What did you study? 

LLB Law 

Here Safa talks about her journey at Aston Law School and the work she did in this role.

My journey has been great! The lecturers I have had over the past two years, and my personal tutor Lauren, have always been really welcoming and supportive. Whenever I need advice or help with module work, my CV or legal applications, they have always been there for me. 

 

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You were the Vice President of Welfare at Aston Students Union, what did that involve?

I actually struggle to summarise what my role entails whenever I get asked this question because in all honesty, the roles and responsibilities I have are broad and different. No day is the same for me. As an overview, I look after student welfare within the University and Union. This ranges from topics like mental health, sexual health and disabilities to finance, diversity and inclusion, accommodation and more! I also run my own campaigns and projects. Sometimes they are in joint collaboration with the other Sabbatical Officers, and others tend to be individual. I sit on multiple working groups internally at Aston but also externally within the wider West Midlands region, as well as Senate and Council meetings. I find myself delivering presentations and talks to students too, more frequently now that first term is in full swing! There are more responsibilities that I could talk about, but I’ll leave it there! 

You had multiple campaigns going on. Could you give us an insight into your newest campaign, ‘Break The Silence,’ and what you seek to achieve with it? 

‘Break The Silence’ is an anti-sexual violence campaign that I will be working on throughout the academic year during my term as a Sabbatical Officer. There is a significant need to dismantle the lack of conversation surrounding the topic of sexual violence across university campuses within the United Kingdom. The campaign intends to shed light on a conversation that is forgotten and an issue that affects hundreds of students sadly. With this campaign, I aim to educate other students about sexual violence, the abuse that students experience as well as the signs and consequences. I wish to reduce the common stigma around the topic and strive to produce a practical reporting tool for Aston students to utilise. I would like to also raise awareness of the available student support services on campus, as well as external organisations for Aston students.

What work has gone into starting this campaign?

The University has a new Anti-Bullying and Harassment policy which encompasses sexual violence, so I am working with the University to create a practical reporting tool. A working group has been set up which invites key players within the University and Union support system. The purpose of this tool will allow students to report incidents and/or get advice. I have also taken part and completed domestic abuse and sexual violence training and am working with a company to roll out a consent programme to all Aston students to access. Within the Students’ Union, we operate the Ask for Angela scheme, so I am focusing on making that more widespread across campus for students to know about. Externally, I am part of the West Midlands Universities Sexual Violence working group and I am working with local SARCs for student referrals. 

How has Covid-19 affected the campaign?

Fortunately, it has not affected the campaign in a negative way! Though the only downside is not being able to do events in-person with students (as I would have liked), in fact it has helped me take advantage and utilise the digital content and resources out there. 
 

How can students get involved?

Educating others is a real key element of this campaign, so students can get involved by sharing the content and resources that are on the campaign’s Instagram page (@br.eakthesilence). It would be really great if many students get involved with the consent programme when it does roll out later this academic year.