Equality and Diversity. It's everyones' business
Last week I took part in the Sports and Socities Training, and talked to 300 committee members on how they can be inclusive sports and Socities. When I decided to re-run for Vice Presdient Community & Welfare, I knew it was because there was still so much I wanted to do with the role, and so much potential to push it to the next level. Brilliant foundations have been made with the work with the Networks, so many students empowered to champion equality and diversity.
I am very keen to push it to the next level, through spending the forthcomming year working more closely with Sports and Socities, to ensure they are inclusive in their approach and welcoming to all students. Often it is easy to see equality and diversity as in insular issue, for the Vice Present Welfare and the liberation related Networks to embrace. Yet, equality and diversity is very much everyones issue. Everyones responsibility.
Below is the presentation that was delievered at the Sports and Societies training:
iDID : Independance and Diversity in Disability
I was really excited to be able to lead the training alongside a very inspiring student who works with iDID.
iDID is an organisation that aims at improving physical and psychological health for people with disabilities or mental illness. The are passionate about accessibility and equality in the adventure industry and their mission is to support both indiciduals and providers to create equal opportunties for people with disabilities in the adventure industry. (They define extreme / adventure sports as activities such as: Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Snowsports, Skate / boarding, Wake-boarding and Surfing)
For more information, please follow the website (under construction): http://www.ididadventure.co.uk/ / or their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/iDID.online
Next year, working very closely with iDID, and the Sports & Socities, I shall be looking into putting together action plans into how we can make the idea of inclusive sports and socities a reality.
I strongly believe that this will have huge benefits for students, and will increase participation in the activities that we offer. It is essential that as an organisation we go beyond the policies, and explore how this echoes to the individuals it impacts.
If you would to talk through any ideas of campaigns, or for general queries, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Remember, UWE Students' Union is here to represent you.
Students' Unions' and the Equality Act
Students' Unions have specific responsibilties under the Act, and have a role to support their partner intitution in meeting their duties under the legislation. UWE has a dedicated Equality & Diversity Unit, which work hard to represent both staff and students to ensure that everyone is treated fairly, and able to thrive to their potential whilst either studying, or working here. In reflection of this, UWE Students' Union has had a long lasting committment to equal opportunities and celebrating the diversity of our membership. This year, UWE Students' Union has taken a strong, and progressive step in being vocal in championing equality and diversity, and though we've come a long way, there is still alot more work to do.
UWE Student's Union adheres to a Safe Space Policy, and does not tolerate any form of dicrimination. Students' clubs and societies are central to the personal and social development of students and are part of the educational purpose of Students' Unions. This is why it's so crucial, that we ensure that every student has equal opportunities to take part, and get involved.
NUS LGBT : Out In Sport campaign
This year NUS LGBT Campaign (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) lead an "Out In Sport" campaigs, as part of their committment to tackle homophobia and transphobia in Sport. The campaign aimed to understand the sporting experience of lesbian, gay, bi, and trans students in further and higher education, whilst supporting unions and institutions in making sport more inclusive.
Next year, UWE Students' Union is looking to do the same, working closely with the LGBT Network, and the Vice President Sports, and lead on strong campaign during LGBT History Month, which I hope you'll be getting involved with.
For further about the campaign, please follow this link: http://www.nus.org.uk/en/campaigns/lgbt/nus-lgbt-launches-out-in-sport-campaign/
The future looks bright. The future looks progressive
Next year, I shall be working more closely with the Sports & Socities, to explore how they can get more involved in the campaigns through the Community & Welffare agenda of UWESU. There are various little things that can be done, from ensuring that you hold your meetings in accessible venues, to getting involved in liberation campaigns. I am very keen to encourage Sports and Socities to look into how they can be campaigning groups, and understand the benefit that this may have to their members, and the developement of their group. For example, how brilliant would it be to see the Sport teams work with the Disability Awareness Network, and to look into how accessible their club is, and get involved in challenging perception of disabled students involved in Sports.
I am really excited about next year, and believe that inclusive sports and socities is such an important campaign for UWE Student's Union to lead. If you are part of a Sport or Socitiety, and would like to discuss further how you can get involved, please don't hesitate to get touch. I am around all summer (no such this as summer holiday when you're a Sabbatical Officer!) and really want to hear from you.
Obviously you know about the increase in fees shortly being put into place, and in light of this, now more than ever, it is emparitive for Students' Unions to deliver more, and ensure they are supporting students effectively. Inclusion in Sports is where there is a gap at UWE Students' Union, and this is why next year, I am excited to be tackle this issue head on, through a fun, engaging way.
Louise Goux-Wirth : UWE Students' Union Vice President Community and Welfare
firstname.lastname@example.org - Tel: 01173282555