An interview with the Hull University Union Welfare Officer

Published: Tuesday 29th August 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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On Saturday 16 September, thousands of new and returning students will arrive in the city.

To ensure that they get used to the campus and understand what’s on offer as soon as possible, a team is in place to communicate key messages and drive involvement.

Hull University Union is based on the Cottingham Road campus and is the HQ for five Student Officers that are elected annually. Their roles cover different areas, namely Education, Activities, Welfare and Community, Sports, and a President who oversees the Union’s activity for that academic year.

We spoke to the new Welfare and Community Officer, Jennie Watts, to find out more about her role.

Hi Jennie. Can you first of all tell us about your focus areas?

The role of the Welfare Zone within HUU is to promote and encourage the growth of inclusivity and diversity on campus, and also provide student representation within the wider community.

What kind of activity does this include?

HUU does some fantastic work within Hull. Not only are we involved in City of Culture activity through societies and volunteering, but we also do a lot of community projects. These range from campaigning to improve lighting, to regular litter picks.

So a large part of it is working to improve the local community?

That’s right. One of our biggest and longest running community campaigns is Don’t Be A Rubbish Neighbour (DBARN). This involves education around waste disposal and community relations all year round, with collection days organised with Hull City Council for students to dispose of larger items properly.

We also partner up with the #LoveHullHateLitter campaign from Hull City Council and get students involved throughout the year, benefiting everyone.

Part of the activity in the coming year is HullSTARS’ No Rush, No Pressure, No Problem campaign. This encourages students to take their time over signing for houses for the following academic year and alerts them to things to watch out for.

Both of these campaigns have been, and are still, hugely successful amongst students due to the benefits they have on the local community. I am very excited to be able to work on them in the upcoming year to expand and increase their reach even further.

What else do you work on as part of your role?

We run campaigns throughout the year to improve student wellbeing. These include everything from mental health events, to individual campaigns run by the liberation groups on campus (LGBT+, Women’s, Disability, and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic). We also organise safety campaigns run through LINKS (HUU’s St John’s Ambulance branch), such as CPR drop-in sessions for students and staff.

These campaigns to improve wellbeing and overall experience whilst at the University of Hull is fundamental to what we do as a student union, encouraging students to engage and participate in the wider community.

And we hear that students are in for a treat when they arrive on campus. Can you tell us more?

WelcomeFest is a fortnight of welcome events of all shapes and sizes, from Scouting for Girls performing live in Asylum, to City of Culture tours and seeing Jane Eyre at Hull New Theatre.

Students can find out more by visiting welcomefest.co.uk. Meanwhile, they can save money through our WelcomeFest wristband, which gets them into events at Welly Club and The Piper as well as on the campus.

Enjoy more Hull and East Yorkshire news on HEY Today

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Published: Tuesday 29th August 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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