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Durham Students' Union Impact Report 2014-2015
Transcript of Durham Students' Union Impact Report 2014-2015
Anna Kenton - Incoming DUCK Chair
Every term our five Student Officers ask students key questions, to help shape and drive the work we do. These relate to three key topics: the University, the Union and the community.
This year we hosted four voter registration events. We hosted our first events on National Voter Registration Day at both campuses working with Bite the Ballot and on 20 April we hosted final push events in Durham city and Queen’s campus.
Over 1,600 students registered to vote
Every year the Students’ Union makes grant funding available to student groups. Ordinary grant funding can be applied to once a year and this supplies funding to help run their activities and events; Special grants can be applied for to cover expenditure that could not have been reasonably foreseen at the time that ordinary grants were allocated; and start-up grants are for new student groups to help establish these.
Total number questions asked: 21, total number of students spoken to: 800+, locations: Durham and Queen’s Campus
12%: needed more information on how to register
10%: registered to vote in Durham
1%: registered to vote in Stockton South
10%: registered both at home and University constituency
Changes in how people are registered to vote in the UK meant that people can no longer register their entire household, but now registration must be completed by individuals. In the past, many young people would have been registered to vote by their parents, but this change meant that many young people were not registered to vote. We carried out some research to understand what percentage of our students were registered to vote and where they were registered to vote i.e. their home constituency or their university constituency.
What this meant:
We could see there was work to be done on getting more students registered. We also wanted to encourage students to vote in their University constituency, to make the student vote more powerful.
What we did:
We held voter registration events: on National Voter registration day and the final voter registration day. We registered over 1,600 students to vote.
We held Parliamentary candidate debates in Durham City and Stockton South. These were attended by around 200 students, University staff members and local residents.
This year was a General Election year and we wanted to help students get registered to vote and also help them make a more informed choice when voting.
“It was a fantastic debate as it was really informative and insightful”
“Thanks very much for organising the debate and making it such a great success.”
“I still don't know who to vote for but I know more about the candidates so that is a good thing.”
I feel confident that I can make a more informed vote in the General Election
I felt more informed about local candidates running in the election
I felt more informed about national parties running in the General Election
• Total distributed: £30,369.50
• Ordinary grants: £26, 881 to 68 groups
• Start-up grants: £2599 to 13 groups
• Special grants: £889.50 to six groups
A total of 4881 members are part of groups that were awarded grants.
The Union holds a range of training sessions for student groups to attend. These are designed to help them run their group effectively. The sessions are provided free of charge for students to attend. Those specifically invited to the sessions include Union student groups and JCR execs.
Number of participants
November Training Event: 162
June Training Event: Over 150
Number of sessions available
November student group training: 8
1 full day of DUCK training in November
2 day programme for Common Rooms and student groups in June 2015 with:
12 sessions for Common Rooms
10 sessions for student groups
We also held workshops about how to apply for grants.
There are three other student groups could also be classed as media in the Students’ Union: The Bubble (online magazine), The Globalist (international affairs magazine), Conundurham (satirical newspaper)
Student Media forms an important part of the Union and of university life, delivering relevant content made by students, for students. Our student media groups provide great opportunities for developing skills in journalism, film-making, presenting and producing, to name but a few!
Palatinate is the main newspaper produced in Durham Students’ Union. Palatinate is printed ten times per year with a print run of 4000 copies, distributed across Durham City and Queen’s Campus. Included in each issue is Indigo, an arts and features supplement. Palatinate also runs a website that is regularly updated by its editors. Palatinate retains full editorial independence and is run by a team students led by the Editor-in-Chief.
How the Union supports Palatinate
We provide office space for Palatinate to conduct their activities
We print 10 x 4000 copies of the newspaper every year
We offer legal support
We provide training, including media law training which is free for students to attend
We have covered expenses so students can carry-out interviews
55 people are on the Editorial Board – including section editors, sub-editors, photographers and advertising/ publicity officers.
25 students outside the Editorial Board contributed to the last print edition (start of Easter term) and hundreds more contribute towards online content.
Former editors have gone on to work for publications such as:
The Press Association
Students involved learn the following key skills
InDesign and WordPress
Finding / researching stories
Working to tight deadlines
Launched in 1993, Purple Radio is a student-run radio station that broadcasts from Dunelm House in Durham. Throughout term time Purple Radio broadcasts 24 hours a day online and encourages their members to run and create their own programmes and original content. The station gets lots of feedback through their messenger app and regular engagement with students on social media. They have interviewed famous artist including Hudson Taylor, The Kaiser Chiefs and the Wombats and have 176 active members.
How the Union supports Purple Radio
The Union provides a space for Purple Radio to broadcast
The Union works closely with Purple to offer opportunities to promote the station including a collaborative weekly night in the Students’ Union and broadcasting during the Union Fair. During Easter term this year, we began broadcasting the station in Dunelm House
Students involved get to learn a range of skills including
Previous exec members have gone on to work at:
BBC Radio Research and Development team
Google Server Management
Other local stations
“There's a lot that the station's given me the chance to be involved with. My main passion is with live music and outside broadcast events and through the station's tech team I'm heading up the technical team and stage managing four college days this summer! I've also got into DJing with the station's Friday night live DJ night and as a result I am now booked to DJ at a few summer balls too! The socials have been a great way to meet new people involved in the station that you never knew before, and in general being a part of the station's a great way to meet people too!
“Station management in particular has just reinforced this more, although I've just come into the role, I've still gained webcasting and networking skills, I never had before through troubleshooting and fixing streams for our outside broadcasts, and this has also lead to me pursue work experience with BBC Radio over summer!”
Jack Clare, station manager 2015-2016
Durham Student Productions is a society that aims to produce original content for video media (film and TV). Their videos receive anything from 50 up to 600 views each.
• Between 5 – 15 students
Most popular videos:
Welcome Ball coverage (391 views)
Inside Durham (573, 606 views)
Durham's Deals (315 views)
Hadrian: the Man and the Wall (531 views) (festival entry film)
Catherine (891 views)
48 hour films (679, 648 views)
Students have gained work experience/jobs in the industry at places such as:
Hat Trick Productions
Students involve get to learn a range of skills including:
Lighting a set
One student now charges for his filming services as a cameraman at weddings and events
One alumna data wrangler and camera operator for several major film
“Being involved with student media has given me the chance to learn skills such as operating a basic DSLR, setting up a tripod and how to light a set, as well as developing my organisational and people management skills significantly. It has increased my resourcefulness (e.g. 'we're missing a tripod - use the lightstand, it'll be fine for stationary shooting', or 'the light's broken - and all we have to fix it is masking tape and blu tack' or 'we need something that looks like a drug and dissolves in water and we need it in the next ten minutes'), and has allowed me to develop relationships with professional hire companies and other areas of the University, such as Estates and Buildings. It has also taught me the importance of collaboration: such as collaboration with Bede Film Soc to produce the Film Festival, and collaboration with DARO to ensure that alumni are aware of our work.
“Being the President of a media group has allowed me to develop key leadership skills, such as making sure that new members are taught the right skills by the right person, keeping up with admin, and ensuring that everyone feels included and valued, and diplomacy in negotiation with other groups. Two of the key elements to a group's success, especially a new group, are the publicity and the core values of the group. I realised that those must be defined and promoted.”
Zenia Selby Durham Student TV President 2014-15 and spearheaded the creation of Durham Student Productions.
Zach Hodari - Quidditch Club
Galane Luo & James Boobier - Photography
"I was really impressed by the effort put into recognising the people who have contributed to the student’s experience here at Durham. I have never seen anything like this before and I was truly humbled.
"This really motivates me to give my best to the students and encourages me to further improve."
Dr Kislon Voitchovsky, Winner Outstanding Academic Science Award
"Durham gives students lots of opportunities to volunteer and take initiative, and we receive all the support we need to do this"
Amy Campo McEvoy,
Winner Outstanding Individual Contribution to Community
Assembly is the highest democratic body in the Union, which includes 40 voting members. Any student can submit an idea to Assembly. This idea is debated by those present, including both voting and non-voting members. The voting members then cast their vote in favour or against an idea.
13 ideas were approved by Assembly during the 2014-15 academic year.
The Union has 11 sub-committees of Assembly, with 122 student representatives participating in these. Each of these committees work on different areas from; academic affairs, to DUCK, to the community.
Every year, international students may face unexpected increases in their tuition fees which they are unable to plan for. During the 2013-14 academic year, Assembly agreed an idea to call on the University to resolve this issue and fix international tuition fees for the duration of a course. We ran a high profile campaign and wrote to the acting Vice Chancellor to highlight this issue.
Following our campaign, the University have now agreed that they will fix international tuition fees for the duration of a course, for all students starting in the 2016-17 academic year onwards.
Welfare, Equality and Diversity committee identified that they wanted to tackle the issue of sexual consent; the committee researched best practice from the National Union of Students and other students’ unions and submitted an idea to Assembly. Assembly approved this idea which would call on the University to introduce mandatory sexual consent workshops to be delivered to all students during induction 2016.
As a first step, we delivered active bystander training to exec members. Active bystander training is designed to give students the confidence to confront sexual harassment when they see it. The training has been designed so it can be delivered by student leaders to other students, ensuring an effective peer-to-peer approach.
"I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Union was offering this and that it was free, as I was feeling slightly anxious about becoming an exec member and what it would entail. Please keep the Student Group Training running next year - possibly even more frequently would be beneficial to many for support throughout the year when hurdles arise."
Student Feedback on June 2015 Training
Following lobbying from the Union, the University last year agreed the Principals of Student Engagement. This agreement means that the University will consult with the student body, wherever reasonable, if they are intending to change anything which could impact on the student experience.
Students were consulted via a series of focus groups during the new Vice Chancellor recruitment
Students were consulted on the University's Academic Strategy
9 February - 13 March:
Total passengers safely transported: 1169
April 19 - June 19 2015:
Total passengers safely transported: 2258
Total usage over two terms:
Total passengers safely transported: 3427
The Union operates the night bus service in Durham City every night throughout term, providing a safe and secure way for students to get home in the evening.
Ensure students have sufficient, varied and appropriate opportunities to develop their skills and qualities.
Students groups can organise events in the Riverside Bar and Café throughout the year. We’ve had a wide range of groups host events like weekly nights such as the Domino's Pub Quiz and Friday Night Live with Purple Radio. Many groups also hosted socials, performances, and other events in the space.
"The two events put on by the Durham University Big Band last year at the Riverside Bar were big highlights for us as a society. As with any of our events, there is a lot of musical preparation and professional musical development, but these two specifically gave us fantastic opportunities to engage with the wider student community. Elements of preparation such as: producing vibrant promotional material, effective marketing/advertising and social media coverage were absolutely key to the success of these events, both in terms of attendance and the fulfillment of our own society aims."
Tristan Bacon - President, Durham University Big Band
About Grace House North East
Grace House North East offer specialist short break care to children aged 5-18 from across the region who have complex physical disabilities, health needs and life limiting conditions. These children can meet friends and enjoy fun activities. The charity’s aim is that disabled children should come and have the time of their lives, while their families have a break from caring.
How the fund was used
The fund was used to purchase a portable suction machine. This is a specialist piece of equipment that is used with children with complex disabilities and health needs. It removes thick mucus and secretions from the trachea and lower airway that they are not able to clear by coughing. The children who will use Grace House can become very poorly very quickly, and having portable suction machines around to use at a minute’s notice is crucial for us to care for the children safely.
“We are very grateful to everyone who helped to raise money, and we look forward to inviting you to Grace House just prior to opening, so that you can see the impact of your contribution to our service.” (Karen Parry, CEO)
Wear Valley Riding for the Disabled Association
Wear Valley R.D.A. serves the needs of disabled people throughout County Durham. It is the only riding for the disabled association in the county. They have approximately 130 disabled people of all ages who ride or drive with them at various times. Last year they provided almost 6,500 rides, a number that increases every year. The group is run totally by volunteers.
How the fund was used
The money has enabled the charity to buy new essential equipment and in particular specialist equipment to make riding easier and more accessible. Specifically in 2013 the fund bought new riding equipment including special reins and hats, in 2014 the fund paid their annual insurance costs, and this year the fund will be used to buy more new hats as E.U. regulations dictate that the old ones are no longer suitable due to health and safety concerns.
“Thank you very much for allowing me to have a week’s work experience at your riding school. I really enjoyed it and I will never forget the experience as it was very rewarding being part of the group and helping the disabled people ride. I will treasure the smiles on their faces and the relief of being out of their wheelchairs.” (Feedback from a student)
About Contact the Elderly
Contact the Elderly organise monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for people aged 75 and over, who live alone with little or no support from friends, family or statutory services. The afternoons are full of fun and laughter and make a real difference to the lives of our older guests.
How the fund was used
To enable a minimum of 8 guests (who feel isolated from their communities) to have a day a month to look forward to whether it be a tea with the hosts or day trip away from their homes with others.
“I really did enjoy myself, we had a gorgeous afternoon, it was quite a change to get out and about and. it was so nice to spend time with younger people, we had a lovely time putting the world to rights.” (Kathleen)
“The parties are great. I enjoy meeting the young people. It is so much better chatting to them than talking about ailments all the time!” (Jean)
“Your facilities are excellent. If only other walks of life could follow your example we would have a fantastic society. You should be so very proud of yourselves.” (A visitor from another area)
“Thank you for letting us come and ride your horses. We all enjoyed it. We hope we can come back again.” (A 7 year old from a special school)
Being involved in student groups, or as a Union committee member gives students opportunities to learn and develop. They lead the various groups, meetings and organise a range of events throughout the year.
Daniel Morgan Thomas - Chair of Assembly
2014-2015 Highlight Reel
Each year we celebrate those students and University staff members who have made an outstanding contribution to the student experience or local community. All students are welcomed to come together at the social event.
In partnership with the Politics and International Relations Society, we hosted two Parliamentary Candidate debates, one for Durham city and one for Stockton South. We invited the local candidates from each of the major political parties to attend the event.
Impact: 200 students, staff members and members of the local community attended the debates.
We asked those who attended for feedback on how useful the event was in preparing them to vote.
DUCK organise a range of fundraising social events for all students and the local community to get involved with; ranging from the DUCK carnival to the annual DUCK race. These activities are not only fun social events which bring students from different colleges together, but they also raise vital funds to go into the DUCK allocations.