Grainne Gahan

Welfare Officer
Grainne Gahan

The Welfare Officer is responsible for any non-academic concerns students have; these range from issues with campus accommodation to campaigning for mental health and trans* equality.

The Welfare Officer defends the interests of marginalised student groups within the Students’ Union and the University in order to ensure that students can make the most of their time here at Sussex.

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Grainne's manifesto:

University should be enjoyed, not endured!?

 

I will be an approachable Welfare Officer, a known presence around campus, who students feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and creative endeavours with.

I will hold weekly office hours open to anyone who wishes to come and talk about what’s on their mind, or what they want to see from the Union

I will continue and expand existing welfare projects, such as Free Periods, I Heart Consent, and Time to Change.

I will prioritise students’ happiness and make every week wellbeing week with regular fun events such as crafternoons, silent discos, workshops, poetry nights, and sports days. Because Uni is meant to be enjoyed not endured!!

I will work with part time officers to campaign for the employment of an Equalities and Diversities Officer, and work towards a representative, and inclusive Union.

Provide a cheaper or free/pay as you feel alternative for food on campus, collaborating with the real junk food project. Provide increased support and wellbeing events for student parents, fortnightly parent/children events

 

I will hold an inclusive alternative fresher’s week which is not centred on drinking and going out, so that students do not feel left out due to that part of university culture. Provide ‘living away from home’ workshops which would help struggling first years cope with the huge lifestyle change which happens when you move away from home.

I will improve the accessibility of Sussex. I want to do this by fixing the Library lift, which has been broken for over a year, and by making Falmer House, the Library, and all campus accommodation wheelchair accessible. I am committed to supporting students affected by the recent government cuts to Disabled Student Allowance, and will work with part time officers to campaign for support for these students.

 

Sussex continues to admit increasing numbers of International Students, but fails to provide adequate welfare support. Many international students do not receive the academic or personal support they need when studying abroad, and with an increasing percentage of students being international, we need to ensure that welfare develops in line with this. I will listen to the concerns of international students and ensure their needs are finally met by management and the university.

I will lobby the university to ensure they employ two more full time counsellors. There are currently 6 week waiting lists, this means that students are waiting half a term to receive help. This is distressing and puts these already vulnerable students at risk. Management cannot continue to raise their own salaries whilst underfunding the services available to the students that pay them. For immediate action, I will set up a peer mentoring service on campus, in which a group of student volunteers who have attended a training workshop will be available each week for one on ones with students who are struggling. This would help to provide some short term relief to students’ issues, and offer a quick and immediate alternative to the counselling service.

I will start a campaign to get the University to provide Free Drug Testing Kits for students on campus, available from the health centre and students union. This would mean that students could test what they are taking to make sure it is safe, and if there are any dangerous substances in them. This could literally save lives and stop drug related accidents at Sussex. The University of Newcastle has already begun procedures to put this in place there, and I plan on communicating with their Students Union to work out how to make this idea a reality in Universities throughout the UK.

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