So we’re over month into the academic year and as a result we’re over a month into the tenures of our FTOs. So what have they done? In what ways have they helped the student body? In order to best review their place on the board I believe it is best to look at their efforts in regard to the Bay campus. Bay’s launch wasn’t exactly the smoothest of starts, it was never going to be, however that’s not the point of this article. What is the point however, is how the FTOs dealt with student concerns.
If we could rewind ourselves to Monday 21st September, the opening of Bay. In the morning it was relatively clear that the transport to and from the campus was inadequate and patchy, many students were late and fingers were pointed at First. Within the day Lewys and co had secured more buses to bring students to and from Bay; this quick and swift reaction was exactly what was needed. Pressure is also being applied to the cost of tickets in the hope of reducing the fares for both standard bus tickets and the park and ride system.
Staying on the topic of transport, we also have the slight issue surrounding parking on the Bay. With it being so far away from the student dense areas of Hendrefoilan, Brynmill, Uplands and Singleton Campus, many students turned to cars for transport. Where this becomes an issue is when those students arrive at Bay to find no on-campus services for student cars. The alternative being that those students have to contest with the local residents for parking, causing quite the fallout. It even managed to spark an article on the South Wales Evening Post website after local residents were blocking spaces from students with traffic cones. In light of the situation, the FTOs have launched several avenues to exert pressure and find a solution. One such being a petition with three key points: Parking access for students with disabilities, students living outside the Swansea area and supporting students who enrolled in or before September 2013. The first of those three points has already been achieved, which extends coverage of the Blue Badge to a broader range of disabilities as well as temporary ones such as mobility limitation.
Moving away from transport in the direction of student welfare and Lloyd Harris. The Welfare Officer has been tackling the issue of women’s health in the form of reducing the price of sanitary towels and tampons in the on-campus Costcutter. This move is part of the wider #FreeThePeriod campaign which aims to remove the luxury tax on women’s health products.
From women’s health to mental health, over the last week you may have seen various posts on Facebook or stands in Singleton promoting various issues about student mental health. For those of you unaware, the SU held a Student Minds Week in the hopes of promoting help for students with mental issues. If you’re interested in reading more about it you can actually read Lloyd’s take on it in this issue. I won’t say much more to avoid overlapping content, all I will say is that it is worth the read. What I will say about the article is that it is interesting to see the officers using the media to its maximum capabilities.
Lloyd’s article in the paper is only one such example. The FTOs seem to be constantly on Facebook engaging students, making an effort to deal with any issues the student body have. The value the officers place in the student media is only represented by their commitment to invest further in the media with additional funding of £1,500 heading the way of SU-TV and Xtreme Radio. The investment in media is something much needed and has allowed Xtreme to invest in very much needed studio equipment and also allowed SU-TV to keep going after a shaky year.
It’s been a very active month for all the officers this last month, and hopefully it continues. With the launch of Bay it was always going to be a period marred with challenges and obstacles but the officers have shown great resilience in dealing with issues which is a testament to their abilities. Although many of the issues listed in their manifestos have been addressed, there is still much more to do. If you’re interested in tracking the progress of the President’s manifesto you can do so at www.lewysaron.co.uk.