Bristol’s plans for September are ‘value for money’, says Julio Mkok

The SU officer was on Sky News talking about what the next few months look like for the uni

The elected Bristol Union Affairs Officer, Julio Mkok, was on Sky news on Tuesday morning talking through the plans for the next academic year.

This follows the university’s recent announcement that they would be transitioning to online teaching, with face-to-face seminars, from the beginning of the next academic year.

Julio discussed the universities plans to move forward, how the university experience will still be value for money and support for mental health and well-being.

In the webcam interview with Gamal Fahnbulleh, Julio was first asked what the next months will look like for students: “The next few months are a grey area, because we are not really sure of the restrictions from the government.

“The restrictions we put in place will maintain the safety of the students and still uphold the quality of education that is rendered, at the same time still observing the social distancing rules and trying to create a sense of university community, which is the most important aspect”

‘I think it is value for money’

Fahnbulleh asked whether the students’ experiences will be value for money, to which Julio eagerly agreed.

“Yes I think it is value for money, however as a student’s union we are reviewing and gathering feedback from all types of students as much as we can in order to make sure all student voices are represented in all university decisions.

“I would say that, yes, it currently is value for money but once we have collected all the data and feedback from students the value for money perception might change. All we can do now is wait.”

‘The SU are still planning on holding a welcome fair and welcome week’

Julio was also asked whether the university experience would still be the same online, with the lack of social interaction: “The social aspects will still be available, the student’s union are still planning on holding a welcome fair and welcome week, which will be an induction period for students to come in so we can teach them on the new directions and limitations put in by the government so they can get used to it as time goes by.”

Julio was also asked whether the mental health and well-being of students was a concern, to which he answered, “the well-being and mental health of students will always be a concern and not just come up in the rise of the Coronavirus.

“Its a difficult time, but I feel like everyone is doing what they can at the moment and considering the uncertain period the results, the limitations and solutions that have been provided are what we can do at the moment.”

‘It is the right path in order to safeguard the safety and well-being of our students’

He describes the universities approach as “similar to other universities.” such as Oxford and Exeter, and describes how the situation is changeable: “The situation might change, we cannot determine what the situation will be in the future until we have the confirmation from the government and the limitations that will be there post October and post Covid, so at the moment i think it is the right path taken in order to safeguard the safety and well-being of our students as we move on through this uncertain time.”

A Bristol SU Spokesperson commented on the plans for welcome week: “Welcome Week will look different this year compared to previous welcome week event programmes and we’re still working out a lot of the detail.

“However, we’re working hard to make sure that what we deliver continues to be high-quality, engaging and fun. Its primary focus will be on connecting students to each other, building a sense of community and connection to the city and to replicate where possible all the aspects of Welcome Week that make it so amazing.

We’ll be sharing more information in due course and encourage students to keep an eye on our channels as we reveal more about the official welcome week programme.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Bristol moves lectures online for 2020/21 with face-to-face seminars 

• ‘Universities need to do better’: New documentary explores well-being support of BME students at Bristol

• ‘I’ve had to work in call centres’: Bristol Uni staff speak out about temporary contract