Welcome from the Student Officers

A very warm welcome to the latest newsletter from Teesside University Students' Union (TUSU). We get in touch every month during the academic year with our latest news and upcoming events unless you ask us to stop by unsubscribing. This edition would usually be the last until mid-September but, depending on developments over coming weeks, we may be in touch over the summer months. Please do keep an eye on our social media and your e-mail accounts for any special updates.

We hope that everyone is staying safe and as well as possible as the lockdown continues. We know the past couple of months have been incredibly challenging for everyone, and we obviously hope to be able to re-open the SU Building as soon as possible. However, we will continue to monitor Government advice carefully and discuss the best approach with the University in the weeks and months to come. Please keep an eye on our social media and bookmark tees-su.org.uk/coronasupport for the very latest from us.

In the meantime we'd urge people to be safe and responsible...stay alert, stay safe and follow expert advice.  We will continue to provide daily content on our social media around fitness, wellbeing, good mental health, quick and simple recipes and other stuff that you hopefully find entertaining and fun. We will also continue to provide all of the "virtual" support we can. You can speak to us through social media or get help and advice with money, housing, academic issues and more through suss@tees-su.org.uk. If you have queries related to sports clubs, societies or employability then contact activities@tees-su.org.uk.

Coronavirus is, naturally, dominating everyone's thoughts at present, but we also congratulate all Athletic Union Awards 2020 winners. In addition, we look back on everything we have collectively achieved for students in 2019/20 through TUSU in Review.

Finally, we say a fond farewell to Sophie (President Welfare) who will be leaving her role after two years at the end of June, and we welcome Elisha Lycett (President Welfare Elect) who officially takes over at the start of July.

We hope you have the best summer possible and if you are due to leave the University, we wish you the very best for the future. We look forward to properly celebrating your graduation with you sometime in the future and, in the meantime, stay in touch and stay safe.

Sophie, Alan, and George – Student Officers 2019/20.


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Goodbye Sophie...Hello Elisha

Sophie Bennett (President Welfare) will complete the second and final year of her time in office at the end of June. She was originally elected by students back in March 2018 and has led a range of important campaigns focussing on mental health, physical wellbeing, safety and more.

Elisha Lycett, who will take over from Sophie at the start of July said: "Sophie has been a charismatic, creative and confident Officer who has run some crucial campaigns, particularly when looking at, arguably, the biggest issue of our time...mental health. She has made a massive contribution to the SU during her time here including work as a student staff member, being a key part of sports clubs and of course for the past two years in her current role. On behalf of everyone at TUSU, I wish her the very best for the future."

Click here for a short tribute video to Sophie featuring her fellow Student Officers Alan and George along with key staff from TUSU and the University who have worked closely with her.

Elisha is originally from Staffordshire. She originally came to Teesside University to do a policing degree before remaining here to pursue a Masters in Criminal Intelligence and Data Analytics. You can see the moment she was elected and find out more about the results of the elections through tees-su.org.uk/elections.

"I want to use my first-hand experience of student life and the University to help ensure that the student experience here is the best it possibly can be," she says. "I am so grateful to everyone who voted for me, and I can't wait to get to work, making a difference for all students."

We will have more about Elisha when she officially joins the team in July so stay tuned to our social media and tees-su.org.uk/officers for more about her.

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Latest on our response to coronavirus

Teesside University Students' Union (TUSU), like any responsible organisation, continues to follow Government directives and expert advice on minimising our impact on the spread of corona Virus. You will probably already be aware that we have, very reluctantly, cancelled or rearranged all of our forthcoming events. We also remain closed for face to face visits, so The Terrace, SU Shop, Love It Lounge, Hub, SU Studio and meeting rooms will not be available until further notice.

Our SU Student Support (SUSS) and SU Activities teams continue to provide "virtual" support wherever they can through suss@tees-su.org.uk and activities@tees-su.org.uk, respectively. Please be aware, though, that they both have limited resources in the current situation and may take longer than usual to respond to you.

You can keep in touch with the very latest from TUSU through tees-su.org.uk/coronasupport and on our social media, where we have regular updates.

Although the building is closed, our work to represent the interests of students continues. The Student Officers are working closely with the most senior figures at the University on short and long term planning for the delivery of the best possible learning experience in these unprecedented times. They also recently wrote to local landlords and letting agents requesting that they consider doing all that they can to help you through this difficult time. Our suggestions included possibly releasing students from their contracts or at least reducing rent for those who cannot leave their accommodation. Click here to see a summary of how they have responded and our current position on the matter.

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TUSU in Review 2019/20

Although the academic year has, sadly, been cut short by the impact of coronavirus, we still have much to celebrate from 2019/20! It's been another busy year at TUSU supporting students, helping them get more active and employable, keeping them safe, providing first-class study and social spaces as well as day and evening events, all while meeting their everyday needs. You can read about all the big moments from our academic year in TUSU in Review which also summarises the winners of our two sets of end of year awards, more national recognition for TUSU and the sporting success we had earlier this year.

Click here to read TUSU in Review 2019/20.

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Celebrating Student Success

George Reeves (President Activities) presented the Athletic Union Awards 2020 through the zoom platform on Wednesday, 28th April with over 70 nominees and other students participating. We hope to hold a face to face celebration with the winners and nominees later this year when it is considered safe to do so.

Men's Futsal were the big winners for 2019/20 with their star player Martin Osiedu Ofusu, who's sparkling form helped them to league and cup glory, securing Sportsman of the Year. They were also judged BUCS Team of the Year, and long-serving chair Eddie Rees was a popular recipient of the Service to Sport award. It recognised not just his tireless work to develop Futsal at the University but also his commitment to helping all sports clubs at the University.

Netball collected the coveted BUCS Club of the Year award while Cheerleading was named Non-BUCS Club of the Year after both enjoying excellent years in competition. Meanwhile, Lucy Freeman (Rowing) was a popular winner of Sportswoman of the Year after shining for her club and in external competition.

Find out more and see a full list of winners through tees-su.org.uk/awards.

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Graduation Week 2020

We were as saddened as all of our forthcoming Graduates and their families when the University confirmed that the ceremonies would not go ahead this July due to health and safety concerns related to coronavirus. However, we accept that safety must come first and very much look forward to celebrating with you sometime in the hopefully not too distant future.

If you are due to graduate this summer, you should have received an e-mail from the University explaining how the academic awards process will function in these unprecedented times. Visit tees.ac.uk/graduation for more information and to speak to key support staff dealing with the awarding of degrees this summer.

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Top marks for TUSU from international students

We were delighted to again secure top ratings from international students in this year's International Student Barometer (ISB). The highly prestigious and internationally recognised research invites international students from a wide range of institutions around the world to feedback on various aspects of their experience including teaching and learning, resources, support, social space, events and sports clubs/ societies. Eight hundred and fifty-four students at Teesside University completed the survey and amongst a wealth of excellent feedback for the University they...

- Rated TUSU the number one Students' Union in the UK.

- Rated the support given by the SU and the University number one in the UK.

- Rated the Sports Clubs and Societies, we provide here at TUSU, the best in THE WORLD!

- Rated the social events, we offer here at TUSU, the best in the UK.

- Rated the social spaces, we offer here at TUSU, the second-best in the UK.

Sophie Bennett, President Welfare at TUSU, said: "It's vital to us that every student rates what we offer highly, but it's always especially pleasing to hear that international students have given us high approval ratings. We work hard to help them settle into new surroundings and what can sometimes be a very different learning environment to ones they have previously been used to. It's great to see so many saying they feel University and ourselves provide first-class support, spaces and opportunities for them to get more from their time here." 

Click here to watch a video summary of all of the results from Teesside University.

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Looking forward to Freshers 2020

It currently remains unclear if it will be possible to hold physical events during Freshers or if social distancing measures will be required at them. However, we are committed to doing all we can to welcome and support new/ returning students whatever the circumstances at the end of September.

We are currently considering how a whole or partly "virtual" Freshers might operate, and we will keep you updated on developments through tees-su.org.uk/freshers and Freshers Facebook Group throughout the summer. We will also be in touch in August through the post or to your e-mail with a welcome pack explaining how Freshers 2020 will function.

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Student Safety Tips

We know that, at present, it's unclear how any of us will be spending the summer months! However, we strongly advise that you continue to follow Government instructions to the letter to keep yourself and others safe at all times. We know it's more tempting than ever to heads outdoors in warm weather, but we MUST stick with the lockdown until it is relaxed if we are going to reduce the impact of coronavirus on all of our lives in the future.

Please continue to observe proper hygiene by washing your hands regularly with sanitiser if possible and following social distancing rules when you do have to go out. If you show any symptoms of coronavirus, seek medical advice and, if told to do so, self-isolate entirely.

In the event that the lockdown is relaxed later this summer and life returns to a type of normality, here's a few tips for those who will be leaving a flat or house unattended or will be travelling around the UK or abroad.

1) Make you sure that if you are leaving a property unattended for any length of time you lock doors and windows, turn on any alarms and hide any particularly valuable items you are leaving behind. Check that taps have been properly turned off and any electrical items that can be are unplugged.

2) Why not ask a neighbour or friend that you trust to keep an eye on your house or flat while you are away?

3) If you end up travelling abroad, ensure you get any necessary vaccinations and appropriate travel/ life insurance. Endsleigh Insurance is our suggested supplier for all of your requirements.

4) If you are in unfamiliar places with new people be extra cautious about drink spiking and try to avoid being alone with people until you have got to know them properly.

5) Try to stay in groups and well-lit areas whenever you are out at night, especially if you are staying somewhere unfamiliar.

6) Whether you are in lockdown or back out, drink alcohol responsibly and avoid ALL illegal drugs, particularly if they are being supplied by someone you don't know.