LUU should do more to support commuting students

Passed: March 2020 (16th)

What do you want? / Why do you want it?

Commuting students can face barriers integrating into University life as their differing student experience is not taken into consideration. By definition, commuting students are students whose term time and non-term time address is the same.

I founded the Leeds Uni Commuters Society in February 2019, setting up the group after feeling excluded from society events. The academic society for my course only runs one non-alcohol social per year and last year was held on a Sunday evening out of Leeds city centre. I couldn’t access this event due to trains not running and taking nearly twice as long. I have also struggled accessing union events, which are often held in the evening - meaning I would get home around 11pm after a day that starts at 7:20am. You can understand the ‘burn out’ I experience from commuting for around 3 hours a day (and cost to my wallet).

When I reveal where I live to course mates, I feel a constant sense of disbelief and questioning from people who didn’t truly appreciate my intersectioning circumstances. I felt imposter syndrome when I came to University; I come from working class Yorkshire roots, completed the Access to Leeds scheme, juggle full-time studying with part-time work, supporting and caring for my family with mental health conditions. This means that the society committee - which consists of other commuting students, in similar situations to myself - are time poor and often stretched with other commitments. We have struggled during our first year to increase our marketing, visibility and lobby for change in the University at the level and scale required. We would really benefit from LUU staff and resources to step in to help us, as we cannot do this alone.

The following are some examples of how we struggle to integrate;

  • The timing and focus of many social events

  • Commuters typically struggle to build networks/friendships during freshers week, their first year of University and beyond

  • Currently LUU and the University do not have any mention or advice for commuting students on their webpages.

  • Invisibility. It is incredibly hard for us to identify who are commuting students.

We propose:

  • Commuters Welcome Day

  • Commuters Recognition Day

  • Explicitly mentioning “Commuting students” on the LUU webpage

  • Guides for Commuting Students.

  • Explicit mention of “Commuting students” as part of the LUU Officer Exec role review.

Expires: March 2023 (16th)

Submitted By: Susan Preston

Officer: Union Affairs / Activities

Area of Work: Support

Updates

February 2021: Unfortunately there are no major updates on this. Because of lockdown and students not needing to be on campus, work on this has been momentarily paused.

August 2020: LUU and the University are undertaking a piece of work to emphasise 'belonging' which focuses on commuter students, among other marginalised student groups. Virtual freshers from LUU will hopefully make it more accessible for commuting students, as they won't need to be on campus.

June 2020: Unfortunately there are no major updates to this work over the summer as a result of lots of LUU staff being furloughed (ongoing), as well as the LUU building and campus being closed. As staff return to work and the new Officer team settle into their roles this will be picked up again.

April 2020: Leeds Uni Commuters Society Committee met with Activities and Political Engagement Team to discuss next steps and how the society can be supported with Welcome Day, Recognition Day and their Fresher's activity. Also highlighted where we could build in information about commuting students to existing guidance, and add new FAQs to Knowledge Owl service. Political Engagement Team also linked up society with Leadership & Governance Support who are leading on the Officer Role Review work.

March 2020: New Policy