised and national lockdowns ahead and this can be concerning when you have come to university to make connections and form a community. Greenwich Students' Union (GSU) and GKSU understand that coming to University can sometimes be lonely and this year it has become a real threat to your experience.
GSU and GKSU plan to support you with a range of opportunities in a safe manner alongside the Covid Safe Charter, which states that we will:
Work collaboratively with the University of Greenwich and relevant partners so that we are aligned in our guidance and processes and can mitigate any risk.?
Provide Covid Safe spaces so that students, Societies and Sports clubs can meet one another safely in GSU and GKSU spaces.??
Provide digital platforms so that activities can be held online so that students can engage with their Union in whichever way they are comfortable in doing so.??
Ensure guidance is clear and accessible so that everyone is aware of the role that they must play in ensuring activity is safe and considered in our community.?
Adapt our programme of activity to reflect the University and government guidance to ensure the safety of students when engaging with GSU and GKSU.?
Deliver relevant training, toolkits and practical guidance to Societies, Sports clubs and GSU/GKSU Representatives, ensuring there is regular communication with our student leaders and plenty of advice available to support them in engaging with their communities.??
Provide an impartial and free Advice Service to support all students through any challenges relating to Covid-19 and beyond, as well as signposting to support and wellbeing services where appropriate.??
Together as GSU and GKSU, we will aim to provide an engaging student experience for you across all campuses. Here's what you can expect from your unions.
The Academic Communities Project
Academic Staff Engagement
By working closely with your Head of School or Department, the Academics as Champions campaign will ensure your Lecturers understand what your Union can do for you and help you to get involved.
Whether you are a Placement, Mature or Postgraduate student, there's going to be an event for you in our GSU Welcome programme. At Medway there are new networks for BAME, Mature & Postgraduate, Student Parents, Commuters, International, Eco Team, Activities and Accessibility.
StressBusters will also be back to support you with different themes of wellbeing. These will include financial support, mental health and academic skills.
Training for Programme Represenatatives and Faculty Officers is going online to ensure your Representative has all the skills to support you. Your Reps will also be getting more support with improved communications and digital networking amongst Reps.
Finding friends on your course is important so we're continuing the work to support Academic Societies to run lots of great activity for you.
GSU Advice Service: Wellbeing Support & Policy Development
Getting support from Advice is streamlined to support you digitally with the online triage form. Once you complete this you will be offered support, which could include an online appointment via Microsoft Teams or a phone call.
If you need support that is outside of our offer, we have created strong links with Greenwich Advisers Forum to ensure we can signpost you to further support.
The Represenation and Advice Team will support policy insight and reviews to help guide your Union to make effective changes to better support you during your time at Greenwich.
Being active is a great way to improve your mental health and physical health. At the moment there is no competitive sport due to BUCS regulations, however you can still get involved as there are plans to ensure activity goes ahead. To achieve this, group leaders will be getting upskills with practical advice to run sessions safely in person and remotely. Join in the fun when the Team Greenwich and Team Medway training membership goes live or take part in Active GRE.
You will have seen a range of Meet & Greets organised during Welcome to get involved with. Moving forwards, there's going to be more support given to these Societies to run a strong online offer for you and we'll be upskilling them with Societies Surgeries.
There will also be a calendar of micro volunteering events for you to get involved in and much more!
Democratic Engagement and Liberation
The new GSU Student Assemblies that launched last year will now be moving online. This means that more students can attend and give their feedback. This year it's still all about your voice, only louder!
A "Have your say day" will take place at Medway so you can give feedback about what it is like to study on that campus to GKSU.
Avery Hill - Building Better Communities project
Avery Hill is being supported by lots of events throughout the term in a safe way for you. Keep your eye on the Avery Hill page for more. The Res Life programme aims to bring you social activites in your halls and is delivered by the Accommodation Team and the Resident Assistants. GSU has offered its support to this programme to give you the best experience possible where you live.
Over at Medway, the Give it a Go programme is there to support you in halls there.
If there were to be a lockdown in halls of residences, GSU will also support the University to get food packages to your halls in Avery.
The Lower Deck, The Deep End and The Dome pop-up Bar are all focused on operating within the changing government guidance to allow you to come and have fun. There will be a focus on themed events like quizzes, but for now, there won't be any club nights.
The Village Shop is also still available at Avery Hill campus where you can get hot food and groceries.
Over the next few months you might hear from us - there's going to be a lot of work going into connecting with around 5,000 students to ensure that loneliness is reduced, support is there and you feel as though you belong at the University of Greenwich. The targetted groups will be, new starters, Widening Participation/Access and Participation students, new starts in halls of residences across all campuses and any other new starter not identified in the list.
Greenwich Community Fund
The Alumni Team and GSU are working together to distribute £30k of funding this academic year. You could use this money to start an innovative student project. Applications can be made to enchance the student experience, actively help others or further the community at Greenwich, promote education advancement or encourage students to actively help the community.
Our Winter Celebration initiative at Avery Hill last year will be brought back to support you this Christmas. More social activities will be brought in to ensure you feel jolly this year and connected to others.
GSU Feedback: Listening to students' Concerns
Finally, to reassure you, your voice is important. There are going to be more opportunities to have your voice heard through pulse surveys and we are using the Covid survey from earlier this year to focus our work.
You've said that your number one priority is mental health followed by physical health, finances and education. Through safe, well communicated and planned activities, we hope you'll feel supported by all of the above measures we are putting in place.
This is your time at University and your Union is here for you.