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Research and Insight

At 鶹¾ we're committed to improving the lives of students. One of the ways we do that is by conducting research into the experiences of students which we use to shape our future work. Here is some of the research we've done over the last few years and what we've done as a result. 

BAME LGBTQ Report

In Spring 2023 our research assistant undertook a study to explore the lived experiences of BAME LGBTQ students and their intersectionalities. This project explored institutional processes of the University and 鶹¾, experiences with racism and homophobia/sexism and experiences within academia whilst providing safe spaces for students to express themselves in respectful, private and anonymous forums. Since this report, the University worked with the researcher to hire a BAME practitioner in the Open Door team and 鶹¾ has committed to language around 'Welcome Week' activities. 鶹¾ is working towards more inclusive forums to allow for greater accountability and scrutiny of its own policy process and is exploring the proposed BAME development fund with the student researcher. 

 

 

 

 

Ethical Investment and Divestment Report

In September 2019 the Union declared a climate emergency, this report looks in depth at the University's investments in and funding from unethical and socially damaging industries as well as data from student polls around University investments. Full details of 鶹¾'s work since declaring a climate emergency can be found here

 

 

International Student Engagement 

Conducted by our research assistant in Autumn 2022, this report looks at the experiences of international students studying at York and ways in which we could improve them. Since this research was done we have completed Recommendation 1 and created specific welcome content for international students including a handbook. We have also run a number of events specifically tailored to the needs of international students currently underway to assess the feasibility of the remaining recommendations. 

 

 

Democracy Review

After the 鶹¾ elections in 2023, a series of focus groups were conducted to better understand students' knowledge of democracy & the Union more generally, including why they may or may not participate in democratic activities. We will look to implement the short-term recommendations across the academic year 2022/23 however work on the mid-term and long-term recommendations has been paused pending the 鶹¾ and GSA merger.

 

 

 

Academic Representation Research

After trailing different representation models we conducted our largest-ever review of academic representation and student satisfaction at the end of the academic year 2022/2023. A number of recommendations will be implemented in the academic year 2023/2024 and will be evaluated at the end of the year. 

 

 

 

Life in Lockdown

In Spring 2020 we launched the ‘Life in Lockdown’ project, using personal narratives and storytelling to identify the complexities of students’ lived experiences during the first Covid-19 lockdown. The nature of the recommendations from this project means that they are still ongoing. 

 

 

 

 

Student Housing 

This report has been used to make the case for improved regulation for private renters in the City of York - an additional licensing framework was introduced by the city council in April 2023, and also to improve knowledge and info about students rights. Since the report's publication the UoY has introduced a dedicated housing advice specialist. We're also pleased to be working in collaboration on the launch of the Rate Your Landlord scheme in York with housing charity Unipol and the UoY this academic year. This will introduce an important consumer mechanism to York to allow students to talk about their personal renting experiences, and help others learn from them

 

Drinking & Drugs Safety

With a view to promoting wellbeing and safer student practices, this research looked to improve and extend the knowledge base of trends in drug and alcohol use amongst students at UoY. It also aimed to inform training for commercial services staff and increase the approachability of services to those students who are interested in accessing support. Since this research, we have developed dedicated resources and information for students with improved information about local drug services they can access, and undertaken reviews of our commercial operating procedures including event profiling, booking and risk management for all our venues and student activities. We have also lobbied the University to review and develop their drug and alcohol policies and adopt a harm minimisation and health promotion approach to drug and alcohol use. This has seen the University move away from punitive policy stances which have historically deterred students from seeking advice and support.