College and Society Welfare Officers

This section is for students in roles that include

  • College (J/MCR or equivalent) Welfare Officers

  • College Welfare-related Officers, who represent a specific subset of students, including, but not limited to, BME, LGBT+, Women's’ and Disability Officers (i.e. liberation roles)

  • Society Welfare Officers, e.g. as part of sports teams or cultural societies

 

To best prepare yourself for your welfare role, CUSU recommends that you

  • Read the Welfare Officers' Handbookwritten by Sophie Buck (Welfare and Rights Officer 2016-17). As the introduction on p.2 describes, the handbook is loosely split into more and less political welfare. ‘More political welfare’ refers to representation and campaigning. This covers everything from what you might want to change to how to achieve change, including some intercollegiate comparisons. Meanwhile, ‘less political welfare’ refers to signposting and supporting students. This covers active-listening training, boundary formation, confidentiality, case students, and the support services available. If you would like the handbook in an easier-to-read format, e.g. larger text, please email welfare@cusu.cam.ac.uk.

  • Attend welfare training organised by the CUSU-GU Welfare and Rights Officer. This gives you a chance to make sure you fully understand material covered in the handbook. Snacks and a printed copy of the handbook are provided. You’ll here about training dates from the FB Group or Bulletin. Welfare Officers from CUSU- or GU-disaffiliated colleges are welcome to attend. Of Officers who attended training and completed a feedback survey in May 2017, 92% said they found it useful (see more feedback on training here).

  • Join the CU Welfare Officers' FB Group. All welfare roles are welcomed, though permission should be requested if you're not a college officer - email welfare@cusu.cam.ac.uk. Feel free to post in this group to promote welfare events, or ask the opinion or practice of other Welfare Officers.

  • Sign yourself up to the Welfare Bulletin (cusu-cu-welfare), if not already subscribed. This contains welfare-related updates, as well as links to upcoming events, useful resources and articles, any calls for information (e.g. for the Welfare Grid). You can read past bulletins here.

  • Note what the Welfare and Rights Officer does. The Welfare and Rights Officer works on three different levels:

    • (1) University Level: representing students to the University via Committees

    •  (2) College Level: supporting J/MCR Welfare Offficers via training, advice and linking them with other officers

    •  (3) Individual Level: running campaigns to improve the welfare of students and raise awareness of support services 

  • Ask the Welfare and Rights Officer any questions you have (that are not addressed in the handbook), such as specific advice on how to realise a specific manifesto point or to generally talk through your ideas. Note that emergencies should be directed to your College Porters or emergency services, not the Welfare and Rights Officer.

  • Contact a Welfare or Liberation Officer at another college if you have a specific question relating to them (e.g. you've faced a similar issue in achieving political change in college). You can also look at JCR/MCR websites' welfare pages for different colleges for information and inspiration. See contact details and website links on this Excel doc.

  • Note the existence of the Students’ Unions’ Advice Service (SUAS), which, funded by CUSU and the GU, assists Cambridge University students in academic, discipline or welfare-related issues. It is particularly important for students who feel they are being discriminated against, and want assistance, support and/or representation in resolving the matter and/or making a complaint. SUAS signposts to all other services; so, if you don’t know where to signpost a student, start there!

  • If you are in a liberation role, join the FB Group for College Officers in your role. If you are a Society Officer, seek explicit permission from the admin of the group to join. Also, familiarise yourself with the campaign website, committee list and/or constitution, directing any specific questions towards the campaign.

 

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