Diversity Officer

RUSU Diversity Officer 2019/20 Zeid Sharif

Diversity Officer
Zeid Sharif

Hi I’m Zeid, I’ve completed BSC Environmental Management degree and I have also completed a Foundation degree in Environmental Science here at Reading University. I’m originally from Jordan but have lived most of my life in the United Arab Emirates. I’m really looking forward to being your Diversity Officer this year. I have a number of goals to achieve by the end of my term, some of which are to make everyone at the university feel safe, comfortable and included. Another would be working with the university catering teams to help improve our variety of food for our diverse community we have here on campus.

Make sure you come say hi if you spot me around campus!

Check out my manifesto

Diversity Officer Progress Tracker

RUSU Diversity Officer 2018 Diversity Digest policy
Launched - Progress to be continued throughout the academic year

Based on my manifesto point of creating an ‘inclusivity media campaign’, I have worked on creating a website that celebrates our cultures, creativity and community. Students will be able to send in their photos, videos and recipes to the website to illustrate their identity. Culture and Faith societies will also have the opportunity to send in photos from their meet-ups and events to share with others on the website. This website aims to create an online community of creativity, curiosity and understanding where diversity is celebrated.

Updates
11/18
  • To send out call for content to societies.
10/18
  • Met with Dr Liz Wilding about working with her International Student Food Project & Diversity Digest.
  • Promotion of Diversity Digest to specific schools/departments.
  • Article for The Spark Newspaper published.
09/18
  • Artwork completed.
  • Diversity Digest launched on 20th September 2018.
  • Promotion of Diversity Digest throughout welcome week and the start of the new academic year (putting up posters around campus, giving out Diversity Digest branded bookmarks, social media posts).
08/18
  • Website creation in progress.
  • Artwork request submitted and its creation is now in progress.
  • FTO content creation in progress.
07/18
  • Began brainstorming and working out technicalities of the creation of the website.
  • Discussed idea with RUSU Staff and FTOs.
  • Culture & Faith societies have been contacted about getting involved.
RUSU Diversity Officer 2018 Campus Cohesion progress
In progress

I want to build a global campus here at the University of Reading where more traditions are more widely celebrated across our campus. This hopefully will take the first steps in changing our culture where all celebrations are as widely celebrated as Christmas often is. In terms of deciding which festivities we will be creating a wider campus celebration for (as unfortunately in my year here at RUSU I will not be able to organise and plan events around every cultural and religious festival), I have looked at the demographic of our student population and have chosen celebrations either celebrated across many countries around the world and/or looked at our international students population and gone from there. As such, I have begun planning and organising Lunar New Year celebrations across campus for February 2019.

Updates
09/18
  • Arranged meetings with UoR staff.
08/18
  • Research into costs & funding for the campaign and events during the celebrations.
  • Look into the organisation and running of workshops.
07/18
  • Campaign brief completed.
  • Liaised with some RUSU societies about plans I have to create a campus-wide celebration.
RUSU Diversity Officer 2018 Campus Cohesion progress
Complete

Continuing my global campus campaign, I am also working on creating more events and celebrations celebrations for Diwali.

Updates
11/18
  • The Wall of Change has been decorated in RUSU to educate and celebrate.
  • Diwali light jars have been created and placed around RUSU.
  • A6 postcards have been distributed to students and staff.
  • Diwali Lunchtime Fair ran smoothly and successfully.
  • Student Reporters working on articles for The Spark about the events for Diwali.
  • Rangoli Workshop was run the week following the Diwali fair.
  • Divya 2018 (Diwali Ball run by the Hindu Society) to take place on Mon 12.Nov
10/18
  • Wrote up a campaign brief.
  • Arranged another meeting with the Hindu Society.
  • Artwork request submitted.
  • Artwork created.
  • Posters have been put up around campus and on the digital screens in RUSU.
  • Decorations are being purchased and created.
  • Campaign page launched: www.rusu.co.uk/diwali
09/18
  • Began brainstorming how to celebrate Diwali more widely across the student population.
  • Organised a meeting with the Hindu Society to discuss ideas and plans for Diwali that we would like to see.
  • Research & planning in progress.
RUSU Diversity Officer 2018 Student Networks progress
Complete

Student-run, peer-support networks which give you the opportunity to meet other students from similar backgrounds, share common experiences and receive advice and support from each other. Most importantly, Networks are a space where voices of under-represented student groups are heard leading to campaign ideas. Networks are run by your RUSU Diversity Officer as well as your RUSU Part-Time Officers.

Updates
11/18
  • 2nd Network meet-ups are being booked in.
10/18
  • Attended and/or led various Network meet-ups.
09/18
  • Networks will be launched for welcome week.
  • Networks will be run for the academic year by respective Part-Time Officers and Diversity Officer.
  • First Meet-Ups for all Student Networks have been organised and scheduled for the first few weeks of Autumn term 2018.
08/18
  • Confirm first meet-up dates, times and venues.
07/18
  • Discussed and planned what Networks will be and how they will run with RUSU staff.
  • Artwork request submitted and is in progress of being designed.
RUSU Diversity Officer 2018 Office Hours progress
Complete

I would like to make myself as Diversity Officer available during specific days and times during weekdays for students to come to the office to discuss anything from my work to what they would like to see a change in. As such, I would like to block out times in my calendar and promote them as my ‘office hours’ on my social media so students feel like they can drop by during those times if they would like to discuss anything with me.

Updates
09/18
  • Autumn Term Office Hours to be introduced after Welcome Week (1stOctober 2018).
08/18
  • Scheduled office hours into calendar.
  • Artwork request submitted and creation is in progress to be ready for the start of the Autumn term.
RUSU Diversity Officer 2018 NeverOK campaign progress
In progress

An anonymous reporting system is already in place at UoR to report discrimination or harassment in any form. However, this academic year, I will be working with the RUSU Welfare Officer (Dan Bentley) as well as the university on creating a ‘Never OK’ campaign that draws attention to reporting systems in place for students as well as where to go or who to speak to when you need help, support or advice.

Updates
10/18
  • Campaign to launch in November 2018.
  • Meeting with the University to discuss how the campaign will be launched and suggested most effective ways for RUSU to engage students and speak to students about the campaign.
  • Was interviewed by The Spark Newspaper for an article to be published in next month’s issue about the #NeverOK campaign.
  • Materials for the campaign launch from RUSU has been ordered.
09/18
  • Attended more meetings regarding the #NeverOK campaign artwork. After several revisions, it is now in the final stages of being designed &h; printed.
08/18
  • Attended meetings with the University about what should lie under Never OK and the branding of the campaign.
  • Dicussed campaign and #NeverOK launch.
07/18
  • Attended meetings with the University regarding the campaigns.

Other Campaigns and Projects

In progress

When looking for private accommodation if you no longer want to live in University Halls, most private landlords ask for a guarantor, but what if you can’t supply one?

I’m working on a scheme where students who don’t have a third person to act as a guarantor (e.g a family member, who agrees to pay the rent if for any reason the tenant cannot) can opt in to have the University of Reading act as their guarantor. This aims to mostly benefit international students, students who are care leavers and students from low-income families for whom it can be a challenge to find a guarantor that the landlord will accept.

The aim is to have a pilot scheme up and running in 2019.

Updates
10/18
  • Had a meeting with the RUSU Chief Executive and University Staff to discuss our research and our next steps forward with implementing the guarantor scheme.
09/18
  • Further meetings with the RUSU Chief Executive and University Staff to take action to see how this scheme could work and how it would run.
  • Carried out research of other universities to see how they run their schemes.
  • Gathered student experiences of what they had to do when renting private accommodation without a UK-based guarantor.
08/18
  • Initial Meeting with University Staff to catch-up on the progress made by previous officers on this scheme.
RUSU Diversity Officer 2018 free periods progress
In progress

The Free Periods campaign will mark the start of providing free feminine care products (pads and tampons) at RUSU for all students that require them.

I hope to also promote the use of healthier, eco-friendlier and cruelty-free feminine care products through this by working with companies to provide these products at our Students Union in support of the campaign.

Furthermore, I want to raise awareness of Period Poverty in both the UK and internationally. I would like to arrange talks by charities and/or organisations regarding period poverty and the work they do to combat this.

Aside from raising awareness, I would like to encourage students who are able to, to purchase and donate feminine care products to a collection point at RUSU where we will send the products off to a charity organisation that tackles period poverty overseas.

Lastly, I want to break down the taboo surrounding periods by arranging panels, discussions and possible a photography exhibition that talk about periods, body confidence, and female empowerment.

I hope to run this campaign in January 2019.

Updates
09/18
  • Research Further.
  • Write up campaign brief.
08/18
  • Free Periods paper written.
  • Begun researching and contacting charities and organisation that could support this
07/18
  • Initial idea for the campaign.
  • Initial brainstorming and research surrounding the campaign.
In progress

This is an initiative that has come about from ideas gathered from other student unions as well as from feedback from students at a Student Network Meet-Up.

I will be working with the Deans of Diversity & Inclusion at the University of Reading to created badges with ‘he/his’, ‘she/her’. ‘they/their’ and ‘ze/zer’ printed on them that will be created for staff and students across our campuses to wear on their lanyards, backpacks or however they please. This is part of creating a change in our culture across the University of Reading amongst the whole student and staff population.

Updates
10/18
  • Idea proposed to Deans of Diversity & Inclusion.
  • Costings and potential design discussed with Designer at RUSU.
  • Paper is being written to take to committee meeting with the University for approval.
08/18
  • Initial Meeting with University Staff to catch-up on the progress made by previous officers on this scheme.