As UoY’s Community and Wellbeing Officer I’m one of five “sabbs” (full-time elected team of five of us who stay in office for a year, along with a team of nine further part-time elected officers). My job is to identify and proactively tackle community and wellbeing issues affecting students in two ways. Firstly, by bringing my manifesto projects to life. Secondly, by engaging as many students as possible and representing that voice to the university whether that’s on mental health, support services, college life etc.
Hey, I’m Mia, I’m 21 and I’ve recently graduated in English and Related Literature. So you can get to know me a bit better - I’m half Bengali, quarter Irish and a quarter English, and I’m from North London. I was really into languages at school so I studied English, French, Latin (plus a rogue Biology AS) in sixth form. I also love to sing and I’ve been lucky enough to perform in a really diverse group of other music lovers in my community including with Jamie Cullum at the BBC Proms, the 2012 Olympics and with M.I.A.
York was my second choice uni (I was meant to go to UCL) but when I landed in Vanbrugh I threw myself into trying new things and ended up competing nationally in the hip hop squad of York Hornets in my first year. Like many young people, I did struggle at uni sometimes and that later fuelled my passion to do something positive and solution-based, a way of helping other students as best I could. So in my second year I ran to be the Part-Time Women’s Officer at YUSU in a pair. We put on York’s first ever consent talks rolled out to every fresher as well as canvassing for an online reporting system amongst other projects.
Following that, my continued passion to work towards making every student’s time here happy and successful in a community united in our diversity is what drove me to run for election as a full-time officer. I absolutely loved getting much more involved in the community here as a student representative - it made my uni experience really special and I’d highly recommend getting into as much as possible during your time here whatever that is.
This year I’ve got big plans which I’m really keen to get lots of student consultation on. I want to ensure that every student feels that they can come and chat to me if they’ve got something they want to change at the uni or union, an idea I can help to make happen or any questions about anything at all. I want to hear what you think about community and wellbeing at York so please don’t hesitate to email me, message, call or even just drop into the YUSU office - I really want to get to know you and hear your input, my door is always open!
Second and Third Year Mentors (STYMs) volunteer scheme to be rolled out across all colleges for September 2018 to accompany the STYC system and encourage community cohesion, integration and a more holistic approach to wellbeing.
Wrote, designed and delivered 5000 printed copies of the ‘Community and Wellbeing 101’ handbook to every fresher starting in 2017 which included info on a wide range of internal and external support services, how to get involved with YUSU, all the officers, YUSU successes in the past and how to send in ideas to the policy process.
Expansion of support services (open door) - confirmed by the university and they will now be open until 10pm during term time from late spring 2018.
Increased promotion of support services has been going ahead across YUSU and the University to improve signposting.
Exceptional circumstances survey went out and I wrote a big report on the findings along with recommendations which are going forward as part of a formal review of the process at the moment.
Successfully lobbied for a review of housing allocation so bursary students get priority for budget accommodation if they wish - this review is going ahead currently which I am involved in on an ongoing basis.
Proposed to YSJ that they set up their own version of Nightsafe on their club night days which is going ahead before we ask the council to fund a permanent Nightsafe stop in town.
Started an ‘associate card’ which gives YUSU food outlet and other discounts to Nightline, Nightsafe and the PTOs.
Ran termly debate forum called ‘The Big Student Debate’ which will now become a regular YUSU event following success with engaging more voices with issues voted for and debated on by students.
Approved and coming along:
Centralized welfare request system & data collection is being worked on currently with the university and is on track for implementation.
Student at risk procedure information is being planned currently.
Disclosure training for supervisors/HoDs - going forward as part of the exceptional circumstances survey report recommendations & I am also working with JP and academic reps to generate resources for supervisors as well.
Planning on using the YUSU board in the library as a community campaign space so students can post about campaigns/issues they want to raise awareness of. Exploring creating space to duplicate the content on the website too.
Opt-in liberation forms are being designed currently and will be launched this year.
Currently re-writing the community and wellbeing sections of the website to make them more detailed and more fit for purpose.
Creation of a welfare award is in planning stages currently.
Free ‘Look After Your Mate’ Student Minds mental health training sessions open to all students
Free sanitary products to all students - The Red Box Project
Delivering Head STYC training
Leading on Keep Your Cool campaign
Sabbatical Officers’ community campaign on respect
Supporting the BAME Officers’ poster campaign around campus showcasing the achievements of BAME students and alumni
Inputting into the university’s new sexual violence policy
Inputting into the university’s new student mental health and wellbeing strategy