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As adult learners the decision to study at Queen’s has serious implications not just for the student involved but also for their immediate family. The Partners’ Group meets regularly on campus at varying times and is open to any partner of a current Queen’s Foundation student. Specific events are held for partners of ministerial students as they prepare for ministry during the “bridging” programme. Resident students and partners play a key role in welcoming new families as they arrive to live on campus.
As a result of student and partners’ feedback, a buddy scheme was created in 2015 which paired new full-time course students and families up prior to arrival at Queen’s. This allowed an informal point of contact prior to, during and after moving to Queen’s, easing transitions and speeding up the forming of friendships. The buddy scheme is also used for all full-time students starting at Queens and students who volunteer to assist with us are playing a key role in enabling what can be a difficult transition into study. The scheme allows students to meet and learn from the many different cohorts of students living and learning at the Foundation.
Social Justice Forum
The Social Justice Group is a group of staff and students who meet regularly throughout the year to discuss matters of social justice and prophetic witness, and plan activities and action. The group is student-led, with different sub-groups of students carrying out particular actions and activities throughout the year, with the support of staff and the wider Queen’s community. The ethos of the group continues to be influenced by the passion of the late Queen’s tutor Professor John Hull who understood student engagement in acts of social justice and prophetic witness to be a key part of their formation for future ministry and mission. Actions and activities vary year by year, with the umbrella Social Justice Forum group deciding as a student body which issues to prioritise for the year ahead, and how best to engage in these. In January 2017 students organised an open event on ‘The Reality of Austerity Britain’, organising external experts to speak and engage in a panel discussion around benefit sanctions, Foodbanks, etc. Another sub-group engaged with issues around climate change and the environment, and worked closely with the Staff Student Forum and Catering team to think about how Food Waste might be reduced. Students and staff members also regularly organized groups to attend Citizens UK meetings and events. Other topics considered included the work of Amnesty International (with a group of students organizing an ‘Amnestea’ Tea party to raise awareness of the Human Rights violations Amnesty seek to address, gender-based violence, and Fairtrade.
Several students volunteer to run the common room, including in areas of refreshments, newspaper orders, cleanliness, and use for social events such as film nights.
Those volunteers lucky enough to pass our Librarian Michaels’ stringent library-volunteer training scheme (!) serve their fellow students by assisting throughout the year by liaising over student issues, promoting the annual survey, and providing out of hours library cover.
Students also volunteer across Queen’s in several other roles including organising second-hand book sales, assisting at staff Book Launches, the Queen’s annual lecture or other Foundation wide events, organising a Christmas show, and this year working on a Peace Garden project.
Participating in Consultations
Students all contribute by participating in the consultations discussed above with SSCF, AMG and other student representatives. However, one-off events, such as the QAA HER review in 2016, or the recent development of our new building, Frances Young House, have involved direct consultation with students over numerous issues such as suggestions for the name and the use of the building’s new facilities.