Working together with Greenwich Students' Union and striving for collective advancement


We take a look back at how our relationship has created a journey of change and support at our university.

Our work in partnership with Greenwich Students’ Union (GSU) has been one of the many highlights of 2020 and demonstrates the power of collaboration to achieve our common goals.

GSU is an integral relationship to the university and by creating a shared platform for collaboration it means we can work together for positive advancement.

GSU is a critical friend to the university and their support role is an essential part of our success.

We are grateful for their hard work, collaboration, positive challenge, and authentic creativity. It is our firm belief that in order to progress and strive to achieve our common goals, it takes strength, perseverance, diplomacy and understanding.

Bilal Ijaz President of the GSU said: “Our relationship with the university is very important. Being an Officer last year and this year, I have seen the benefits that come to students when the Union and University work together. Jane especially has been great at working with Officers and the Union since her start. Myself and the Officer Team hear a range of feedback from students - their ups and downs, what they like and where they’re concerned. Our job is to take that to wherever it needs to go within the University - be a critical friend, suggest and support change, and celebrate what makes Greenwich great.”

Here are a few of the events and moments we shared and worked together with Greenwich Students’ Union.

Green Week 2020 – a series of talks and events to support the university’s sustainability goals

Our most ambitious Green Week yet, tackling the hard subjects we are all facing with climate change and how we can lead more sustainable lives. We worked hand in hand delivering a series of events and talks for staff and students to engage with.

Neil Lewis, Officer at GSU said: “Green Week is our annual celebration of all things Green at Greenwich and it is also a space to take some time out of our busy academic lives to think and reflect on what more we can do in our personal and professional lives to be more conscious and caring of our natural environment. It is great that the multiple departments of the university can take a community approach to fostering this opportunity in the true spirit of sustainability by capturing the essence of SDG 17: partnership for the goals. From the Business Human Rights Research Group, Natural Resources Institute, the Vice-Chancellor, SDU, GSU, student societies, communities of faith, professional services, catering services, Reslife & accommodation, alumni - we have really come together for this cause.”

Decolonising the University – ensuring we are an institution that addresses all aspects of diversity and celebrates inclusivity

The university is working towards decolonising the institution, taking a structured and collaborative approach. The purpose is to create a more diverse approach to learning, teaching and research, leading to a more inclusive environment for every student.

You can read more about the work from GSU about the Decolonisation Project in their Officer statement. This is a project that the current Officer Team have started this year, and which has the endorsement of the Vice Chancellor. The project spans wider than the curriculum - it’s also about ensuring Greenwich isn’t just diverse but actively inclusive.

Coronavirus Task & Finish groups – teaching and student experience groups

Covid-19 quickly changed how we worked across the university. The Coronavirus Task & Finish (T&F) Groups were set-up to assess, plan and action provisions for the impact of Covid-19.  Working groups were set-up to provide support and to ensure continuity of learning for students.

GSU were involved in a number of T&F groups and helped to shape the response and support for students. Their Covid-19 Impact Survey to students in May 2020 provided important feedback to support our approach to lockdown, providing a student perspective that fed into our overall strategy for Covid-19 response. The result was a multi-dimensional response to our approach ensuring the student perspective has a platform and that we considered all aspects of our approach to support and learning.

Wellbeing Checks and Retention project

This year the annual Wellbeing Checks, run by GSU, were moved online due to Covid -19 restrictions. In November, the checks were expanded to become a central part of the new Retention Project. GSU was commissioned by the university to deliver the project, recruiting a team of Student Ambassadors to place all the calls. The project has since been expanded to call every student. Over 16,000 calls have now been made, with over 4,000 of those resulting in a full check. Students have commented the following:
Feedback from Ambassadors:
“At the end, she asked me what my name is and said she will always remember me because I helped her a lot and I made a huge impact and she is very grateful.”

“One student particularly appreciated the call because it made her feel very welcome at the university and gave her some motivation for this year.”

Feedback from Students:

“It made me feel cared for and valued as much as full time students living on campus, even though I am a very part time student living a long way off site. Thank you so much.”

“The girl I spoke to on the phone was so lovely and made me feel very welcome and comfortable with speaking about my problems. She gave me all the information for my questions and went above what she needed to do just to help me out with how confused I was with certain things. I am very grateful for the call.”

Creating a shared platform between the university and GSU Officers

Vital to the success of the university is the relationship we have with GSU, creating a shared platform for communication means we are able to have an honest and open forum to discuss issues and create change.

The Officer Team, as the student leadership of the Union, have a valued relationship with the Vice-Chancellor. Officers represent students in various task and finish groups and Faculty meetings to put across students’ views. This ensures that the student voice is heard across all university structures.

GSU added: “Our Representation Strategy is a great example of how the university and Union work together. The strategy for 2020-2023 lays out work for both parties to do in partnership that will mean the student voice reaches all corners of the university across the relevant levels to create the necessary change they need for their experience. Actions include developing our democratic and representation structures to have consistent, high quality and impactful student involvement. Achieving it will not be possible without the close working relationships that we have and will continue to forge.”

We want to thank GSU for their continued support and look forward to a fantastic 2021 together.