Welfare Officer

RUSU Welfare Officer 2019/20 Gemma King

Welfare Officer
Gemma King

Hi I’m Gemma and I’ve just finished my three year undergraduate course studying Psychology. Throughout my time at University I have enjoyed being part of volunteering societies such as Sport in Mind as well as being a part of sport society Korfball. I am really excited to be your welfare officer for this year and I am determined to ensure students get their voice heard on topics involving mental health, safety and wellbeing.

Check out my manifesto

Welfare Officer Progress Tracker

In progress

The aim of my campaign is that students will have (and know how to use) positive coping mechanisms which will have a positive impact on mental health. On my manifesto I stated that I would compile an easy-to-use directory of wellbeing support services that students can use to find internal and external support that suits them.

02/20 Completed final edits for Welfare Directory to go on the website.
02/20 Looking at and analysing the data from the survey, in preparation for creating a report to the university.
12/19 Proposed £1 million student experience fund projects included positive mental health advisor being funded for another year.
11/19 Podcasts released on Essentials and Itunes, focussing on mental wellbeing at University and the link between alcohol and mental health.
10/19 A Mental Wellness Fayre was put on as part of the 1in4 campaign. There were stalls with internal and external support services and there was a suicide awareness and prevention talk. We opened the survey to find out about your experience with mental health and support services at University.
10/19 A union night was hosted to raise awareness for mental health - 1 in 4 (you’re not alone) was stickered to 1 in 4 cups, digital screens with support services and stats were put up, and Open Mind were there raising money for Mind.
8/19 Created a campaign brief with the campaigns co-ordinator at RUSU, see campaign page at www.rusu.co.uk/1in4.
7/19 Met with President of Open Mind Society to discuss putting on a mental health awareness union night and mental health awareness fayre.
In progress

Working in partnership with the University to improve alcohol and drug awareness, interventions and signposting to support.

12/19 Proposed £1 million projects including paramedic and mental health support on union nights, and water fountains in 360 to enable easier water accessibility on nights out.
11/19 Alcohol awareness week – Be A mate campaign - During Alcohol Awareness Week we worked on a campaign with the University, giving out cups with unit measurements, putting on a drink awareness session and having a alcohol-free bar at union.
10/19 Alcohol awareness sessions run with Community Alcohol Partnership Officer for University and RUSU bar staff.
9/19 Met with the Community Alcohol Partnership Officer for the council who is running alcohol awareness training sessions, to give feedback of the presentation.
8/19 Met with the Communication team from the University to work on marketing materials for the campaign.
7/19 Met with the University to discuss campaign surrounding drugs and alcohol awareness.
In progress

In my manifesto I stated that I would like to make people safer by providing transport (safety bus and taxi services) and give students a safe space after union with water and a wider range of food options to sober up. We also need better opportunities to find friends to walk home with and increase awareness of the security services we have on campus.

02/20 Brought safety report to CoSED to work out current safety tips and how they can be improved.
12/19 Proposed £1 million projects including paramedic and mental health support on union nights.
9/19 Met with Unifried Nosh to hear about their plans for the year and how they want to be part of improving safety after union nights.
  • Plans to have a ‘walking bus’ after union nights
  • Worked with the marketing team at RUSU and security to produce poster advertising the security services
  • Attending Drugs and Alcohol Partnership meeting with various stakeholders around the University to talk about safe spaces after Union night and ‘In the Moment Support’
  • Security gave us a tour of their offices
In progress

We have had the Florey sexual health clinic at RUSU for a few years now doing drop-in sessions but I would like to create more awareness of this and have the drop-in in a more private location – saves queuing at the clinic!

9/19 Created posters advertising the Florey @ RUSU which runs every second Tuesday of the month
  • Met up with Dan, sexual health nurse from the Florey to discuss moving his location of testing Tuesdays from the RUSU corridor to the relaxation room and to learn more about the service he provides
  • Sent out survey to find out whether students know about the ‘testing Tuesdays’ service that runs on campus and how it could be improved
In progress

It was on my manifesto that Landlords and estate agents exploiting students has become an ever-increasing problem in Reading with high prices and low-quality accommodation. I want to work pro-actively with the University and local councils to tackle these issues and hold them accountable by creating a housing rating scheme, where students can share their housing experiences.

01/20 Met with the RUSU Advisors to discuss how to tackle the housing campaign.
02/20 Created the campaign brief for ‘Rent Right’ which has the aim: students have a better experience of renting because they understand their rights and process.
9/19 Deciding to run a campaign on housing issues
  • Phone call with housing rating scheme creator
  • Met with the Council to discuss their ‘rent with confidence scheme’ and how students could use it

Continued 18/19 projects

RUSU Welfare Officer 2018 hello neighbour policy
In progress

RUSU aims to work with the UoR and local community to improve relations and the overall reputation of students. Through this campaign it will promote better cohesion between the local community and students resulting in a friendlier and safer neighbourhood. Working in conjunction with Daisy O'Connor (Activities Officer).

09/19 Met with Sarah Gardener to discuss how we will continue the campaign this year, she showed us marketing materials
  • Name confirmed to be ‘Hello, Neighbour!’. The campaign will focus on encouraging good relations with students and the local community.
  • Plans for Freshers’ Week and Autumn Term have been discussed and planned.
  • Artwork has been designed ready of the new academic year.
  • Currently brainstorming ideas and names for the campaign, in addition to when in the year a campaign could be launched.
  • Looking into possible events to support this campaign.
07/18 Initial meeting with Sarah Gardner, (UoR Community Relations Officer) to discuss potential plans for the year.
RUSU Welfare Officer 2018 #NeverOK campaign policy
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 Diversity Officer (Zeid Sharif) 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.

01/20 We had a #NeverOk relaunch with new cards and artwork up on digital screens. We also had a large board up outside RUSU where students could write what is #neverok and we gave out cards and explained the never ok reporting system.
09/19 Meeting with the University to discuss new marketing materials and activities we would like to do to promote the campaign this year.
06/19 Dan (18/19 Welfare Officer) and Nozomi (18/19 Diversity Officer) introduced #NeverOk to Gemma and Zeid.
10/18 Campaign to launch in November 2018.
09/18 Attended meetings regarding the #NeverOK campaign artwork. After several revisions, it is now in the final stages of being designed and printed.
  • Attended meetings about what should lie under ‘Never OK’ and the branding of the campaign.
  • Discussed campaign and #NeverOK launch.
07/18 Attended meetings regarding the campaigns.
RUSU Welfare Officer 2018 dropin policy

I am planning to have weekly drop – in sessions so that students can come and talk to me about campaigns or changes they would like to see on campus. My drop-in hours are: Thursdays 16:00-17:00 and Fridays 09:00-11:00