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Hi everyone! We, the Sabbatical Team, want to give you an update on what we’ve been doing to represent you, how you can get involved in pushing for changes to benefit students affected by coronavirus and what the next steps are for your time at Northumbria.
What the Sabbs have done so far
Since the University moved all teaching online, the Union has been working with the University to put forward queries and concerns that you’ve raised with us and help influence University decisions.
From the outset we were asking about student accommodation, especially as the government imposed a more stringent lockdown. The University has done the right thing for students in terms of releasing them from their accommodation contracts for term 3 and publicly lobbying private providers to do the same.
You can find out more about the student accommodation issue and what the SU is doing on your behalf here.
The University was an early adopter of a no-detriment policy in Higher Education to give students reassurance.
Your Student Councillors, Leadership and Programme Reps have worked hard from the outset to collate student feedback and channel this to the University through Faculty staff and the Sabbatical team. You can find their details on the Student Portal.
The Sabbaticals meet with the Deputy Vice Chancellor nearly every day to put forward student questions and concerns to make sure the implementation is as smooth as possible and in students’ favour. This has led to constant improvements and clarifications on the Student Portal to ensure it is providing the information students need.
We have also helped explain no detriment and ensure that individual courses receive clarification about how no detriment works in their areas.
We’ve also shared student concerns about the cost of living, the lack of access to IT and the fact that COVID 19 has impacted particularly on international students many of whom are now stuck in the UK and unable to return home.
The University has expanded its hardship fund through a fundraising campaign with alumni. This will allow it to put more resources into the hardship fund, and one of the asks of the SU, provide more support to international students because it uses private donations not fees.
We know that not all alumni will be able to donate, but some will be in a financial position to do so. You can see how much has been raised so far here. We continue to work with the University to ensure the fund is accessible to the widest possible number of students.
Community and Wellbeing
We have also created a Northumbria Corona Community group that offers friendly support, advice and activities for you to get involved with from the comfort of your own home!
Many of our societies have adapted to the lockdown and continue to support members.
- Nightline have re-opened through anonymous email – at any time of the day.
- ISOC are providing a free Iftar meal each evening for students observing Ramadan funded jointly by the Union, the Society and the University.
- FZN Radio have been able to continue broadcasting during lockdown with regular shows promoted via the Corona Community group. FZN's link is here https://www.fznradio.com/
Many societies have moved all activities online – Dance, Mature Student, Postgraduate Research, Running, Musical Theatre, Horror, Computer Video Gaming and Gaming & Roleplay and many others.