Welcome from the Student Officers

A very warm and festive welcome to the December/ January edition of our newsletter. We'll be in touch every month this academic year with all of the latest news and events unless you ask us to stop by unsubscribing.

It's hard to believe that we are already rapidly approaching the end of another calendar year. It's fair to say it's been another eventful and successful one here at TUSU. Check out the very best bits in our Impact Report and video, well done again to everyone who has contributed to a superb 2019!

In this edition, we are also looking back at last month's Annual General Meeting (AGM), thanks to everyone who attended and approved everything we proposed. And we're looking ahead to the fantastic opportunities presented by our Student Officer and National Union of Students (NUS) National Conference Rep Elections 2020.

And, wherever you stand politically, if you are eligible to vote in the General Election, then we'd urge you to do so this Thursday (if you haven't already with a postal vote!). We understand that politics can sometimes be frustrating, we know it can sometimes seem as though voting makes no difference. However, past generations fought and died for the right you have now, and if you don't vote, then you really do have no voice in what happens. Please do take a couple of minutes to have your say. You can find out more and get some of the most frequently asked questions answered by clicking here.

Finally, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, we hope you have a safe, happy, and relaxing break…we've all definitely earned one! You can watch our not remotely cringe holiday vid by clicking here and check out our digital holiday card by clicking here. There are details of changes to our opening hours from 13th December 2019 to 6th January 2020 and some top tips on staying safe and reducing your chances of being affected by crime further in the newsletter.

Season's greetings and happy holidays to everyone!

Alan, George, and Sophie – Student Officers 2019/20.

tees-su.org.uk/officers

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SU holiday opening hours

Teesside University Students' Union (TUSU) reverts to holiday opening hours from Friday, 13th December to Monday, 6th January. Student Officer and service availability is affected as follows.

• The SU Building is closed at weekends after Friday, 13th December, until Monday, 6th January, and only open until 5pm (except for external events) from Monday, 16th to Friday, 20th December. The building is completely closed from 5pm on Friday, 20th December to 8am on Thursday, 2nd January 2020.

• There will be at least one Student Officer available for students to speak to until and including Friday, 20th December. The team will not then be contactable or available for meetings until Monday, 6th January 2020.

• The Terrace and The Hub are closed to students after 13th December and will not re-open until Mon, 6th January 2020.

• The SU Shop will remain open from 9am to 3pm until and including Thursday, 19th December, subject to sufficient trade. Any changes to these opening hours will be publicised on our social media and in the building.

SU Student Support (SUSS) will close at 4pm on Friday, 13th December, and will not re-open until Thursday, 2nd January 2020. Their Nightline service will also not be available again after this weekend until Saturday, 11th January 2020. If you urgently need to talk to someone, please remember that Mind and The Samaritans are available. In a mental health emergency, please ALWAYS contact 999 IMMEDIATELY.

• The SU Welcome Desk and TUSU Activities services close on Thursday, 19th December at 5pm and will not open again until Monday, 6th January, at 9am.

• The SU Studio and Snooze Rooms will close on Friday, 13th December, and not be available to students again until Monday, 6th January, at 9am.

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291 students join us for the AGM 2019

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place on Tuesday, 19th November, and we were delighted to welcome 291 students. It was their chance to hear from the Student Officers about their plans for the rest of the year and put questions/ make suggestions.

They also:

• Accepted our accounts for the past financial year and approved the company that will independently audit them next year. This ensures that every penny we spend is accounted for and definitely in the interest of students.

• Agreed to continue our affiliation with The National Union of Students (NUS).

• Gave the go-ahead for minor changes to Students' Union bylaws, which govern the way that the SU is run for students. And agreed with small changes to the way that the Student Officer and NUS National Conference Rep Elections 2020 will be run while approving the plans for the Returning Officer.

If you have any specific questions about what was agreed at the meeting and what it means, don't hesitate to contact enquiries@tees-su.org.uk.

You can watch full video highlights of the meeting and check out detailed minutes from it through tees-su.org.uk/agm.

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Start the holidays in style with Festive Friday.

The holidays officially begin on Friday, 13th December and we think that warrants a party! Don't miss another epic Festive Friday here in the SU Building!

• FREE mince pies and mulled wine if you're one of the first 200 through the doors.

• Festive giveaways and gifts throughout the day.

• Delicious Christmas Dinner at a bargain £5.95 from 12pm to 3pm.

• Christmas Karaoke Disco from 3pm to 8pm, sing your heart out to seasonal classics, and watch stellar performances from others.

• Top tunes, discount drinks and loads of festive fun from 8pm until late with our resident DJs.

And we'll be joining in the fun across our main social media with a Festive Friday take over. So just posts about the best moments of our year and fun stuff all day and night!

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Save on your Christmas shopping...get TOTUM now!!

TOTUM, provided by The National Union of Students (NUS), is the only official student discount card and app, and the only one we endorse! If you haven't already bought the card and downloaded the app, why not do it before the festive season starts? You can get it at a bargain price for a limited time only and it's a great way to save cash on Christmas gifts and spending over the holidays! There's discounts on food, drink, cinema, music, fashion, travel and loads more! It also acts as proof of age and includes the International Student ID Card (ISIC) within it.  Click here now to order your TOTUM card and download the app.

And remember, TOTUM is not just for Christmas...it's valid for 12 months from the date that you purchase it! You'll also be helping TUSU out as we receive a cut of each sale plus payments based on how often you use the app.

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Fancy leading your SU next year? Start planning now

TUSU is led by three Student Officers (President Education, President Activities, President Welfare) who are elected by students just like you every Feb/ Mar. Any current student* can run for the roles and they’re a unique opportunity to lead the Students’ Union, gain unrivalled experience and skills other graduates can only dream about and get paid over £21,000 per year for the privilege.

At the same time, a small group of current students are elected to represent Teesside University at the National Union of Students (NUS) National Conference. Another incredible opportunity gain experience and skills while making a real difference for students and having a say about some of the biggest decisions facing the national student movement such as who leads it in 2020/21 and what policies TUSU adopts.

You can stand in the elections from Feb 2020 and we know it’s still a while away but the sooner you find out more and start planning the better! So why not check out tees-su.org.uk/elections for a wealth of handy info, speak to current Student Officers and/ or chat to key support staff by e-mailing: elections@tees-su.org.uk.

*There are a few circumstances that may prevent you being a Trustee at the Students' Union including a criminal record and previously being declared bankrupt. If you're unsure contact us through the elections e-mail for a confidential discussion.

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Our incredible impact in 2019

We hope you'll agree that it's been another brilliant year at TUSU! We feel that our Student Officers, student reps, and staff have all made a massive impact on the lives of thousands of students, and the stats prove it.

There has been national recognition, sporting success, and societies that grew and shone. Our services have continued to deliver, student awards and celebrations, high profile campaigns and loads, loads more to celebrate!

We look back at the very best of everything in our Impact Report and Impact Video and profile some of the students who have benefited from getting involved in their SU. We'd love it if you gave them both a look over the holidays, printed copies of the report available from Mon, 6th January 2020.

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Have your say in the General Election next Thursday!

You probably know by now that there is a General Election in the UK this coming Thursday. If you're eligible to vote, we would urge you to take the time to do so, assuming you haven't already with a postal vote!).

We know it can sometimes seem as though voting doesn't change anything or that your voice isn't represented by any of the parties. However, if you care about any or all of the following… getting a good job when you graduate, being able to buy your own place at some point, the NHS, education, climate change, world affairs, equality, crime… to name just a few things, then you should vote!

Your vote will decide who the individual who represents the area that you are originally from or studying in (remember that you can only vote in one of these). However, it will also help to decide which party or parties govern the country. It DOES matter, it CAN make a difference, and you SHOULD take the time to do it.

Get loads more info and answers to some frequent General Election questions through tees-su.org.uk/gefaq.

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Blow away the January blues with Refresh 2020

We know that the holidays haven't even started yet, but we're always looking ahead! From Mon, 20th to Fri, 24th January, we will have a great range of day and evening events to get you settled back into student life!

You can expect…

• Freebies and fun from many of our biggest commercial partners.

• The chance to get active and involved through our sports events and a day dedicated to our wonderful clubs and societies.

• Support and info with campaign days.

• Big evening events, including the return of our Monday Night Quiz, a massive German bierkeller, and more.

• Massive vintage clothing and poster sales at bargain prices.

We'll add a full list of events and planner to tees-su.org.uk/refresh soon so, please keep checking that and our social media.

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Bit more time over the holidays? Complete our surveys to win up to £500

Our year-round Student Opinion Counts (SOC) campaign is your chance to tell us about your student experience and win BIG CASH PRIZES for taking the time to do so! The more surveys you complete the more money you can win…complete all four to be in with a shot of winning £500!!!

SOC is divided into four short, simple surveys that launch at different points in the academic year and cover… • The challenges you face in your everyday student life and your opinion of how well the University helps you meet them. • Your opinion on how well-led and run the Students’ Union is and how aware you are of everything we offer. • Your opinion of our opportunities for you to get more from student life and become more employable through clubs, societies, and other activities. • Your opinion on the support, advice, and representation we provide. • Your opinion on the evening events and venues we provide.

Find out more and complete them through tees-su.org.uk/soc.

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TUSU is proud to be a partner in the LGBTQ North East Awards 2020

Teesside University Students' Union (TUSU) is delighted to confirm that we will be a partner in the prestigious LGBTQ North East Awards 2020. We'll be working with organisers Rainbow Foundation to encourage our students to both nominate individuals and organisations for the awards and to cast votes. One of the categories will also be named as in association with TUSU, and we will be represented at the event next spring.

Rainbow Foundation, a registered charity based in the North East, supports the LGBTQ community across the region. The awards celebrate the positive contribution of individuals, businesses, and organisations have made in their communities and are coming into their third year. They also provide volunteering opportunities for students from across the North East which, this year, will include some from Teesside University.

George Reeves, President Activities at TUSU, said: "We are always looking to widen the range of partnerships we have with organisations around the region, so it's fantastic to become part of what I know is a brilliant event. Here at TUSU, we do all we possibly can to ensure LGBTQ+ students feel represented, accepted, and respected, and this is another indication of our ongoing commitment."

Ryan Houston from The Rainbow Foundation added: "We're thrilled to see Teesside University Students' Union join us for the 2020 awards. Over the last few years, the awards have grown in size, and have spread across the region, providing people with a chance to celebrate the individuals, organisations and community groups that make a difference to their communities."

James Matthias Lea, Chair of the LGBTQ+ Teesside University Society, was also delighted by the news. "We all work hard to provide safe, inclusive, and fun spaces for LGBTQ+ students on campus. But it's also great to link up with other individuals and groups from around the region to do even more. We are looking forward to helping promote the awards to Teesside Uni students and encouraging as much participation in them as possible."

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Season's Greeting from the Teesside Uni Accommodation Team

The Accommodation Team at the University would like to wish you all a very happy and peaceful holiday and every good wish for 2020. Don't forget that you can stay with us in our on-campus halls and houses next year and you can sign up now. There are so many advantages to staying with us:

• On-campus living for your whole time at University

• Up to 100mb free Wi-Fi • Bills included

• Free contents Insurance

• Live-in Student Wardens

• Security on campus 24/7

• Support of the University behind you

• Your friendly Accommodation team!

Have a great break, and we hope to see you at our Free Pizza Giveaway nights where you can come and chat and sign up to stay with us, on your own or with a group of friends, we can accommodate you all. Wednesday 22nd January, Monday 27th January from 5pm – 7pm on the ground floor of the Student Life Building.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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Calling final year students…The National Student Survey is coming!

The National Student Survey (NSS) is one of the biggest and most influential student surveys around. It's a chance for most final year students at Teesside University to have your say about your entire student experience over the past few years. This includes teaching, learning, feedback, resources, facilities, and of course, your Students' Union.

Your feedback has a significant impact on the future strategic direction of both the University and the Students' Union. And you could win great prizes for you and your fellow students in return for your feedback.

The survey is open from mid-January, and you can complete it by clicking here.

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School and Course Reps – Winning for students!

The Student Officers work closely with our fantastic team of School and Course Reps to deliver for students. Here's some of their wins since they got started at the end of September:

  • School of Health and Life Sciences students ran a poll asking students about recent changes to access to buildings on campus which are intended to make them more secure. Respondents said it would be helpful to have an app on their phone that opened doors for them and Alan Lofthouse (President Education) took the feedback to the Uni. Students can now download an app to their phone, you just need to speak to staff on the ground floor of the Teesside Uni Library at their help desk about it.
  • School of Computing, Engineering, and Digital Technologies School Reps are helping to brighten up The Greig and Europa Buildings. They are showcasing recent work from a range of students in the school on walls in there.
  • Over 140 Course Reps have attended conferences and forums organised by representation staff and School Reps in the past few weeks giving them another vital opportunity to have their say. A special mention to the School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies Reps who attracted over 60 students to their forum.
  • One of the Reps above also recently got confirmation from their school that most engineering students can download the important Solidworks software free of charge.
  • Business School Rep Nicolle Collins worked with the SU on a Christmas Market. The event took place on Mon, 2nd December here in the SU Building with over 20 stalls selling festive food, drink, decorations, and more to hundreds of happy visitors.

 

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Student Safety Tips

TUSU works closely with the University and external partners such as Cleveland Police year-round to try to keep students safe and minimise your chances of being affected by crime. We hope your festive holiday period is safe and fun, here are a few tips on how to keep it that way: • It's not usual for people to struggle with their mental health over the holiday period for a variety of reasons. Our Nightline service will not, unfortunately, be available, but if you're struggling with depression, anxiety, or loneliness, there are agencies ready and willing to help. Mind and The Samaritans will both be maintaining their services throughout the festive period. In a mental health emergency, please ALWAYS contact 999 IMMEDIATELY.

• If you are away from rented accommodation over the holiday period, make sure that you try to keep any valuables you are leaving out of sight and as secure as possible. In addition, we know it might seem obvious, but make sure windows and doors are properly locked! You should also check that taps are turned off, and any unnecessary devices are fully powered down.

• If you are going to be away, why not also ask a neighbour or friend that you trust to keep an eye on your accommodation or any vehicles that you are leaving?

• Christmas tends to be a busy period for parties! As always, we'd urge you to drink alcohol in moderation, avoid mixing drinks, and be vigilant about possible drink spiking when you're socialising.

• We'd also strongly recommend against using any illegal drugs, especially if they are supplied by someone you don't know.

• NEVER drink alcohol then drive! It may be tempting and seem convenient, but it can and, sadly, often does end in tragedy.

• If you're out and about at night in unfamiliar places, then try to stay in well-lit areas and in a group of people that you know.

• If you're partying in communal areas, please be aware that most Local Authorities have public spaces protection orders in place. These are primarily designed to crack down on persistent perpetrators of anti-social behaviour. However, if you are considered to be drunk and disorderly in public, you could find yourself in contravention of it and receive a fine of up to £1,000…not a nice Christmas present!!!