In the recent Student Satisfaction Survey, students indicated that they did not feel the Union meets their needs. These opinions ranged from not being informed of Union events, to not being able to access the Union with a wheelchair. I spoke to a disabled student last week who told me she would probably come to the union if there was access provided.
The Union needs to review its current policies, look at whether it actually meets the needs of students. Simply passing motions does nothing to help inform students and encourage participation, students need to feel that this is their Union, not just be told so.
To meet student needs, the Union also needs to work closer with the community. This current Exec Team have shown that outside charities form an important part of the support network for students. Fund raising for charities like Epilepsy Wales will have benefited students who already have or recently been diagnosed with the condition.
Over the years I’ve been at Glamorgan, this Union has always provided Panic alarms, a policy that has increased the confidence of vulnerable students. The Union should continue to work with community groups and the police, as making students feel safe in the community is an important part of a successful education.
The Assembly recently reintroduced grants to Wales. This was partly down to the campaigning of the Students Union, engaging in dialog with politicians. Kate Richards put forward this Union’s view to the Prime Minister on that eventful day last year – I’m sure some of you will remember it well.
We now have a review of Student funding for the UK as a whole, achieved through Unions collectively putting forward their opinions. It is only through cooperation, not confrontation that we will give students better opportunities. Working with politicians is the only way to make them work for us.