Kevin McStravock, UUSU President Blog

Hi everybody, hope your first few weeks have been fun and I hope you haven’t had to deal with the Fresher’s Flu!

Kevin McStravock speaking at launch of UUSU ‘Unique’ new venture in Belfast campus – the new student-led art and design shop

September was a pretty busy month for all at UUSU culminating with our first ever Welcome Week and an action packed week of Fresher’s Fayres. The first highlight of the month for me was attending the RAISE conference in Manchester Met Students’ Union which focused on perspectives on student engagement.

RAISE is a network of academics and students who work together to share ideas and collaborate on projects, with the aim of driving student partnership within education. This was an interesting couple of days of sharing best practice and learning about some of the interesting and engaging manners in which other universities are engaging their students.

Speaking of partnership, we also held Staff Networking Events this month on all of our campuses. The idea of these events was to connect with and collaborate with the breadth of staff on each of the campuses to inform them of the work being undertaken by the Students’ Union and how their students could get involved with UUSU. We were thrilled by both the turnout and the reception at each of these events – it’s incredibly important that we form strong connections with university staff as well as students in order to ensure that we’re able to work together to best support all of you.

I wish I could say that the rest of the month was very quiet but it was really quite the opposite, Saturday 16th saw our first ever Welcome Week kick off! The idea of Welcome Week was to offer a more joined up approach to induction which placed a focus on fostering a sense of community on each campus through events, activities and good-old fashioned fun. From balloon drops to live music and even an It’s A Knockout tournament, all departments within the university worked hard to make sure it was a success.

We were really pleased with how the week unfolded – if you were lucky enough to experience Welcome Week, we’d love to hear your feedback in order to help us make next year even bigger and better. Thankfully, however, the fun didn’t end with Welcome Week as we held our Fresher’s Fayres the following week which gave students a chance to sign up to all of our clubs and societies. Again, we were really pleased with attendance at the Fayres. If you didn’t get a chance to attend the Fayre, or missed out on joining a club or society, click onto our website for information on how to join up.

For me, however, the highlight of this month was the launch of our ‘unique’ new venture in Belfast campus – the new student-led art and design shop. This project has been many months in the making but it officially launched on Thursday 21st September – I was very pleased to be given the opportunity to act as MC for the evening and to officially declare the opening of the shop.

If you haven’t yet visited – it’s open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday and is worth calling into – all of the work has been created by students and alumni so in purchasing something, you’re supporting your fellow students. Likewise, if you have a creative flair yourself, visit ulster.ac.uk/artshop for information on how to submit work.

Thanks for reading everyone, it’s been a busy but rewarding first month of term and it shows no signs of slowing down with Course Rep Training and the European Students Convention amongst the highlights of my calendar for the next month.

Until next month,

Kevin

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