Welfare Officer

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

RUSU Welfare Officer 2018 safe taxi scheme policy

The Safe Taxi scheme aims to ensure students with no money on them are able to get home safely.

  • Artwork has been approved for the scheme.
  • Yellow cars has agreed to be the official partner of the scheme.
  • Marketing approved and sent to print ready for dispersal during Freshers.
  • Currently contacting taxi companies to be involved in the scheme.
  • Artwork request submitted for promotional and practical materials, with the intention to be designed and printed for Welcome Week.
  • Structure has been decided for scheme after checking with the relevant departments in RUSU to make sure the scheme will be as effective as possible.
  • In discussion with other student unions to see how their scheme works and if there have been any issues with the scheme in the past.
  • There appears to be either a ‘pre-payed’ system or ‘pay and collect system’. Currently looking at what’s best for Reading students.
06/18 Began brainstorming potential structures for scheme and how it would work practically at Reading.
RUSU Welfare Officer 2018 mental health policy
In progress

On my manifesto, I pledged to lobby the university to reduce counselling waiting times and provide better accessibility to the various support services the university provides. In addition to this, I will run campaigns based on body confidence and mental health, specifically male mental health, and the attitudes surrounding these issues.


Mental Health Awareness Week Activities

  • Coffee Mornings (so successful in March, we decided to run them all week)
  • Life Tools: How to Manage Stress
  • Sport in Mind Mindfulness Session
  • Video series, asking Reading students questions about mental health, stigma, body image and social media.
03/19 Filmed videos of student accounts of mental health and the issues affecting them, which was presented to Council as part of an ongoing discussion about mental health. I also spoke about mental health as part of a wider societal issue and how cultural differences affect these conversations, in addition to how student life perpetuates these problems.

University Mental Health Day:

  • “Positivity tree” to be in the Union to get students to write positive things about themselves or each other.
  • Coffee Mornings for Lacrosse Club that will hopefully expand out to other sports over the coming months. This provide a space for student groups to facilitate conversation surrounding issues or concerns that are important to them.
01/19 Planning for Time to Talk events that will tackle stigma without being perceived as “fluffy” mental health. Campaign will be separate to RUSU Says Relax to show how long-term changes need to be made in our attitudes to mental health and breaking down the stigma, supporting students in the best way possible.
11/19 Planning has begun for male mental health campaign. Looking into what will be engaging for students around the exam period.
10/18 Discussion have begun with the university to discuss an event for University Mental Health Day.
08/18 Working with the university to produce a diagram showing the different ways to access the various support services.
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 Ali Perry (Activities Officer).

  • 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 (Nozomi 雷希望) 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.

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’m planning to have a weekly drop-in session for students as part of my ‘Welfare Wednesdays’ initiative. This will enable students to come and talk to me about anything from campaigns to discussing the changes they want to see on campus.

RUSU Welfare Officer 2018 Speak up, Stay Safe policy

Student safety has been a prevalent conversation for quite a while, however in the last couple of years there have been more reports of students not feeling safe on and around campus. As part of this campaign, I will lobby the university and Reading Borough Council for better lighting after asking students where needs improving.

05/19 Meeting with E&F scheduled for w/c 20th May to discuss the paper in more detail.
  • Written and submitted a report to a University committee detailing the accounts of students. Used all the data from various sources to compile into this report. Sources include, emails, Student Voice, Change It! and discussions during Student Network meetings.
  • Next step to meet with E&F to discuss the report in more detail.
  • Facilitated discussion at Student Voice, with lots of great feedback regarding student safety.
  • Met with E&F to discuss campus issues and plans for small redevelopment (such as path widening) and the relationship between the university and Wokingham/Reading Borough Councils.
  • Call for more feedback via social media.
  • Met with Vice-Chancellor regarding student safety on campus.
  • More feedback from students regarding crossings onto campus. Similar concerns have come from neighbourhood groups.
01/19 Wide range of responses which will feed back in to the paper that will be presented to the University in the Summer Term.
12/18 So far good feedback from students regarding areas on campus, hope to improve this feedback with continual development of advertisement.
  • Took maps of campus and the surrounding area to the Women’s Network to ask students where lighting needs improving. Will be using this as part of a Go Out And Talk initiative to ask more students where else needs improving.
  • Planning begun for what the campaign will encompass. Looking likely to be more behind the scenes rather than proactive campaigning.
  • Artwork request submitted.