Purnur Altay – President – End of Year Blog
Hello all, for every good thing in life, there is also an end, and I am about to finish my second term in the office on 31 August. In this short blog I wanted to look back and reflect on the last two years where I had the pleasure of trying to make your experience better.
It has been a lovely yet difficult journey where my team and I needed to face a number of challenges along the way, we needed to adapt and find solutions for things that none of us had experienced before. I had numerous strenuous conversations, disagreements, disappointments, yet also rewarding outcomes which have become a driving force to keep me going.
I had a chance to meet many wonderful people during this time and had the opportunity to work with amazing colleagues both within the University and the GSA. I would like to express my gratitude to all the GSA staff members for bearing through all the ramblings that I made when I was designing a campaign plan and being there for me and for all of you. Also I would like to thank my CEO and Trustee Board members for empowering me as a leader and encouraging me to keep going even when I am exhausted. I would like to thank my sabbatical team colleagues not only for their work and kindness but also for their friendship along the way. While leaving, I feel like I have accumulated life-long friendships and I am very grateful for that. Last but not least, I had the opportunity to meet many of you whether through a campaign, on picket lines, in events or through some difficulty you have encountered along the way. I am thankful for the support and encouragement that I have received through successful campaigns and the frustrations that I have shared with you.
With your support over the last two years, I have:
- familiarised the University Council members with the work GSA is doing by initiating the inclusion of the President’s report in the Council Agenda.
- Started Your Guarantor Partnership
- Created 123 language bursaries for postgraduate students
- Cancelled the evidence requirement for LOA and Extension applications
- Cancelled Supervisors’ sign off the extension and LOA requests.
- Cancelled the continuation fee for PGRs
- Co-created ESSF which benefited thousands of students and gave away more than £1M.
- Wrote letters to Michelle Donelan about the problems that students are facing both with the VC and YUSU and with my counterparts in other SUs nationally.
- Have been a big advocate of the issues that International Students face and talk about them in both panels and the committee meetings that I attended.
- Participated in a high number of senior level recruitment panels, student focus groups so that we can make sure that incoming staff are student-friendly.
- Attended open days to familiarise prospective students with the GSA
- worked with the University to offer and alternative Graduation experience: Departmental farewell events
- Sent letters to landlords and Local MPs to discuss students’ challenges with accomodations
- Met with Local MPs to discuss problems that international students face
- Got PCR test reimbursed for international students
- Had several meetings with the PG officers in other Unions to talk to them about our successful campaigns and give them ideas about their projects.
- Talked to staff from other unions which try to expand their PG representation.
- Campaigned for a family-friendly PG Social Space and will continue to do so until 5pm on 31 August.
While I am about to end this blog, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you! The list abow, the stuff that I have achieved, was only possible through your support and votes in the elections. Please keep raising your voices, participate in the elections and help the GSA to make postgraduate students matter!
Hope our paths cross again.