EUSA provides a wide range of services to our members. We have highlighted some key achievements which exemplify the influence we have on our students, the University and our communities. These achievements are a small cross-section of our successes. More important is the work we do each day to add value to each student.
The Advice Place
The Advice Place is a walk in, independent, confidential advisory and information service for students at the University of Edinburgh. The service is delivered and coordinated from a purpose-designed space in Potterrow but also delivers a programme of outreach across every campus to students and staff. In 2012/13 The Advice Place responded to over 19,500 queries. Always striving for high visibility and quality for our services, we are delighted that 96% of users have said they would recommend us to a friend and that 86% of students and 82% of university support staff are aware of The Advice Place.
Our Volunteering service has been making a huge contribution to our student volunteers and local community and charities since the service began in 2010. Since then we have placed 3131 students into 4265 volunteering positions. To help students who are unsure about what volunteering involves or where their longer-term interests lie, we have established Evolve, a taster volunteering scheme. Evolve grew to include over 200 students this year, and will be run by students in 2013-14. We have built relationships with over 300 registered charities and were delighted to win the NUS Scotland Award for Community Relations in 2012 in recognition of the contribution of our work.
EUSA has an award winning Internationalisation programme. We strive to enhance the global experience for students at the University of Edinburgh. With students from over 140 countries, speaking 70 languages, there is a wealth of skills and cultural knowledge in our vibrant global campus community. We have some really exciting projects and initiatives which bring the knowledge and skills together to enhance the student experience. Working in continued and successful partnership with the University of Edinburgh achievements in 2012/13 included 1000 students engaged with TANDEM, our language partnering scheme, 250 students participated in free language classes, over 900 home and international students offered each other support and friendship through our Buddies scheme and 52 volunteers proofread 344 assignments through Peer Proofreading.
The hugely exciting and valuable Internationalisation work has been recognised as sector leading with awards for NUS Internationalised Student Union of the Year 2013 and Innovation in Internationalisation 2013.
Proud of our reputation for creativity, 2012 also saw EUSA bring TedX to Edinburgh! EUSA initiated and co-ordinated The University of Edinburgh’s first TedX conference, supporting a huge team of student volunteers to bring this to fruition, and putting Edinburgh staff and students on the map.
We have also run very successful campaigns regarding the issues which matter most to our international student members, including working on behalf of our international students to secure flat-rate international fees from the University of Edinburgh so that students won’t be affected by year on year fee rises.
EUSA has a hugely successful Peer Support Scheme. This student-led service enables more experienced students to share their knowledge, skills, abilities and expertise with new or less experienced students. We secured additional funding to develop student–led Peer Support across the University through the Enhancing Student Support project. Due to the success of this work in 2012-13, with over 40 local peer support schemes now in operation across the University, the funding for this work has been more than doubled for 2013/14 when all students will be able to access one of our schemes. Being seen as an example of best practice our work is being highlighted at the International Enhancement Themes Conference, to promote enhancement and innovation in Higher Education.
The Edinburgh Award is an employability initiative, certified by the University of Edinburgh. It recognises the huge value activities such as part time work and volunteering which students undertake alongside their studies. 85 students were recognised by the Edinburgh Award for their achievements and personal reflection and development through EUSA in volunteering, student representation, and part time work in bars (the first Edinburgh Award strand for paid part time work). We are now building new strands of the award so that our 350 student staff across all departments can participate, as well as 150 peer support volunteers and our advice centre volunteers. It is great to be part of something which adds to both the student experience and future employability of members.
Most Student Unions are quiet in the Summer…but not in Edinburgh! We deliver the huge bars and catering provision in three of the biggest Edinburgh Festival Fringe venues, working with our Festival partners, Pleasance and Gilded Balloon. During the Festival we run some of the busiest bars and cafés in Britain, turning over in excess of £2 million in 3 weeks.
Commercial Operations & Facilities
We have invested a large amount of capital in our facilities over the past 2 years and have seen sales grow in some outlets by up to 70% year on year. We achieved Bronze Best Bar None status, reflecting the approach to quality service, security, safety and excellent experience in our bars. We were also delighted to make it to the final 3 of the UK-wide British Institute of Innkeepers Late Night Operator of the Year award, competing with high street bars, nightclubs, restaurants and hotels. 80% of students rated our buildings as good or very good, and 79% rated our bars as good or very good with a strong appreciation of atmosphere and student-friendly appeal. We received Zero Tolerance accreditation via NUS with a strong focus on staff training to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere.
We secured the contract to deliver a new flagship retail and catering operation at Kings Buildings campus. This new operation puts us at the heart of the student and academic community at this busy campus, reflecting the university’s recognition of our approach to quality, customer service and efficiency.
Learning & Development
We believe that by investing in our people we will build effective teams to develop and deliver our high quality services. 15 senior managers and heads of departments progressed through a Management Development Programme that was run by an external provider in 2011/2012. Following this success we offered a First Line Manager development programme (FLM) to 11 first line managers in 2012 and an additional 11 staff in 2013. The FLM programme in 2013 has been endorsed by the Institute of Leadership & Management. We have designed and delivered internal development programmes which are open to all our team leaders and senior team leaders and are running a mentoring pilot with our sabbatical officers. We aim to offer mentoring to all staff in 2014 ensuring we are always supporting our staff to achieve thir full potential for themselves and for EUSA.
Welcoming students to the place which will be the centre of their lives is a very important job and one which we take very seriously! We hold over 700 social and orientation events, running over 8 days for 9,000 new students each year. We provide vital information to them in our survival and post-grad guides which are carefully written and designed to make sure that students get the most from those early days at University. The focus of that period is on supporting students in getting to know the city, the environment, making friends and encouraging involvement in various EUSA Activities such as societies showcased over a 2-day Societies Fair.
EUSA is a student-led organisation and as such ensuring that the organisation engages members effectively through our democratic structures is extremely important to us. In 2013 we introduced brand new democratic structures and a new constitution, aiming to make the organisation more open and accessible. Our student Council meetings have attracted up to 300 students and we have held 3 online referenda (with a total of 34 motions submitted) since they started in February 2012, the last one of which attracted 2071 individual voters. The new structure has enabled significantly higher involvement of our members in the democratic processes ensuring that we can respond more effectively to what our members expect and need from us.