A very warm welcome to a special edition of our newsletter. We usually get in touch every month between September and May of the academic year with our very latest updates, and we only stop if you tell us to by unsubscribing.
However, these are obviously not normal times, and so we thought, as your Student Officer team for 2020/21, that we would drop you a line with the very latest on our and the University’s re-opening plans and Freshers 2020. We also wanted to properly introduce the new President Welfare (Elisha) who joined the team on Monday, 6th July, and there is more on her in the next article.
We hope that we find you and your families in good health and that you are continuing to adapt to the new normal. Sadly the threat of coronavirus is far from over despite the recent relaxation of some lockdown measures, and we know it remains a challenge to everyone’s mental health. We will continue to do all that we can to support you through our website and social media over the summer months and remember that we are always happy to hear from you through firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help. Our advice team will aim to get back to you as quickly as possible though they are naturally very busy at present so it may take a little longer than usual.
Teesside University has recently written to students and published their plans for gradually re-opening the campus and the “hybrid learning” approach they will take in Semester 1. We will continue to work in close partnership with them to ensure your voice is heard and all students get a first-rate learning experience however it is delivered.
We outline our plans for re-opening our building and the services/ venues that are likely to be available in the article further down this newsletter and on tees-su.org.uk/coronasupport. We, like the University, are keen to welcome students back in our building as soon as possible, and everyone continues to work hard on creating an environment where risk is minimal, and everyone can feel comfortable.
Keep an eye on our social media and website over the summer for the latest updates and details of any live Q & A sessions with the team. We will be back in touch in early September with another update and hope you do manage to enjoy the rest of the holidays as much as you can.
Can we close by saying congratulations to all of our wonderful graduates. We are sad that we cannot celebrate with you in person, but we look forward to meeting up for a proper party in the near future and hope you and your family have enjoyed marking the occasion in the meantime.
We are also delighted to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of all of our wonderful School and Course Reps over the past four months. There is more about how they have helped students over that time in an article further down, and we thank them for their invaluable contribution.
Alan, George and Elisha – Student Officers 2020/21
Elisha officially joined the Student Officer team on Monday, 6th July having been elected in March by students along with Alan Lofthouse (President Education) and George Reeves (President Activities). They return for their second and final year in office.
She is originally from Staffordshire and most recently studied a Masters in Criminal Intelligence and Data Analytics. She has also been a key member of Teesside University Rowing Club throughout her time at the University.
She is very active on social media, so make sure you follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (along with George and Alan of course) for detailed updates on the work she is doing for you.
You can also click below to watch two short videos featuring Elisha talking about her plans for the year ahead, key campaigns and, perhaps most importantly, which is her favourite set of toilets on campus!!!
CLICK HERE TO WATCH ELISHA ANSWER QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS
CLICK HERE TO WATCH ELISHA, ALAN AND GEORGE DISCUSSING THE YEAR AHEAD AND FRESHERS
Teesside University Students’ Union (TUSU) remains closed at present as we continue to follow guidance from both Government and the University. We are however planning for at least some of our services being available from early September 2020, and we hope that this can include the SU Welcome Desk and at least one member of the SU Activities team available each day.
We also hope to re-open The SU Shop and The Terrace for food, drink and socialising but can confirm that SU Student Support (SUSS) will continue to operate online only until after the festive break this December. This is to ensure that one to one appointments between advisers and students can be carried out safely and confidentially. The team will continue to provide the same levels of general support that they would in any other year and will play a full part in our Freshers events and activities.
In addition, we are aiming to deliver carefully managed day and evening events. As you would expect, we will follow the expert guidance that is available around social distancing and minimising the risk of infection and will expect anyone who wishes to attend to adhere to the rules we set out.
The measures we take are very likely to include:
* A limited number of people allowed in the building at once.
* Advance bookings required for busier events.
* One-way systems and clearly defined entry and exit doors.
* The use of an app to order hot food and drinks.
* The facilities for you to regularly wash and sanitise your hands.
* The requirement for you to remain in “bubbles” with housemates and maintain a safe distance from others in some situations.
* If we require you to wear masks in the venues, then this will be made clear well in advance of our re-opening.
We appreciate that many of you will be concerned about coming into a busy public place like the Students’ Union, and that is perfectly understandable. However, there will be students coming on to campus or living very close by at that time and feel we have a duty to try to provide entertainment and support if we possibly can.
Please keep monitoring our social media and tees-su.org.uk/coronasupport for the very latest updates about the availability of our building and services.
The show must and will go on, and we are committed to providing as comprehensive a Freshers as we would any other year! We are still finalising all of our plans and of course working closely with the University on shared events where appropriate. However, we can promise that from Sat, 19th September to Sun, 4th October we will have a great range of day and evening events for students to enjoy in person or virtually.
We will continue to do all that we can to help and support you in what we know will be an even more challenging period than in previous years. And although sports clubs and societies are unlikely to resume full activity until later in Semester 1, you will still be able to find out about the groups you can get involved in and meet current members. We are busy working on an interactive and comprehensive virtual guide to all of our clubs and societies which will be available from September.
Please keep monitoring tees-su.org.uk/freshers and our dedicated Freshers Facebook for updates over the summer. And keep an eye on your e-mail accounts for your digital welcome pack at the end of August. This will include a full guide to all of the events we are running in our venues and online.
In what would have been Graduation Week 2020 at Teesside University we want to say a massive well done and congratulations to all of the students who have completed their courses and achieved so much.
We realise that the occasion is tinged with sadness because you, your families and friends, cannot celebrate in the way you would probably wish to. Some of you may also be thinking of loved ones who are, sadly, no longer around to join the festivities and share your pride.
We simply want to tell you that you are all in our thoughts this week and we very much look forward to celebrating with you in person as soon as it is safe to do so. Keep an eye on tees.ac.uk/graduation and tees-su.org.uk/graduation for the latest updates on plans for events to commemorate our incredible class of 2020!
The TOTUM app and card is the only OFFICIAL student discount card on the market, and it remains the best! A wide and ever-growing range of big names and local retailers give money off food, drink, cinema, music, fashion and much more when you show the card or app.
Whether you are shopping online or venturing out with friends, it will soon pay for itself many times over! It is also accepted as proof of age and TUSU receives a commission from every sale plus payments based on how often you access the app, this money can be reinvested into the SU making it even better for you and students like you!
We wanted to take a moment to say a very special thank you to our incredible team of School and Course Reps. They always do an amazing job, but, over the lockdown period, they have fielded hundreds of enquiries from students and provided invaluable support and advice during what we know has been a highly challenging time for everyone.
Click here for a quick summary of the kind of issues they have dealt with and the vital work that they have done from School Rep Tracy Bushnall.
Although the academic year has, sadly, been cut short by the impact of coronavirus, we still have much to celebrate from 2019/20! It's been another busy year at TUSU supporting students, helping them get more active and employable, keeping them safe, providing first-class study and social spaces as well as day and evening events, all while meeting their everyday needs. You can read about all the big moments from our academic year in TUSU in Review which also summarises the winners of our two sets of end of year awards, more national recognition for TUSU and the sporting success we had earlier this year.
We know that, at present, it's unclear how any of us will be spending the summer months! However, we strongly advise that you continue to follow Government instructions to the letter to keep yourself and others safe at all times. We know it's more tempting than ever to heads outdoors in warm weather, but we MUST stick with the lockdown until it is relaxed if we are going to reduce the impact of coronavirus on all of our lives in the future.
Please continue to observe proper hygiene by washing your hands regularly with sanitiser if possible and following social distancing rules when you do have to go out. If you show any symptoms of coronavirus, seek medical advice and, if told to do so, self-isolate entirely.
In the event that the lockdown is relaxed later this summer and life returns to a type of normality, here's a few tips for those who will be leaving a flat or house unattended or will be travelling around the UK or abroad.
1) Make you sure that if you are leaving a property unattended for any length of time you lock doors and windows, turn on any alarms and hide any particularly valuable items you are leaving behind. Check that taps have been properly turned off and any electrical items that can be are unplugged.
2) Why not ask a neighbour or friend that you trust to keep an eye on your house or flat while you are away?
3) If you end up travelling abroad, ensure you get any necessary vaccinations and appropriate travel/ life insurance. Endsleigh Insurance is our suggested supplier for all of your requirements.
4) If you are in unfamiliar places with new people be extra cautious about drink spiking and try to avoid being alone with people until you have got to know them properly.
5) Try to stay in groups and well-lit areas whenever you are out at night, especially if you are staying somewhere unfamiliar.
6) Whether you are in lockdown or back out, drink alcohol responsibly and avoid ALL illegal drugs, particularly if they are being supplied by someone you don't know.