Savannah SevenzoSavannah Sevenzo
Undergraduate Education Officer

The Undergraduate Education Officer represents the undergraduate student body in their education needs and progression, supporting academic representatives and acting for improvement with regard to learning and teaching.

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Savannah's Manifesto:

Liberation for Education

Hi, I’m Savannah. I study Philosophy and English, and I want to make education at Sussex more progressive, more ambitious and more exciting for everyone

Education is more than a degree program. I believe students should be enabled to learn as much as possible from their time at Sussex. If elected I will:

Ensure a louder student voice: Democracy in all decisions that affect students such as assessment methods and library policies; a fair ‘reasonable adjustments’ system; a platform for course comments to be available throughout the term; and more union consultation with academics and student reps.

Reduce printing, food and course costs on campus.

Decolonize our curriculum: more diverse, representative student curricula.

Expand educational opportunities: more work placements and assessment options, study abroad and elective opportunities for all students, more equal funding distribution,remove 40 percent cap on exam re-sits.

I decided to run for undergraduate education officer to address the concerns I’ve heard from students in my time at Sussex, among them the need for:

A louder student voice:

I believe all students should have more opportunities to decide what they want to learn, more agency in determining the format of education, and as many opportunities as possible to discover and pursue their own talents and interests.

How we can achieve this:

  • Ensure that the university management listens to students concerns about hidden costs of education discovered by current education officers. I will lobby the university for a full and comprehensive of breakdown of expenditure to be available to all students so that they can understand and be in the position to approve where and how their tuition money is being spent by the university. I will campaign for reduced printing, food and course costs on campus. If elected I will introduce a second hand book and course materials trade-in system in the union so all students can access second hand materials more easily.
  • Lobby for reasonable adjustments to assessments for students with health or personal difficulties to be assessed by health experts, not academics or university management. Ensure the system in place does not leave the assessment of students with extenuating medical or personal circumstances up to the decision of an academic panel who are not trained to understand or respond appropriately to the health and personal issues students face.
  • Make online evaluation/ comments forums available throughout the term.
  • ­Introduce referenda system in academic departments for structural decisions that affect students ( eg assessment methods, elective options, restrictions on study abroad opportunities).
  • Lobby the university to remove the 40 percent cap on exam re-sits. I believe this cap does nothing to improve learning potential for students and limits aspirations of students to learn more and work to improve their grades.
  • ­ More democratic library policies. Lobby the university to allow food and drink in certain sections of the library such as the group study section. Make book loan policy clearer so students are less susceptible to incurring fines. Get Beanbags. Lobby for a free or cheaper interloan library policy, and a more accessible policy that allow students to request and order books for the library.

A decolonized curriculum

Greater diversity and representation in all student curricula; reading lists to include more perspectives from women, people of color, sexual minorities, the differently able and the international community in order that students are given the opportunity to critique rather than perpetuate western and patriarchal prejudices, and gain a more representative understanding of the world they live in.

How we can achieve this:

  • Conversations with all university departments about the politics of race, gender and colonization in the classroom, which I have already initiated as president of I, Too, Am, Sussex. These are already leading academics to review course topics and teaching methods to be more inclusive and challenging to oppressive norms.
  • More platforms (eg union sponsored open lectures and debates) for liberation groups and societies in the union to have their voices heard and use the union as a platform to make changes they want to see in the university.
  • I will introduce a free ‘liberation book club’ open to all Students to discuss and debate liberatory reading material.

A more inclusive and expansive education:

As students we all discover that education at university goes far beyond knowledge gained in lectures, labs or seminars or specific subject areas. Education should be recognised in its broader sense so that students are enabled to reach their full potential.

How we can achieve this:

  • Lobby the university for fairer distribution of funding across all subject areas (i.e not just those that make the most money for university) so that more module options can be made available.
  • Lobby for more alternative and creative assessment methods; for instance academic credit for giving lectures, producing creative work, entrepreneurial activities or practical contributions to the community.
  • Make electives available for joint honours students.
  • Make online submissions possible in all schools.
  • Campaign for more voluntary study abroad options for students in all subjects (including science students).
  • More (optional) integrated work placement opportunities in academic degree programs.
  • Introduce a ‘Spot Jobs’ system via the Careers Centre; which would allow students who have never been employed to do one off or very short term jobs for the university, to gain the experience needed for employment opportunities.

 

Undergraduate Education Officer - Savannah Sevenzo

Email: ugeducation@sussexstudent.com
Phone: 01273 67 8319
Office: Campaigns and Representation office, 1st floor, Falmer House

News from the Undergraduate Education Officer

Sussex Student Designs new technology to support Blind Scientists

Daniel Hajas a masters student at the University of Sussex has set up an initiative called Grapheel with a committed team of Sussex students aiming to support the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education of blind and visually impaired people.

 
Students’ Union Academic Costs Hardship Fund

Since May 2016 the Students’ Union has been running an Academic Costs Hardship Fund. This fund helps students to cover costs such as textbooks, printing and field trips and was set up by the Education Officers following research which found that only 3% of respondents felt that it was reasonable to pick up hidden academic costs alongside tuition fees.

 
Statement on increasing fees for Home and EU students at the University of Sussex

As a Students’ Union we would like to reaffirm our opposition to rising tuition fees, for Home, EU and non-EU International students here at the University of Sussex. We welcome the increased transparency of the University of Sussex in showing more clearly how our tuition fees are spent but ask for greater transparency in how international student fees are set and spent.