Candidate for the position of VP Welfare

Image for FRANCESCA THORNTON

FRANCESCA THORNTON

What would you do to improve Education at the University?

As Vice President Welfare I will improve education by:
• Working with VP Education to embed activities into the curriculum that ensure correct levels of support for students, regardless of ability and background – such as Study Skills, Wellbeing in Learning and Peer Learning
• Introduce BAME Buddies to increase visibility of BAME Students and Staff across campuses to ensure all students of all backgrounds feel included and valid
• Ensuring all course
• Improve accessibility by ensuring all students of all abilities and capabilities feel included in their university environment and have equal opportunities to access their academic content as well as extra-curricular (sports/societies) (part time, mature, commuting students, those with different learning abilities such as non-neurotypical learners)

What would you do to improve the Employability of students?

As Vice President Welfare I will improve employability by:
• Ensuring all courses have equal access to employability resources during university to help support career development and understand and develop options beyond university 
• Supporting VP Activities by offering academic societies more networking opportunities and career workshops/information sessions with those working in different industries, from both the university community as well as the wider community of Brighton. e.g Supporting arts societies by helping art committees contact those in relevant careers to offer advice on freelancing/starting out in te creative industries.
• Supporting the Volunteer team in the university to award accreditations to students for their volunteering work and advertise widely the opportunities available to students while studying

How would you make the Union and the University more Inclusive?

As VP Welfare I will make the Union and University more inclusive by:
Improving Transportation:
o Transportation – increasing UB1 (Uni bus) times and stops
o Continue to lobby the Brighton and Hove buses to include the Varley Park bus stop on their journeys
Increasing Visibility:
o Increase visibility and impact of LGBT History & Black history month events, and showing support for minority groups throughout the year and not just through ‘token’ events
o Supporting VP activities with campaigns This Girl Can, This Student Can & Out in Sport and widening the participation of these campaigns
Encouraging Sustainability:
o Continue current VP Activities work on lobbying the University to make a Fossil Free Divestment Commitment and show support for the Climate Strikes
o Ensure more formal collaboration between the University and the Students’ Union to ensure projects are consistent and sustainable

How would you improve the Welfare of students?

As VP Welfare I will improve the welfare of students by:
Supporting Mental health and wellbeing:
o Working with local mental health charities to introduce workshops on mindfulness and wellbeing around learning and university life
o Encourage university to have more responsibility on provisions to support the mental health of students, including the increase of SSGT support & resources
o Collaborate with existing University departments and projects on wellbeing in learning, supporting peer learning and understanding a holistic approach to the students’ wants and needs
o Embedding wellbeing in learning into the curriculum so students feel supported on all levels of their university experience
Encouraging Sustainability:
o Continue current VP Activities work on lobbying the University to make a Fossil Free Divestment Commitment and show support for the Climate Strikes
o Ensure more formal collaboration between the University and the Students’ Union to ensure projects are consistent and sustainable 
Supporting Housing 
o Work closely with wider community to ensure affordable options and support for students who seek accommodation in the private sector
o Night security across all campuses at all accommodation and equipping all halls with SRAs (Student Resident Advisors) to allow for safe spaces and support both day and night 

How would you improve Communication between the Union and students?

As Vice President Welfare I will improve communication between the Union, University and the students by:
More in-person communication
o Work on introducing more face-to-face communication opportunities where student staff and SU staff can speak to students on campus and understand the needs of students, including through forums, question of the month, and pop-up stands
o Encouraging the university to have more face-to-face communication with students through forums and be able to engage further with the Student Voice outside of questionnaires to get a grasp on a deeper level the needs and wants of students
Increasing transparency
o Documenting where possible the processes of the Students’ Union and campaigns, keeping students up to date with current projects through various communication means outside of just the SU Website, but through emails, social media and elsewhere
o Lobbying University to show hidden course costs and make sure all students are aware of financial implications of starting university

What qualities or experience do you have that would you make a good full time officer?

I currently work for the University of Brighton as a Graduate Intern in Student Academic Success & Partnership, and so have a close relationship with existing staff and projects that I can use to my advantage to propel current projects as well as continue and start new projects to support the students further. I also oversee a peer learning scheme which means I communicate with a wide variation of students on a daily basis, and understand the needs and wants of students across the University of Brighton and nationally.

I have studied three years full-time Media & English Literature, and now am currently completing my studies after deferring, and so understand the needs of students who aren’t used to a standard approach to learning and need varying levels of support. I am passionate about wellbeing in learning, and understand the need for further resourcing of existing areas that can be utilised further to support students.

I was Secretary of Brighton Music Society for two years, gaining vital skills and communicating with a wide level of students. It was a valuable experience that not only helped me understand the important of societies and extra-curricular activities in the growth of a student and their wellbeing, but helped me to communicate with a wide range of students in understanding the needs of students from all types of courses and backgrounds.

I worked for the Students’ Union at The Hive, Falmer for three years, where my experience meant I was able to learn a lot about how the SU functions and how students are positioned, and understand deeply how I can benefit both the students and the SU in getting the most out of the University of Brighton.

I won the Students’ Union Latrivia Grant Award in 2019 for my dedication, diligence and conscientiousness to the Students’ Union, SU activities and students at University of Brighton.

I am highly passionate about the success of students at the University of Brighton, and understand that success isn’t just measured through grades, but through the happiness and wellbeing of students, and their self-worth and confidence in themselves.