The University of Sheffield was the backdrop for this year’s CUBO Residence Life Conference and Residence Life Star Awards, which drew a record number of delegates from university and private purpose-built student accommodation.
The conference, which supports the development of the Residence Life professionals and programmes, took place over two days on 3-4 May as a hybrid event, with 110 delegates attending in person and a further 111 online. Key themes explored at the conference were student wellbeing, and equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI).
Keynote speaker Anthony Burnett, CEO of the anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out, illustrated his session on ‘Creating Inclusive Communities’ with examples of tackling discrimination in professional and grassroots football, while Jenny Shaw and Sam Kingsley from Unite Students discussed how the findings of their recent ‘Living Black at University’ report can be a catalyst for real change.
Sally Olohan MBE of the University of Westminster and Jenny Smith from Student Minds outlined ways in which universities can more effectively support student mental health in the place where students spend most of their time – their accommodation. Oliver Harrison from Campuslife shared pointers from international student focus groups on how to better support international student wellbeing pre-arrival and in the critical first few weeks at university.
The ‘Exploration of the UK Paraprofessional Role’ by Dr. Kevin Conn from New York University and Katie Boone, Ed.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University, a comparative study of Residence Life models in the UK and USA, showed how the profile of residence life as a career could be further raised in the UK.
In other workshops, Nottingham Trent University and UPP’s new Residence Life model and Sodexo’s personalisation of Residence Life delivery provided great examples of innovative university-private provider partnerships. Mel Loizou from consultancy Fish Climb Trees showed the audience how to build team rapport quickly with the use of “life maps”, while Liam Watson of Drugstraining.com alerted delegates to new drugs, new ways of marketing them and how to make students aware of the risks.
Sheffield SU’s Welfare & Sustainability Officer, Anesu Matanda-Mambingo, shared how Residence Life can support the sustainability agenda by rethinking ways of working and creating long-lasting change.
CUBO’s CEO, Jan Capper, said:
“This has been our biggest Residence Life Conference to date and the feedback has been very positive. Living away from home for the first time is stressful, and residence life programmes play a vital role in helping students to settle and succeed in their studies. Residence Life came into its own during the pandemic, and there is now more understanding within institutions of just how much they contribute to a positive student experience.”
A highlight of the Conference was the CUBO Residence Life Star Awards evening. The awards recognise outstanding professionals and students working in Residence Life teams across the UK and Ireland to create supportive living and learning communities in purpose-built student accommodation.
The awards comprise six Student Star Awards and the CUBO & Acuho-I Residence Life New Professional Award. Student winners receive a trophy and invitation to the CUBO Residence Life Conference, while the winner of the New Professional Award receives a trophy and funding to attend the Acuho-I Conference in the USA.
The 2022 CUBO Residence Life Student Stars are: Mitchel Stuffers (University of Exeter), George Harrington (University of Leicester), Rubie Hughes (University of the Arts London), Clark Kent Chavez (London School of Economics and Political Science), Maria Schiza (University of Edinburgh and Penelope Milner (University of Leeds).
The CUBO & Acuho-i Residence Life New Professional went to Luci Cockayne (University of Manchester).
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