We’re committed to providing a world-class student experience
Every student at Cardiff Metropolitan University automatically becomes part the Cardiff Met Students’ Union. We exist to represent, support, inspire and involve every student.
University is an amazing experience and there are so many opportunities that the SU can provide, whether it’s being part of the rep structure, joining a society or one of our sports clubs. Students will make friends and gain skills and experiences that they can take with them when they graduate.
Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_Cardiff-Met-SU-1.pdf
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders are asked to respond to a set of social impact questions, which are designed to help them think about the social impact they create, and to articulate this clearly and succinctly.
Updated November 2017
1) What social differences and changes have you aimed to create (or supported)?
Cardiff Met Students Union primarily exists to provide core services to its membership. One of the key aspects is to provide employability opportunities to enhance their academic experience an increase their job opportunities when they leave University.
Within this remit, we have focussed on areas such as a job shop for part time and voluntary work , volunteering initiatives and placements and the development of our Cardiff Met award which requires student to undertake either voluntary of paid work.
We have also identified the need to provide more support and opportunities for our student societies to make them more active within the academic environment, and to encourage them to integrate and make more of a contribution to the local community.
This target will focus on both UK and International students so that the benefits from having student more engaged in community activities will be recognised both home and abroad.
In providing these opportunities for our students , we believe that they will be able to make a greater contribution when they graduate , be more aware of the benefits of extra-curricular activity and make a greater contribution to the communities they settle in.
2) What actions have you taken to address the above social aims?
The service that the Students Union provides are detailed in the response to Point 1 , however in looking to see how we deliver on these core services , we have recognised that we needed to provide additional support and resources particularly in the area of society development.
We have appointed a Societies Coordinator to help students to set up societies and to support them and existing ones to deliver a more organised range of services and activities to their members.
We have also established additional budgets to help fast track new societies to get up and running and support them in organising their starter events.
On the employability agenda , we have focussed on developing our Cardiff Met Award , targeting a 50% increase in the number of students undertaking (and completing) the award in 2017/18.
3) What has changed and what benefits have been realised as a result of your actions?
We have already seen an increase in the number of new societies being set up , with 9 new ones being approved in the first 2 months of this academic year. These vary from course specific (learning communities) to cultural and social ones.
We have seen a greater level of engagement from our existing societies with more events taking place, and more day-to-day engagement with our administrative staff booking our facilities for social activities and meeting rooms.
We have reached the target number of students wishing to undertake the Cardiff Met Award , and we will have to consider providing additional resources and support for this area as a future development opportunity as demand increases.
The individuals involved in running the societies , participating in the Cardiff Met award will have an enhanced student experience and we will have added to their academic experience with the aim of making them more attract to employers and enhancing their future opportunities.
Many of the societies undertake fund raising activities for various charities , and our STAR society works very closely with the refugee organisations in Cardiff to increase awareness of these issues.
A major success last year was that they appealed to the University to provide funded places for eligible refugees which was approved by the Board of Governor. This initiative is being financially supported by the University and the Students Union.
4) How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
As part of the University we are party to the results of a number of survey outcomes but these tend to focus on academic/learning environment aspects.
Much of the feedback that we get from our members will be through issues that they raise through less formal structures and we use these to identify areas where we represent them to the University.
Each year we are required to provide information to the Board of Governors of the University in the form of an Impact report providing statistics to highlight student engagement.
However as a student led organisation, we are very close to our members and thus much of the feedback we get is direct from them. Through the various representation structures that we have , they have the opportunity to influence our future direction and tell us what they need and what they want us to focus on.
To formalise this process and open it up to all our members , we have started a ‘ Tell Us’ campaign where members can submit ideas on all areas of our activities and we have given an undertaking that a member of the senior team will provide a response and update to every submission.
The below questions are not mandatory, but Mark holders are encouraged to answer them where possible, to provide a fuller account of their social outcomes and the social value they create.
5) How many people have benefitted from your actions?
As a Union we provide a range of core services to our members including commercial (competitive and cost effective)and non-commercial operations. Some students take advantage of the activities and services that we have identified and directly provide, however, there are others who do similar activities as part of their academic commitments. It is difficult to fully quantify where students have gained the benefit from, and if we were to quantify the number of students that use the commercial service then we would be looking at thousands of points of contact each day.
Within the Students Union we have over 1200 Sports members participating in sporting and recreational activities on a weekly basis , contributing to their health and wellbeing and enhancing their student experience.
On the societies engagement , we currently have approx. 500 students actively engaged and supporting the affiliated societies within the Students Union.
We have 75 signed up student participating in the Cardiff Met award , and we are going to introduce a new element to this where students can sign up part way through the academic year and undertake some activity to qualify for the Award in readiness for their full sign up.
6) What examples can you provide of a typical service user experience, that helps illustrate the benefits they have experienced as a result of your actions?
STAR society as detailed earlier is a prime example of where we have supported a new society to start up which has led to civic and community benefits. The students are directly engaged in activities which help refugee issues and helping them to settle into the Cardiff community.
Through their internal campaign we have agreed a joint approach with the University to provide funded places for eligible refugees to study at Cardiff Met.
We feel the Cardiff Met Award has been a major success story for the SU , and each year it culminates in a prestigious award ceremony attending by senior University staff. What was evident and feedback to us was that it was noticeable the equal gender mix of those receiving the award and the number of International students that had integrated with the award.
Example 3 - Drinkaware Initiative & Safe Taxi Service
The Students Union has worked with the Crime Commissioner’s dept and Drinkaware to introduce the above initiatives to provide a safer environment for our students in Cardiff City centre.
A team of students were recruited to become the Drinkaware Crew , working in the affiliated clubs and providing students with support if they needed it. Whilst this initiative was focussed on students who were vulnerable through excessive drinking , a unexpected outcome was that students were opening up to the crew on a range of problems that they were experiencing in academic life.These ranged from bullying to simply struggling to settle in , and a number openly admitted to having mental health issues and felt they wanted to drop out.
A referral system was in put in place so that these students could be put in touch with support services within the University to provide support , counselling and advice for these students.
7) What other social benefits have you contributed that go beyond your core delivery activities (ones that are completely unrelated to your main services)?
The Students Union has a number of facilities that it includes social venues and meeting rooms which subject to availability and criteria , we can make available to local charities and groups.
The Board of Trustees approves each year , an external charity to be the nominated charity for our student groups and we have collection boxes for that nominated charity in each of our commercial operations. For the past 3 years the nominated charity has been Cancer research Wales.
8) What social and environmental benefits have you created from internal operational policies and actions?
The Students Union takes a lead on the application for Fairtrade Status , which we have achieved and we work with the University on Go Green Week.
A member of staff volunteered to cover a stand for the Cardiff Fairtrade organisation over the Summer as part of a major weekend event in Cardiff Bay.
We also work closely with Cardiff City Council and their Cardiff Digs team which involves community engagement issues with students and Keep Cardiff clean campaigns.One of students is employed as an intern on this project in the current academic year.
This year we also provided them with a large space within our Freshers fayre , so that they could sell refurbished ‘domestic’ equipment for students as they moved into their new accommodation. Similarly we promote their year end campaign where students in Halls can donate any unwanted domestic equipment.
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