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Higher Education blogs

Transgender Awareness Week 2021: Supporting the trans community

15-19 November is Transgender Awareness Week. Garnet Fox, Service and Safety Advisor in Liverpool, shares their experience of being a trans employee at Unite Students, the current risks they face, and the very real consequences that discrimination can bring.

Interview: Embedding Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and Wellbeing at Unite Students

We caught up with Sam Kingsley - our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) and Wellbeing Manager - to find out about her work at Unite so far.

‘Look after your mate’: Our new peer support initiative

We’ve launched a pilot of ‘Look after your mate’ workshops for students, to guide them on what to do if a friend is struggling. Jenny Dalzell, Student Support Manager, shares more about this initiative, including what it involves, why we’re doing it, and how we’re doing it.

Providing a safe, stable home for Unite Foundation students

Find out what the Unite Foundation's scholarship students have to say about their experience of university during the pandemic, what improvements they’d like to see, and what it’s been like living in Unite Students’ buildings.

A new model for student leadership: Our updated resident ambassador programme

Unite Students launched its student ambassador scheme in 2016. This year, we’ve overhauled and rebranded it as the resident ambassador scheme; Intrapreneur Pin Yiong shares what the new-look initiative looks like.

A Day in the Life of… a Student Support Manager

In our feature series A Day in the Life Of…, we introduce some of our people on the front lines at Unite Students, working to make students’ accommodation experience the best it can be. This time, our interviewee is Jenny Dalzell, the Student Support Manager for Sheffield, Leeds and Birmingham, who has been with us for two and a half years.

Expectations v Reality of the 2021 Admissions Cycle

Accommodation Matters, our accommodation-focused podcast for the Higher Education sector, is back for a third series. This time, we’re looking back at the 2021 admissions cycle and what it’s meant for students, universities and accommodation providers – as well as what it might mean for the future.

How Mental Health First Aid can support student wellbeing

Ensuring students get the support they need is a priority for us at Unite Students. Student Support Manager Jenny Dalzell explains what Mental Health First Aid is, how it’s embedded into our support service, and how we’ve seen it work in practice.

What we’ve learned about Empty Nest Syndrome

Unite Students recently shared the stark findings of its research on Empty Nest Syndrome. But what is Empty Nest Syndrome, and why is it important for Higher Education to take notice?

Empty Nest Syndrome: How Higher Education can support parents and carers

Unite Students has today shared the findings of its research into Empty Nest Syndrome: the heightened sense of extreme grief that parents and carers may feel when their children leave home for the first time, which may be felt more strongly following an intense time spent with one another during the pandemic.

What events do students really want in their accommodation?

Social opportunities are a key part of students’ university experience and, when held in their accommodation, offer the opportunity to foster a sense of community within their building.

A safe student experience in Leeds with Unite Students

During 2021's welcome week, we spoke to our teams in Leeds – where we operate 11 properties – to find out how they’re going above and beyond to keep students safe as they adapt to living independently and making the most of their student experience.

COVID-19 Update: Updated Safety and Wellbeing Measures – 17th September 2021

With the return to campus well underway for the new academic year, and a majority of Covid-19 restrictions having been lifted across England, Scotland and Wales, Unite Students has adapted its approach to Covid for the year ahead.

All change: Reflections on the Universities UK Conference 2021

Jenny Shaw considers the key messages from the Universities UK National Conference 2021, and what these might mean for student accommodation heading into the new academic year and beyond.

How the pandemic has changed ResLife

Rebecca O'Hare of the University of Leeds shares her insights on the Residence Life sector, some of the revelations that have emerged from the pandemic, and how it might shape it going forwards.

Introducing Unite Students’ improved Student Support service

Jenny Shaw, Student Experience Director, outlines more details about what we're doing to upgrade and clarify our student support offer, which complements the services offered by our university partners.

Preparing for students’ arrival: What Unite Students does over the summer

Alex Bloor shares her experience of what goes on behind the scenes in our properties in order to prepare for the start of a new academic year, and how check-in has evolved over the years.

How has the transition to university changed over the last decade?

With the new academic year rapidly approaching, three Unite Students employees share their experiences of going to university for the first time: what their check-in experience was like, how they adapted to being away from home for the first time, and what's changed since they were freshers.

What do postgraduates want from their student accommodation?

Unite Students is trialling an offer aimed at meeting postgraduate students' needs. Here's all you need to know: why we're doing it, where it's being rolled out, and what it means for postgraduate students living with us.

Yearly digest: A round-up of Unite Students’ 2020/21

We look back over what the last year has brought for Unite Students, and some of the key announcements, research, initiatives and blog posts we've put out in that time.

How we listen to student feedback at Unite Students

Mike Lewis, Insight Manager at Unite Students, shares how we take on board student feedback to improve the service we provide to our residents.

Kickstart: Giving young people an opportunity at Unite Students

Unite Students employs young people as part of the Kickstart scheme. We speak to some of our new Kickstart employees.

Introducing our 2021/22 Return to Campus Partner Pack

Ahead of the new academic year, Unite Students is proud to share the Return to Campus Partner Pack for 2021/22. This pack offers insight and information into how we are preparing for the new academic year, the welcome experience that students will receive on arrival, and some of our key priorities for the coming year.

Accommodation Matters S02E05: Preparing for September (Part 2)

Last month's Accommodation Matters episode laid out the needs, concerns and expectations of incoming students – so in the second episode of this two-parter, we find out how the Higher Education sector is planning to welcome these students, support the particular needs of this cohort, and settle them into their new home.

Doing more to welcome international students in September

Pin Yiong, one of the intrapreneurs working to develop the service we offer at Unite Students, outlines how we’re developing our international student orientation, as well as his own experiences of arriving to study in the UK as an international student.

A better policy for support animals in student accommodation

Kerry Watson shares Unite Students' updated support animals policy, as outlined at the AMOSSHE National Conference 2021, and how university partners will be kept involved in the process.

How Unite Students is preparing for September

We’ve shared our research into incoming students, and behind the scenes at Unite Students we’re using these insights to shape our plans for 2021/22. One thing we’re in no doubt about is the importance of a great welcome to ensure students get off on the right foot in their Home for Success.

Accommodation Matters S02E04: Preparing for September (Part 1)

June's episode is the first of a two-parter on preparing for September, with this instalment focusing on the incoming student cohort, to share our learnings with the sector.

Round table: Meeting the needs of 2021’s incoming students

With the particular challenges faced by the class of 2021, we wanted to delve deeper into what they need and expect from university, so in June we hosted a round table with experts spanning the Higher Education sector.

What we’ve learned about next year’s students

Jenny Shaw summarises what we can expect to see from those students coming to university in the autumn, based on the findings of our recent applicant survey and expert round table.

Pride Month: Celebrating LGBTQ+ employees at Unite Students

For Pride Month 2021, we speak to two of our LGBTQ+ employees about their very different experiences of coming out, what Pride means to them, and working for Unite Students.

The importance of community to an LGBTQ+ student

A student shares his experience of being an LGBTQ+ commuter student: living at home with his parents, finding acceptance from his university peers, and the importance of community and belonging.

Student voice: What students think of our climate change survey findings

We recently shared the findings of our student survey on climate change; now, we speak to students about their thoughts on the findings, and what they're doing to be more environmentally sustainable.

Students want more action on climate change from higher education

Unite Students shares the findings of our latest student survey on climate change, which students consider to be the most urgent challenge facing society in 2021.

Becoming an anti-racist university

Making the transition to be an anti-racist organisation takes time, research, reflection, and honesty. Mhairi Taylor takes us through the University of Glasgow's journey to achieve this.

Accommodation Matters S02E03: Race and Inclusion in Higher Education

The latest episode of our Accommodation Matters podcast explores how the sector has responded to the murder of George Floyd and last year's Black Lives Matter protests.

A Day In The Life Of… a Housekeeping Team Leader

Meet Joanna Radomska, Housekeeping Team Leader for Sheffield, and find out her insights into life as a Unite Students housekeeper both before and during the pandemic.

Leading by example: Inclusive leadership in student accommodation

Frankie O'Connell explains the importance of inclusive leadership, how to achieve it, and how it benefits the wellbeing of employees and students.

Round-up: Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

To highlight Unite Students' organisational commitment to mental health, we ran a week of dedicated coverage for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 - summarised here.

What next? Supporting student mental health through the summer

After a challenging year, Unite Students shares how it's helping students with their mental health on top of its usual service provision.

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