Presidential Monthly Report (June)

- Presidential Report with contribution from Currie Agyeman (Vice President) -

Presidential Monthly Report (June)

Dear Postgrads,

This is to highlight the activities and events that have taken place in the month of June as far as the KPA is concerned. It has been an amazing month full of challenges and lots to be positive about as officers and members of the postgraduate community of this school. The major highlight is the election of new officers to the committee and the handover process involved in this month. But to be honest all of you have been very helpful throughout the process. Major thanks go to George Blake and John Wooton (Outgoing Chair and VP respectively) for their selfless dedication during the handover process.

Handover

The handover and induction for myself (Katie, current Chair) and Currie (Current VP) started from 3rd June and run through to 28th June. To be honest, beforehand, we were pretty much nervous of what was in store. However, the efforts of George and John have been outstanding, and all the credit goes to them for a smooth and successful transitioning into our new roles. Alison Tansey has also been very helpful, and we appreciate her efforts for this successful month.

Currie and I have been introduced to all significant school leaders that we would be working with over the course of our term in office. Also, we have been to majority of school committee meetings that we would be working in the year. Grievance and opinions of students will be rightly directed to the necessary committees as we have an idea of who and what committee to get in contact with over an idea as time goes on. Knowing this before our official start date gives us much confidence and lots to be positive about, all credit to George and John for the work they put in to make this possible.

Bob Beattie Student of the Year Award.

On the 3rd of June, which happened to be our first day in handover month, there was a postgraduate celebration event which was intended to celebrate the illustrious achievements of some postgraduate students. The event was a massive success with great turnout which has drawn much positive feedback. This year’s awards is by no doubt an improvement of the previous year. The event was moved from the Keele Hall to the Chapel which meant an increase in student participation since it was free this time. Also, unlike having a winner and a runner up in the previous year’s awards, this year’s awards made room for a winner and five notable contribution prizes which meant recognition for a wider variety of postgraduate efforts.

Postgraduate Well-Being Week.

This kicked off from 17th to 22nd June. Notable events like Free Brunch, ‘Zine Workshop’, Film Screening, Prosecco Picnic, a trip to Trentham Gardens and other sporting activities gained massive participation. However, we acknowledge that there were other parts that we could have done better. In this view, an event feedback survey has been sent to all members of the postgraduate community. We ask for your opinions in order to better our next wellbeing event. As a thank you for this, we will be distributing two vouchers to two contributors, for the value of £15 to be spent at the clubhouse. That said, there was some really positive energy in many of the events which reflects in the feedback we got.

Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Our annual general meeting which happened to be the last for George Blake and John Wooton as Chair and VP respectively, took place on 26th June. Many thanks to them and all members of outgoing committee for the hard work put in, over the year to put together the thoughts, ideas and opinions of the postgraduate community. Many thanks to Pratika Upadhyay, who chaired the meeting for the last time as she steps down as the Student Trustee.

In total 5 motions were brought forth. Four of the motions were voted into policies, taking note that some of them were amended by members. One of the motions was voted out by members on grounds which have been discussed in the AGM report.

In all, it was a productive meeting, with 16-member turnout.

Things to look forward to.

As we all know, there is a new committee with loads of enthusiasm and ideas. First thing to look out for in July and beyond is a lunch time event which is dubbed “Postgraduates that Lunch”. This event kicks off from 2nd July and hopes to eliminate isolation among PGs especially during this quiet time. The event is a mental-health motivated one which hopes to gather all PGs who are still on campus during the summer. The idea is for students to come with their own lunch, sit together with other PGs, eat and socialise. It is also worth noting that, there will be free snacks available for everyone. Details of this have been posted on all social media accounts and on the weekly digest. An email will be sent to you shortly in this regard.

Our Priorities as Incoming Officers

Many of you will have been involved with the process of the elections and have had access to both myself and Currie’s manifestos. However, I feel it would be better for us to give a run down on what exactly our plans are for the year and our main priorities as incoming sabbatical officers. One of the huge priorities is postgraduate mental health and wellbeing, and with a massive win of a £2.2million funded grant for a student mental health project, we believe that this is something well within our reach. Within this project, a particular postgraduate role will be created in order to focus on the wellbeing of postgraduate students. We are very excited about this, and will be reporting back about the success of this over the next few months, so watch this space! Another key aim for us is our transparency with students, notifying them of any big changes and the work we are doing for our time in office. We will be particularly ensuring that our presidential monthly reports are up to date and are sent out to postgrads every month. We will be making use of our new and transformed website, which features a forum enabling discussion for students within that space. We will also be making use of our twitter and instagram account are more exciting, and advertise all of our key events over the coming year. Solidarity is also a key focus for us. We will be strengthening our relationships with all unions and trying to initiate conversations with the university regarding PGR teaching rights.

There will be other interesting events which will be organised during the summer to get PGs together. Details will be given as time goes on. So, you are encouraged to be on the lookout.

If there’s anything missing that members would like to have seen included or anything members are expecting done, you are welcome to get in touch.

The committee and I look forward to working with you amazing people. Also feel free to email either Currie and I on kpa.vp@keele.ac.uk or kpa.chair@keele.ac.uk .


Best, Katie Charlton (KPA President/Chair)

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