Sheffield SU: open and supporting you

A picture of the SU President

‘Although Sheffield is currently in Tier Three (very high) Covid-19 restrictions, we want you to know that our SU building remains open and we continue our work to support, represent, and enhance your student life.

Your wellbeing continues to be our priority. There are a wealth of services to support you at this time. The Student Advice Centre is operating online and you can find other support via our Health and Wellbeing webpages. SAMHS (Student Access to Mental Health Support) are also currently fast streaming self isolating students for counselling.

Your SU Officers continue to represent your interests and work with the University to ensure you receive the quality learning and teaching experience promised to every student. We’re also continuing to explore further opportunities to deliver safe social activities for you.

Please ensure you follow the newly updated restrictions which mean not mixing with other households including friends and family. I know how tough this year may be feeling but working together now will hopefully result in fewer restrictions in the future.

In this section you’ll find updates on some of the key areas that we’re working on, including learning and teaching, self isolating, and libraries. We’re working hard behind the scenes to stand up for students, so be sure to read the weekly SU Highlights email and follow us on Instagram (@SU_OfficerTeam and @sheffieldsu), Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date. We are doing weekly live sessions, so please tune in and submit any questions. If you have suggestions on how you’d like to hear from us and stay informed on what we’re doing, please do email me at su-president@sheffield.ac.uk.

Take care,

Beth, SU President

Chapters
  1. Libraries and study spaces
  2. Learning and teaching
  3. Self isolation and Covid-19
  4. SU building
  5. Fee refunds and compensation
  6. How can the SU help?
  7. A note about housing

Libraries and study spaces

We understand how much of a priority access to libraries, and in particular study space, is for you right now. In our recent Powered By Students Instagram Poll 85% of the 503 students who responded said that they were not happy with this year’s library provision and that study space was most important to them.

In direct response to your concerns we have opened up Uni Central in the SU Building (on Level 4) to provide additional warm, safe, and comfortable study space. There’s no need to book, free reliable WiFi, and you can even order food and soft drinks from Bar One and Coffee Revolution directly to your table from our easy to use Student Orders app. You can also access a Covid safe printer in Garden View on Level 3.

We have also been speaking with Library staff and the University Vice-Chancellor to highlight this issue, and have been pushing for them to expand available space as soon as it is safe to do so. We therefore welcome the latest news that levels 3 and 4 in the Information Commons, and Inox Dine have reopened (booking available at connect2). We have also been assured that by mid November, opening hours will be extended.

We continue to listen to your concerns and ideas, and thank all the students who have already given us feedback on this issue.

Learning and teaching

We have and continue to feedback your learning and teaching experiences to the relevant members of staff in the University. Our four student members of University Senate were extremely impressive - feeding back their experiences around quality of learning, and the Officer Team are currently in the process of organising an Ask Your University event, where you’ll be able to directly ask senior University staff your questions about learning and teaching, accommodation, money and support.

  • We have and continue to feedback your learning and teaching experiences to the relevant members of staff in the University. Our four student members of University Senate were extremely impressive - feeding back their experiences around quality of learning, and the Officer Team are currently in the process of organising an Ask Your University event, where you’ll be able to directly ask senior University staff your questions about learning and teaching, accommodation, money and support.
  • Financial Support available:
  • Academic reps are an invaluable way to communicate with your department.
  • Returning reps are already there to hear your concerns so do contact them. You can find your rep or apply to become one yourself.

Self isolation and Covid-19

We’re all aware that self isolation is the most effective way to stop the spread of the virus. If anybody in your living space has tested positive or has any of the three key symptoms - a high temperature (37.8 degrees or higher), new continuous cough, loss of taste and / or smell - the household must self-isolate for 14 days. I know for a fact that so many students are already using their initiative and protecting our community already, and this is having an impact. Cases of Coronavirus amongst University of Sheffield students are currently in decline and that is thanks to you following the guidelines and looking out for one another Thank you so much.

The University is supporting those who are self isolating in University residences - you can find out more on their website. We are aware that not all students are receiving the support and care they need when self isolating and your International Students’ Officer, Iuri has been speaking with University colleagues about how to address these pressing issues.

There are also a number of student support services available.

Currently, SAMHS (Student Access to Mental Health Support) has a fast stream to the Counselling Service for those self isolating.

The University also runs a Wellbeing Service, offering short-term, tailored one to one support.

Appointments can be booked directly at Wellbeing Advisor.

If you’d like to discuss your experience self-isolating and the University’s support provision, please contact Holly, your Welfare Officer at welfare.officer@sheffield.ac.uk

There are also a number of online activities and opportunities for you to engage with, including our Give it a Go programme with many activities free, and a wealth of online volunteering opportunities.

SU building

We want to reassure you that the SU Building, and many outlets and spaces, remain open providing a safe, welcoming environment for you within local Tier 3 guidelines.

Bar One continues to serve its tasty burgers and more; however you must purchase a meal alongside alcoholic drinks in line with the new restrictions. The Interval Kitchen and Bar is temporarily closed. Remember you can always order Bar One food to be delivered to your door via the City Grab app!

All other spaces and outlets remain open as before though visitors must be in a group of no more than 6 and from the same household.

Fee refunds and compensation

We understand current frustrations about value for money and tuition fees.

We have raised this topic with the University Vice Chancellor who has said that he will be held accountable if students feel like they are not receiving a value for money experience. There is no legal precedent for fee compensation, but it’s something that we and other SU’s across the country are exploring, and we’ll be back in touch as this develops.

How can the SU help?

Your SU Officers are your student representatives: it is our job to further your cause and enhance your student life. Please utilise us!

The Student Advice Centre is operating online.

There is a wealth of activity happening at the Students’ Union. We have hundreds of student groups running online and physical activity.

There are hundreds of online activities and opportunities available through our Give it a Go programme, from dance and crafts, to quizzes and campaigning - plus many are free! Our Volunteering programme also offers you lots of opportunities to make impact in the city, with many opportunities online.

If you’re passionate about having a say in your education, why not become an Academic Rep? We’re recruiting now! Or how about standing for our Students’ Union Council to represent student views and have a say in how your SU is run. Nominations are open 26th - 29h October.

A note about housing

Holly, your Welfare Officer is sharing guidance about house hunting for next year. Our message is to take time to sign, with Covid-19 in mind. Don’t rush into signing a housing contract, there is a large surplus of student housing in Sheffield and it is difficult to get out of a contract once you’ve signed. You should feel no pressure to sign for a house for next year until after the Christmas vacation at the earliest. If landlords tell you there is a shortage they are not telling the truth!