Southampton Student Youth Board
Southampton Hub launches Student Youth Board in partnership with Southampton City Council for Student Volunteering Week 2020.
On Tuesday 11th February students from University of Southampton and Southampton Solent came together with Southampton Hub and Southampton City Council to voice their views and experiences of the city.
Why is this needed?
Southampton currently have a successful Youth Forum which is facilitated by Hayden Collins, Youth Participation Officer. Even though students under 25 are classed as ‘young people’, it has been difficult to engage them. In addition to this, Hayden noted that the experiences of young people growing up in the city could be very different to those of students and we would not want to risk prioritising one over the other. Student voice is very important to Student Hubs, we want to ensure that we are responding to the issues students are facing through our key social action activities but also, that their experience is heard.
… and from here came the Student Youth Board. A space for university students in the city to vocalise issues and be heard by the people who make decisions. Here is what we heard in our first meeting:
What are the hot topics and issues facing students?
We could have talked about issues for way over our room booking but here are 6 of the top issues that our board thought are affecting students in Southampton today.
It would be appropriate to say that the environment is a hot topic everywhere at the moment due to the climate crisis. Southampton are in the process of launching their Green Charter and Southampton Hub’s Biocycle has been making waves with their food waste initiative. But what are the specific environmental issues that students care about?
- Litter on the streets
- Recycling in bins: an understanding of what can be recycled in Southampton in addition to motivating people to do it.
- Education on what happens to our rubbish.
- City wide food waste collection.
- Rats: everywhere in the city.
Being able to find a space outside student houses is an issue our board identified and this is made particularly worse if you need a permit!
There are many parks in Southampton that are lovely in the day but when it gets dark, they are unsafe and a space for crime. This is particularly relevant for Solent students who have to walk through the parks daily to get to university.
Southampton Hub attended the Serious Violence Summit this month which highlighted high levels of crime in Southampton. Specific types of crime that students are worried about are:
Housing is a massive part of university. Living independently for the first time, it is vital that students are surrounded by spaces and people that make them feel safe. However accommodation issues that they are facing include:
- Cost of housing is expensive, particularly private housing.
- Poor living conditions.
- Unhelpful Landlords
6. Student Rights
Voices from both universities highlighted that many students do not know their rights in the city in comparison to full time, permanent residents.
Engaging more student voices
In addition to current issues, we spoke about how we can engage more students in these conversations. We spoke about:
Accessibility: We want to make sure that getting to the meetings is easy for everyone. Ideas included: alternating venues at each university, free travel, group travel and times of day that are not cold and dark.
Food: Providing food is a great way to entice people to events. Particularly if the time slot falls over dinner time, they are more likely to choose food!
Social: We want the Student Youth Board to be a chance for students to meet likeminded individuals, build friendships and have fun!
Skill Development: Joining the board provides an opportunity to gain key transferrable skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication. It is also a great opportunity to network with important people in the city.
If you are interested in joining the Student Youth Board, please contact Sophie Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear about your experience and how we can make this opportunity accessible to you.