This week has been the most peculiar and turbulent week in an academic year that has been nothing but peculiar and turbulent! Between Brexit ‘deal or no-deal’, a surprise General Election, multiple rounds of strikes (and associated occupations), and now a global pandemic, this is indeed an extraordinary year.
This is definitely not the environment I expected to be working in when I first ran for office. Nor could anyone have predicted that this would be where we ended up. For many, this will be far from ideal, there is no denying that. Acknowledging this has been an important but hard first step for us as Officers; many of our projects have dissolved before our eyes, notably the Varsity Series, Celebratory Balls, Student Conferences, and the Student Leader Elections. I’m sure this is the same for a vast number of you with your own projects and plans. Despite this, we want you to know that we’re doing our utmost to make the best we can out of where we are and what we have. We are working very closely with the University who are going above and beyond to ensure that the student voice is heard in their planning and that students are put at the heart of their plans.
This morning the Full-Time Officers met via Microsoft Teams (the place to be right now) to plan how we can ensure that we’re representing student perspectives on the issues you care about more effectively than ever. That has included us drawing up a comprehensive plan as a team about how we can use our networks and contacts in the University to make this extraordinary experience one where you can still get what you need from your University of Nottingham experience. We talked over issues ranging all the way from accommodation and extenuating circumstances to award ceremonies and home work-out videos. Each of us took away preliminary actions and we’ll be meeting early next week to develop and progress our plans. The tone of this meeting was consistent: that it is more important now than ever that we as an Officer Team and as the leaders of your Students’ Union work together to continue to support you and represent your interests, and we commit to doing this.
As I’ve said, these are turbulent times and things are changing rapidly. I’m excited to see what more can be done and proud to see the actions that many of you are already taking to help those in the most need at this time. Remember to wash your hands, socially distance where possible, but remember throughout all this to take care of yourself and your mental health.
Over the course of the last week, alongside the University, your Students’ Union had transitioned to working from home. This includes your Officer team, SU Advice, Societies & Sports, and most other support that the Union usually provides. All our departments are currently busying away getting their home work arrangements set up to be as effective as possible. So do feel free to get in touch with them via the emails you would usually use.
Between the movement of all teaching online, the first ever isolOcean, and the libraries and sports centres closing down, it’s hard to tell what’s coming and what’s going. As such it’s important that you keep up to date. Make sure you’re checking daily, though I recommend setting limits so you don’t end up continuously scrolling social media or the news reading about how cheese makes Covid-19 worse! Here are a few suggested update sources:
?? University updates: nottingham.ac.uk/coronavirus
?? UoNSU updates: su.nottingham.ac.uk/coronavirus/
?? NHS guidance: nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
??? Government guidance: gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
?? How to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home: nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips
General SU enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
SU Advice: email@example.com
Societies and Sports queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
SU democracy and elections: email@example.com
SU Officers: firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Nottingham have opened helplines to enable staff and students to report illness or self-isolation by phone or email. Lines will be open during office hours Monday - Friday. Please be aware that these cannot give medical advice.