Looking out for our students

22 April 2020

My experience of being a Student Support and Wellbeing Outreach team member – by Mohamed Omar

Man on top of a fjord

On 16 April, SSW launched the ‘Looking out for our students’ campaign with a purpose to keep in touch with students and help them feel cared for and supported during the COVID-19 situation. The Outreach team has been making friendly phone calls to home and international students to check on how they are dealing with the current situation.

As Student Enquiries Officers, we are the front facing team for SRS and one of the first points of contact for a student regarding UCL processes and core services. Whilst our doors on Gordon Street have temporarily closed, we continue to support hundreds of students every day, from sending a Statement of Award digitally, to updating a student’s record or providing advice and guidance to a plethora of enquiries post lockdown.

Being on the phones has been fruitful, it’s checking in and having a friendly conversation with the student. Once they feel comfortable, students do open up, query and ask questions as they would in the Student Enquiries Centre. Most questions have been related to their academic studies and student experience. Importantly, we have been given the tools to support our students over the phone by having key faculty contacts, being able to count on colleagues in the Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Teams and in some cases, filling out a Student of Concern form. Other than being a little surprised, students have received the campaign very well, vocalising their pleasure and appreciation of the calls to them and their peers.

This outreach initiative has been important as we still have some responsibility over our students’ care and wellbeing. Making calls and gauging the differing issues and challenges students face is imperative to understanding the impact of COVID-19 on our students, both at home and those that are thousands of miles away.