WHAT'S HAPPENED TO THE UNION?
We've made some changes to our services; some are 100% online, some continue to be open like normal – just with some small changes. We’ll keep updating this page to let you know of any changes to how we’re doing things and how you can get help if you need it.
The Union Building
The Union building might be a bit quieter than normal – our offices are currently closed, as is Liberty’s and Zeros BUT Geordies is open (we’ve actually just launched a new food and drinks menu which is soo good)! We also have launched an app that you can use to keep up to date on all student news and events here.
Talking about app must-haves! We recommend students download the Protect Scotland app available here. While inside campus buildings, please be sure to wear a face mask and keep to social distancing measures.
If you want to book a table at Geordies, use the link here.
- We’re currently open 12pm-10pm for drinks, serving food from 6pm
- We are only taking bookings for 1 household per table, and a maximum of 5 people
- We are only taking bookings for students staying on campus
The Advice Hub
The Advice Hub has gone 100% digital! You can email the Advice Hub here - Angela and Ailie are available from 10am - 4:30pm Monday-Friday for issues relating to your studies and wellbeing. You can even have a virtual face-to-face meeting with them through Microsoft Teams!
What they can help with:
They can help primarily with academic issues like mitigating circumstances, appeals and similar issues, but they’re also able to advise more generally on other issues including accommodation, health and wellbeing, and some consumer issues.
For full details of what they can and can’t help with, check out their page here.
The shop is open for all your needs as usual – we’ve got stationery, groceries, drinks, and more all on offer! As with the rest of the University buildings, please follow mask requirements, social distancing practices and one-way systems in place.
Are you self-isolating?
Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered! If you’re staying on campus and self-isolating for any reason, we can get you groceries if you can’t make it to the shops.
Head to our online food shop link here, log in with your student email, and check out our supply of grocery, snack and student essentials – delivered right to your door in halls!
Our societies are still active throughout this year! They've been hard at work planning and adapting events online so you won't be short of ways to meet new students, try new skills, and have fun! Recently, we've also taken to showing events from across University departments and services like Careers, Library and Wellbeing so there's even more for you to check out!
Despite all the challenges this year's presented so far, our societies are having a GREAT year - we've got both record numbers of societies registered with us AND record numbers of students active within those societies! We've super proud of all the work they do: from making the campus and student experience uniquely Heriot-Watt, to the money they raise for charity, and the skills they teach to students and we can't thank them enough for helping students remain connected throughout this year.
Check out our What's On page for all the events and how to join!
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
With the UK Government’s furlough scheme having come to an end, a lot of students are in a tough position financially and we’d like to help point you in direction of resources and services to help you get through it. Whether your hours have been cut or disappeared entirely, you're unsure if you qualify for benefits, or you're just trying to meet your bills throughout all this, here's some resources and advice.
What you earn
A huge worry for everyone just now is income and being able to get by without or with less work. If you're not able to work from home, it might not be as bad as you think. The UK Government has changed legislation and you have some options for recouping lost income:
- Do you qualify for sick pay?
- Do you qualify for Universal Credit?
- Do you qualify for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?
- Were your hours cut or cancelled from COVID-19?
- Do you self-assess your taxes and need extra time?
Even with student bursaries and loans, your outgoings can often be more than your income. That’s why getting your finances in check as much as possible is important. Budget as much as you can, and if you're able to, apply for essential work areas or place applications for support services. With ongoing changes to what businesses can open when, finding a more stable job can be difficult. If things get very hard, the Advice Hub can help you source temporary financial assistance
Who you owe
Banks, landlords and other creditors are being urged to provide plans or periods of time where debt collection is more lenient.
Depending on who you bank with, how understanding your landlord is and anyone else you have outstanding balances with (credit cards, etc), finding a re-payment plan that takes into account the next few months will be different for everyone.
Contact them, check their websites and come to an arrangement that’s manageable and helps ease your stress.
THE STUDENT STUFF
Face-to-face teaching has been replaced with online sessions for most students. This is a huge change to your student experience and we’re working with the University on how to improve it. We currently have a survey open to student feedback on issues ranging from lecture quality, events across the semester, available facilities, and more. Head to hwunion.com/speakweek and tell us your feedback before 18th October!
HERE ARE SOME OTHER WAYS TO HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD:
As well as giving us your feedback here, you can get in touch to work with us directly on the issues impacting you:
The Semester 1 exam timetable is due later this month; some students may have in-person exams, some may have take-home exams again. Whichever your course has, be sure to note your exam date. If you have a take-home exam, plan for when your exam paper is released, when it is due again, and the steps needed to submit also.
If you need further help or advice on particular circumstances, you can email the Union’s Advice Hub on firstname.lastname@example.org . Angela and Ailie are available 10am-4pm Monday-Friday for support about what to do if your studies are especially impacted.
STUDYING AND ROUTINE
When working and studying from home, finding a routine that works for you is really important but really difficult. Making a space that’s comfortable and functional but also professional doesn't mean you're not allowed to have distractions.
If you’re still struggling to be productive, try to set hard boundaries for short bursts where all you do is work - even if it's for 30 or 45 minutes. Stretch those periods out and get content down on a page until it becomes easier.
If nothing else, don't work past when you normally would stop; you'll only make it harder the next day to chip away at coursework and projects. Take time for you, keep in touch with friends and family, and wash ya hands.
This also goes for when you have take-home exams so plan ahead for a space you can use for an hour or two to write.
KEEPIN' YA HEAD UP
Keeping busy and in touch online
Union societies, sports clubs and University services have been busy planning events across the semester – head to hwunion.com/whatson to see how you can get involved in a new hobby, meet new people or learn some great skills!
We also have a WattU page available that has online content from students on some of their favourite books, shows, podcasts, films and more! Check it out, or add a recommendation of your own for other students to find here.
Tell us about U!
If you’re interested in keeping up to date with events, news, and more, let us know what you’re interested in! Head to hwunion.com/welcome and select topics that describe you – we’ll then send you content that you’re actually interested in!