I’ve been working hard on my policies and I’m pleased to say that I’ve recently completed a few of them. So, here are my policy updates:
HIV – Testing, Testing, Testing.
This policy was passed in November 2018, and asked for the SU to lobby the Welsh Government to fund free HIV testing kits for residents in Wales.
Having written to Hywel Dda Health Board, they have confirmed that students can access HIV testing from existing sexual health service by Padarn, where full counselling and support is offered.
The turn-around time for the test results is now down to 5 days and support is provided during this period. Positive results are given with full counselling, and the individual is referred on to Swansea which offers HIV related care. Residents of the Hywel Dda area with a positive HIV test are then supported by the Blood Borne Virus (BBV) service based at Bronglais in Aberystwyth.
Also, a small number of home testing kits are now available upon request from the Students’ Union Advice Service free of charge!
The Final Straw
This policy was passed in October 2017 and asked for the SU to work to reduce the number of drinking straws used on campus.
All straws on campus are now biodegradable. Straws are kept behind the counter and only made available upon request, with the exception of Starbucks outlets.
In addition to straws, all take-away cutlery and containers on campus are now either wooden or Vegware plastic which is biodegradable if composted in the correct facilities. The problem with this is that there aren’t any composting facilities in Wales that can process biodegradable packaging, meaning that the Vegware packaging that is being used is being sent to landfill, where it will take a long time to degrade. I am currently working on a letter to send to the council asking whether there are any plans for composting sites in Wales to be improved.
The University has since been awarded a ‘Plastic Free’ status by Surfers Against Sewage, held a ‘Plastic Free Day’, and has set up a ‘Plastic Free Aberystwyth University’ working group, which I am a member of.
I also conducted a survey to find out how many businesses in town are still using single-use plastics, with over a quarter responding they are completely single-use plastic free and a large number of other using alternative materials
Although this policy is complete, Aber SU will continue to push the University to reduce its plastic consumption wherever possible.
Toilets For Everyone
This policy was passed in March 2018, which asked the SU to work towards gender neutral toilets being introduced across campus.
Since then gender neutral toilets have been introduced to several buildings on campus. I also met with appropriate staff members from the University’s Estates Department to agree that all new builds and renovations in the future will include gender neutral toilets; and current buildings where renovated will be reviewed to see where gender neutral toilets may possibly be added in line with relevant good practice and legislation. This is now University practice where works are undertaken.
You can find all the details of my current and completed policies here: https://www.abersu.co.uk/shapeaber/policy/
Lydia Chilvers –
Wellbeing Officer, 2019-20.