SU Candidate: Naomi Batley, Equal Opportunities & Welfare Officer

Another day, another day of campaigning! This time Her Campus caught up with Naomi, an Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer candidate! 

Course: Psychology

Year: Third

You have an impressive amount of experience inside and outside of the university, which roles have provided you with the best experience to be Equal Opportunities & Welfare Officer (EO&W)?

I'd say working as Welfare Exec for hall committees. It involved managing a team of 40 welfare reps across a large number of halls. I think it gave me a greater insight into the specific issues that students are facing and also involved a lot of working with various campaigns and events surrounding EO&W, which would certainly transfer to the role.

What sorts of campaigns did you get the opportunity to work with?

Quite a few: we worked on a random act of kindness which involved a whole committee within a hall. The acts ranged from writing post it notes of kind words, writing Christmas cards for everyone in the hall including staff and running an Easter egg hunt. We also conducted hall wide mental and sexual health awareness events as part of campaign weeks.

How do you believe the roles of personal tutors and peer mentors should be expanded?

I 'd say providing them with more information on services they can signpost to if a student is struggling and also some active listening training would be good. Sometimes students who are struggling at uni just want someone to listen to how they're feeling. Sometimes they want that person to be someone they're familiar with or can have face-to-face contact with; that's why I think it's so important that they are able to give both pastoral and logistical care.

Which area of welfare do you aim to improve first and how?

I would say the training sides of things as well as Welcome. Some of my points surround training in different aspects of university life, including society committees, welfare reps, peer mentors etc. Since there are a number of training sessions for different roles that happen in September/ October time I think it would be important to organise how to improve these first. I would also want to make sure to get more of a student voice for people that have held these roles.

Welcome is another priority and I intend to incorporate my ideas, such as implementing a welfare mentor and working on the rota for Welcome to ensure that volunteers have an adequate break. I'd work on this with the whole Welcome committee to make sure there are enough volunteers to do the roles that is not detrimental to their health.

Please explain your proposed ‘STARS’ point system?

I actually began working on this system last year during my time as Welfare Exec for hall committee. It would essentially involve ensuring that halls don't just have night out socials. These would be included in the STARS system but it would also encourage Welfare initiatives, events and campaigns as well as giving points for inclusive, careers, Environment and Social justice campaigns, physical health, sexual health and mental health events as well as specific information sessions about how the JCR committee works and events that encourage students within the hall to meet others with similar interests. Sometimes hall committees can feel as though they are left to their own devices with not a lot of knowledge of the breadth of events and campaigns they can run to enhance the student experience of everyone in their hall. My hope is that the STARS training would provide a basis for them to improve this.

Read her manifesto here: http://www.studentleaderelections.co.uk/manifestos/

Image courtesy of Naomi Adele Batley

Vote here: http://www.studentleaderelections.co.uk

Edited by Jenine Tudtud