Summary of SSAF funded initiatives undertaken by the University in 2012 – 2013

Melbourne University Sport

SSAF funds have provided MU Sport with the opportunity to reduce the cost for students to access some services, improve the quality and/or provide additional services, as follows:

  • Reduction in the cost of the more popular fitness memberships for students
  • Opening of an additional fitness centre in the southern precinct at Parkville, increasing the participation rates of students
  • Provided programs for casual and one-off sporting and fitness opportunities at low or no cost, including monthly group fitness master class programs and come and try activities
  • Support for sporting club initiatives to increase student participation
  • The appointment of professional club managers to reduce the burden on volunteer club officials
  • Additional support for student athletes and teams at national university sporting competitions
  • Commenced work on the sporting facilities maintenance backlog and allocated funding for several major capital projects

Children’s Services

SSAF funds are used to provide better access to early childhood education and care services for students with young children, with a particular emphasis on those on the lowest incomes, by means of the following strategies:

  • Discounted fees for students. In 2012 the student fee was $86/day compared with $100/day for staff.
  • The Student Rebate provides support for low income students, enabling them to continue to study by ensuring childcare is affordable. The rebate is a means tested and covers those using the University’s services as well as those using other child care centres.
  • Sessional Care enables students to access half day sessions of care, very unusual in the children’s services sector.
  • Shorter Year. Students using Children’s Services are able to finish care from the end of Semester 2 without being charged for the whole year or losing their place for the following year.

Student Connect

Funds from the Student Services and Amenities Fee have allowed for the creation of the Student Connect Program. Student Connect is part of the University’s developmental advising agenda, and a direct response to feedback from students about the quality and delivery of student advising. Features of the program to date have been:

  • the appointment of a new team including:
    • a manager with experience in higher education research and teaching as well as professional advising;
    • two Senior Student Development Advisers;
    • six Student Development Advisers; and
    • six Student Peer Advisers (current students at the University);
  • advisers engage in high-volume, face-to-face delivery of tailored, individual advice to students;
  • The Student Connect Program went live on Monday 21 January 2013 and, to date, has successfully contacted 45% of the incoming domestic and international cohort with 98% of those contacted booking appointments with Advisers
  • Every appointment is individually evaluated by students, and the results have demonstrated that 95% of students leave appointments feeling “motivated” and/or “connected”
  • Systems, processes and reporting will be refined as the service rolls out in 2013, incorporating student feedback.

Students @ Work

The Students @ Work (S@W) program aims to identify, increase and diversify student on-campus employment opportunities for both casual and intern positions. SSAF have allowed the program to continue to succeed and grow, as highlighted for the following:

  • There are now 275 registered members of the S@W program
  • Student Employment Services (SES) has facilitated 184 individual student work assignments and paid internships across campus.
  • As part of the biannual S@W bulk recruitment process, 100 students were taken through 3.5 hour assessment programs.
  • In partnership with the 13 MELB Contact Centre, the SES then facilitated the 2 week induction program for the 37 successful applicants.
  • In 2012 the SES team managed the recruitment of 79 new S@W staff including 19 course related internships
  • The target is to employ 1,000 Melbourne students by 2015 as part of the S@W program

Wellbeing promotion

A Wellbeing Promotion initiative is being developed which seeks to engage the university and student community across a number of wellbeing and health promotion and educative campaigns. Alcohol awareness, positive mental health and wellbeing (eg increasing social connectivity, improving mental health literacy), sexual health and smoking cessation are key focuses. After consulting key stakeholders and reviewing models of good practice, a dedicated position has been developed and is currently being recruited to deliver the program in 2013.

Services at campuses/settings other than Parkville

Consultation was undertaken during 2012 with four key faculties in relation to services for students who study away from the University’s main Parkville campus. While there are issues and service gaps that are specific to particular cohorts and campuses, some key themes emerged across all faculties and campuses:

  • Supporting local staff (academic and professional) to support students
  • Pastoral care
  • Learning infrastructure
  • Access to specific local facilities comparable to those at Parkville
  • Working with students to support students

UMSU conducted a parallel consultation with students about services at campuses other than Parkville, the findings of which were broadly consistent with these.

SSAF funds are enabling some targeted improvements to be made to student services at these campuses. These include:

  • student social spaces
  • in house gym facilities and access to local fitness programs
  • wireless access
  • access to a local health service
  • collective capacity building in mental health and pastoral care support.

Summary of SSAF funded initiatives undertaken by the Student Organisations in 2012 – 2013

Information about the use of SSAF funds by the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) is available at the following links:

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