This part of the website is a source of information on how your club or society can be more inclusive and accessible to your members. We encourage you to look through the below guidance and other guidance available to put some steps in place to make sure your club or society is accessible to ALL students and everyone feels welcome.
Content on this page and the resources provided will cover themes of racism, sexual violence, homophobia, transphobia, ableism.
Inclusivity Development Tool
If you are not sure where to start, as a committee have a look at the different sections of our inclusivity development tool and choose some key areas to focus on. The development tool is designed to get you to think about your student group, where it performs well and where there are opportunities for improvements.
Equality and Diversity Handbook
To support equality and diversity officers we have created a booklet that gives you information and advice on how you can make your student group accessible to ALL students. This booklet builds upon what you would have learnt during the Equality and Diversity committee training so it is important that you do attend this training. The booklet can be found here.
We understand that the booklet in PDF format will not be accessible for all students, which is why we have included the information as part of the pages below. If you think there is an important topic or information we have missed out on these pages, please let us know and we can add this in to support other student groups. At the top of this page to the right-hand side, there is the Recite Me toolbar that makes the Students' Union website more accessible. To find out all the features of the recite me toolbar and its functions, click here.
You can view the roles and responsibilities of the equality and diversity officer here.
Alcohol Awareness - A Night To Remember
What is A Night To Remember?
The campaign provides education and activities on the impact of alcohol on your health to make sure you have a good university experience. This year we will be focusing on mental health and the impact lockdown has had on alcohol intake. This isn't about getting students to stop drinking. It's about creating a positive culture of responsible drinking on and off-campus, changing attitudes towards alcohol, and continuing to provide a safe community for all students.
Support for clubs and societies
Due to covid-19 and lockdown in November 2020, the A Night to Remember Booklet this year will support you to run online non-alcohol-related events. Here is the new 2020-21 A Night to Remember Booklet.
Once you can do socials face to face, we will provide you with discounts and incentives to head to places in Norwich to take part in activities such as a gaming cafe, bowling and escape rooms. This is so you can hold low-cost socials for your members, giving you a sustainable alternative. The booklet will also have educational parts about why some students don't drink and the impact of alcohol on our mental health.
Inclusive social Events - Here is the Club Soda - Mindful Drinking for Inclusive Social Events Booklet. Gives you lots of practical tips to support non-drinkers feel included in your events.
Have you got a quiz coming up? Why not add some alcohol awareness questions in - here are some to get you started!
Why is the campaign needed?
UEA Clubs & Society Survey March 2020: -
- 15.1% of non-members have not joined a club/society this year as they have too much focus on drinking.
- 9.8% of society members strongly disagree or disagree that their society has non-alcohol focused socials, 16.6% of club members say the same.
NUS Alcohol Impact survey: -
- 73% of UEA students agree that they don't like socialising with people who get very drunk and ruin the night for others.
- 30% of UEA students sometimes feel pressure from their friends to drink more than they would like to.
Alcohol Change UK: -
- 1 in five (19%) of those surveyed said they had drunk alcohol as a way to handle stress or anxiety during the lockdown. Of these who drank more heavily during lockdown (nice plus units on each drinking day), 40% had drunk as a response to the stress of anxiety.
- Around 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year and drinking too much or too often can increase our risk. But many of us are unaware of the link between alcohol and poor mental health. Regular drinking can mask underlying mental health problems - such as anxiety and depression - and prevent them from being properly addressed, or even worsen them.
What is alcohol awareness week?
Alcohol awareness week 2023 will take place from 3rd to 9th July on the theme of alcohol and mental health. In a year of extraordinary change and uncertainty, it offers us a chance to think about the ways in which we may sometimes use alcohol to help us cope when we've feeling low, anxious, stressed or worried. It also offers opportunities to highlight some of the more serious mental health problems that can go hand-in-hand with heavy drinking. You can find out more about the link between alcohol and mental health here.
Find out more about what we do for Alcohol Awareness Week here.
Support for students that need help with their alcohol intake
If you need support with your drinking or want to support another student, advice (su) and student services are here to help with signposting to external sources of support as well as offering support around managing the impacts of student life such as deadline, attendance and finance. If you are looking for local support, have a look at the Matthew Project and if you are under 25, MAP is here to help.
Last Year's Deals
These were some of the places we had deals with last academic year and we will look to repeat some of these;
You can view the 2019/20 booklet (please note the deals are likely to be outdated now). Here is the Night to Remember Booklet.
Creating Accessible Online Content
uea(su) can provide your club or society with anti-racism training. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request this.
A microaggression is a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (often a racial minority).
Some examples of microaggressions:
- Touching someone’s hair e.g. touching afro-textured hair
- Crossing over to the other side of the street to avoid someone from a different ethnicity
- Being treated less favourably or with more suspicion in a shop than a white person
- ‘Where are you really from?’
- Offering more support or help to white students
- Talking over people with lived experiences of the issue
Who are commuter students?
Commuter students could be:
- anyone that doesn’t live on campus,
- anyone who lives at home during university, or
- anyone who lives outside of a student area in Norwich.
It is important to note that commuter students are such a diverse group of people and it impossible to generalise across it. You may have some commuter students that choose to live at home because of family, caring and employment responsibilities.
Integrating Members and Reducing Cliques
What is a clique?
A clique is a small close-knit group which tends to exclude outsiders from joining.
We all fall into the trap of being comfortable and sticking to our small little groups. Whether this is your committee or your friends - it happens to all of us.
For example, at society meetings, all the committee members usually sit next to each other and don't integrate with members. This can be seen as cliquey by new members of society and make it seem like you don't want to include them.
Of course, this is not the intention of the behaviour, but it can still prevent new members from coming back.
Read this document to find out some tips and tricks to avoid a clique!
How to integrate new and existing members
The first initial experience a potential member has of your club or society may determine whether they join or look for alternatives. This first interaction could be before they have even attended a session and could be through messaging the student group or viewing the promotion of your student group. Especially in this new climate where there is going to be online activities, it's more important than ever to support the integration of new members with existing members to make sure no one feels unwelcome or out of place within your student group. Consider looking at doing the following;
- Before your first session
- Discuss with your committee how you would like to welcome new members.
- Promote information about your club or society.
- Ask people to let you know if they have any special educational needs, supports or questions. If so, Inform the people involved in welcoming new members.
- Don’t just use social media to promote activities. For those that are not on social media, they may miss important information and potentially feel like an outsider.
- Plan a welcome event to integrate members.
- During your first session
- Get the new member involved in an activity as quickly as possible. This will assist the transition and help break the ice. This also shows the new member what your club is all about.
- Introduce the new members to other people in the club or society. Including all the committee members and what each one does.
- Create a welcoming environment.
- Don’t let anyone be isolated or no one speaking to them.
- Ensure someone from the committee is there to greet new and existing members. This also works online as you could have someone welcoming everyone that joins the call.
- After your first session
- Follow up. This could be a mixture of general statement after the first session or sending some individual messages. It is important to ask the member how their first session went and find out if they need any additional help to settle in. This shows that you care and increases the likelihood of the individual becoming a member.
- Involve your members in some of the decision making. E.g. Polls for the best time for a social event.
The benefits of all of this;
- Increased membership for longer.
- Open doors to students who may not have thought to join your student group.
- Continue to make your club or society welcoming and inclusive for all.
- More engagement in your social events.
- Tackle isolation and loneliness.
For international students, they are a long way from home and many have come to the UK without friends or their family. It is important to contribute to an international student home away from home and help them feel settled.
Norfolk LGBT+ Project have created a booklet on A-Z of gender and sexuality terms. You can access this here.
Being a trans ally
- Awareness months - get involved with awareness months such as LGBT History Month which takes place in February every year and also Trans Awareness Week that usually is the second week of November.
- Listen to trans people - The best way to be an ally is to listen with an open mind to trans people speaking for themselves.
- Don't make assumptions about someone's gender - If you're unsure which pronoun a person uses, listen first to the pronoun other people use when referring to them. Someone who knows the person well will probably use the correct pronoun. If you must ask which pronoun the person uses, start with your own. In a group setting where you don't know everyone, identify people by articles of clothing instead of using gendered language. For example, the "person in the blue shirt," instead of the "woman in the front."
- Misgendering - Mistakenly misgendering someone doesn’t make you an awful person. If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun, apologise quickly and sincerely, then move on. The bigger deal you make out of the situation, the more uncomfortable it is for everyone.
- Don't ask about a trans person's genitals, surgical status, or sex life - It would be inappropriate to ask a cisgender person about the appearance or status of their genitals. It is equally inappropriate to ask a transgender person those questions.
- Avoid backhanded compliments and "helpful" tips. - While you may intend to be supportive, comments like the following can be hurtful or even insulting. (ie. "You look just like a real woman." "He's so hot. I'd date him even though he's transgender.")
- Be careful about confidentiality, disclosure, and "outing." - Some trans people feel comfortable disclosing their gender history, and some do not. A transgender person's gender history is personal information and it is up to them to share it with others.
- Respect the terminology a trans person uses to describe their identity - Trans people use many different terms to describe their experiences. Respect the term (transgender, transsexual, non-binary, genderqueer etc.) a person uses to describe themselves.
- Know your own limits as an ally - don't be afraid to admit when you don't know something. It is better to admit you don't know something than to make assumptions or say something that may be incorrect or hurtful.
It is important to be aware of the challenges facing LGBTQ+ students and how this may impact their participation in your club or society. Understanding this will help you to put actions in place to try combat these. The impact of negative behaviours in your club or society could lead to a student not coming along to any more of your sessions or not engaging in other student groups. It could also make students feel they can’t be themselves and reluctant to be open with others. In Clubs, some challenges might be fear of discrimination from negative previous experiences from secondary school PE lessons or a lack of visual LGBTQ+ coaches and role models in sport.
Some steps you can take as a club or society:
Always challenge homophobic or biphobic language, behaviour or ‘banter’ that is offensive to the LGBTQ+ community. Even if people say language is ‘banter’ or not meant offensively, words and phrases that use sexuality as a joke need to be challenged consistently within your student group. This language isn't always targeted at LGBTQ+ students, it may be targeted at Cisgender and heterosexual students. It is everyone's responsibility to call this type of behaviour out. When incidents occur It’s best to challenge these as soon as they happen. Use questions and explain why someone’s words and actions have an impact.
What do you mean by that? Can a rugby club really be gay?
- Talk about the personal impact and make it real. ‘When you use that word it can make someone who is gay or has gay family members or friends feel uncomfortable and unwelcome at our student group.’.
- Make LGBTQ+ challenges more visible by running an event during LGBT History month or at another point during the academic year. You may also want to start your own campaign or if you are a club you could get involved with Stonewall’s rainbow laces. This campaign was created to give sportspeople to show their support for LGBTQ+ people in sport by wearing rainbow coloured shoelaces. Laces might not work for all sports, instead, you might want to wear rainbowed coloured socks, hats etc.
- If someone comes out to you this in an indication that they trust you and this might be the first time someone has talked about their sexuality. It is important that you are a good listener and reassure them that their confidentiality will be respected. Reinforce that they can be themselves and encourage them to feel positive about who they are.
- Celebrate LGBTQ+ people's achievements throughout the year and not just limited to during awareness months. This could be as simple as sharing a positive news article on your Instagram story.
Mature students are undergraduates aged over 21 years or postgraduate over 25 years. There may also be students who identify as mature because of experiencing significant life experiences at a younger age.
As a committee, there are some actions you can take to ensure students of all ages feel welcome at your club or society;
Clubs and societies are open to everyone, but for some postgraduate students, they don’t feel as though they cater to them. There is significantly lower participation of postgraduate students in clubs and societies than the number at UEA. Postgraduate students are a diverse range of ages, so you may want to look at some of the guidance on mature students part of this booklet. Mature postgraduate students are anyone aged 25 and over when they start their PGT or PGR degree.
Reducing Members Anxieties
For people looking at joining your club or society, taking that first step of coming to one of your sessions or events can be nerve-racking. Here are some steps that your club or society can do to reduce anxieties and support the integration of new members;
Reducing Anxieties - Committee members
- Provide the opportunity for students to meet in small groups before going to your main session or social event. This will help new students to get to know each other and encourage them to come to the event together.
- Add photos of your committee members to your club or society webpage and for events link to this page to let members know who is leading the event. This allows new students to be able to put a face to a name.
- Let people know as much information about the event as possible e.g. where are you going to meet, what they should expect from your session, what they need to bring etc. E.g. will they need to bring their own sports equipment, or will it be provided? What shoes do they need to wear?
- It is important that your club or society part of the website is up to date and has adequate content on there about what happens at sessions.
- Let people know what ability they need to come along e.g. all abilities welcome, those that have never played before are welcome.
- If your event is in the Sportspark consider meeting people outside and let new students know how to get their card registered for the turnstiles.
- Consider linking with buddy(su) to match your existing members with new members.
- Give the opportunity for new members to chat with someone online before attending. You could look at spitting this responsibility across all committee members and some members.
- Plan integration and icebreaker activity to support existing members and new member to have discussions.
- Split committee and existing members up to speak with new members. Actively speak to new members and check in with individuals afterwards.
- On your club or society webpage and social media, include what your student group stands for e.g. Inclusive of all students, friendly and welcome environment.
Template you may wish to use for promoting an inclusive session and reducing anxieties;
This event is organised by……You can contact…………. by emailing………………… If you would like to put a face to a name, you can see the committee member here……. (link to your club or society webpage) …... During the session this will happen…. You will need to bring…. Don’t worry if you haven’t done the activity before everyone is……. (friendly/welcome/beginners/all abilities). Most people that come along to these events do not know anyone else to begin with, but If you are feeling nervous about attending alone, please let us know by contacting the main lead for the event. We can arrange for some to talk or meet with you prior to give more details about the event and do our best to reduce any anxieties you may have about coming along. This event is (fully/partly) physically accessible for wheelchair users (please communicate if a part of it is not accessible e.g. the pit in the LCR). If you have any accessibility needs or would like further support to attend, please let us know and we will try our best to accommodate you. The committee looks forward to welcoming new and existing members to this event.
Reducing Anxieties - Existing members
As a member it is important to think back to your session. How did you feel? Was there anything a member could have done to make you feel welcome and at ease?
Here are a couple of tips you can do as a member to help new members to the club or society feel welcome and continue attending;
- Talk and engage with new members. Introduce yourself and ask them questions about themselves.
- Try to not just talk with your usual friendship groups within the club or society.
- Invite new members to chat or meet up before the next event.
- Follow up and ask them how they found the session.
Students with Hearing Loss
How to support students with hearing loss in your club or society - In person
** Please adhere to uea(su) and government guidelines for any in person activity **
- Face the person when you speak to them, don’t have your hands or objects like pens near your mouth or chewing gum/eating.
- If they have unilateral deafness, stand on their ‘better’ ear hearing side.
- With meetings, check that they are sat close enough to see your face and mouth. Try to be at eye level and sit down too.
- Don’t walk and talk, try and sit down opposite each other.
- Don’t talk to and write on the ‘board/wall’ at the same time. Write then talk. It’s hard enough to follow without not being able to see your mouth.
- Don’t shout or over exaggerate the lip patterns. Screaming and yawning look the same. Ingroup chats, make it clear who is speaking so they can follow it. Don’t speak all at once and don’t whisper to each other because they will still be able to read/get it.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Loud bangs, claps, fireworks can be really startling especially for hearing aid users.
- Be clear: especially with directions and point/gesture.
- If you don’t understand- ask them to write it down or speak again.
- Write it down- have pen and paper or notes app on your phone.
- Don’t say ‘it doesn’t matter’ ‘I’ll tell you later’ ‘you’re not missing anything’ ‘its not important’.
If you would like to learn some basic British Sign Language, head over to UEA BSL youtube channel here.
You can download an infographic of the above information here.
Students with Physical and Invisible Disabilities
The nature of clubs and societies means that everyone is different, and the worries and barriers are therefore different too. This means that there is no one size fits all but doing something that encourages your club or society to examine the issues people may encounter specifically to your club or society is a good starting point.
FUNDING FOR CLUBS AND SOCIETIES - THE ACCESSIBILITY AND INCLUSIVITY GRANT
The Union holds a £2500 grant pot to help student groups who would like to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of their society or club. You can find out more here.
There is a whole range of activities or events you could host that would help to make your student group more accessible and inclusive. Please see below for some ideas;
Adapting your current sessions, events or socials to be more accessible and inclusive e.g. Introducing a quieter part of your session for students that would benefit from more 1-2-1 support or may feel overwhelmed in large social settings.
Purchasing equipment that makes your activity more inclusive e.g. hearing loop (also known as an Induction loop).
Running a session, event or social that breaks down barriers to your activity for a specific target group e.g. family event on a weekend for those who have caring responsibilities alongside their studies.
General tips and videos
COMMUNICATION – This is key. If you put on an event and there are barriers (e.g. part of the building is not wheelchair accessible) then clearly communicate this. Commute on your webpage and your social media that you can support all students to take part in your club or society activity, students just need to let you know how you can best do this. It is important to note that not everyone will feel comfortable revealing a disability, so if someone does it is important to reassure them and try to be accommodating with the activities you organise. If you are ever unsure of how best to do this, please get in touch with the SU, including the physical and invisible disability officers. If you are a club, your uea+sport coordinator is a good person to get in contact with.
DISABILITY IS ON A SPECTRUM – It is important to remember some conditions are a spectrum, with symptoms that vary from person to person. Therefore, do not presume you know exactly what one person’s needs are because you know someone with the same condition.
CLUB GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE – SUB AQUA – Sub aqua started a campaign called “I want to scuba dive, but…” This series of social media posts will pick common accessibility issues, groups that may be more apprehensive than others, common worries, and explain how the club makes sure that those things aren’t a problem for members. We’re starting with things like – I have a physical disability, I have an invisible disability, I have a mental health condition, I’m transgender, I’m worried about wearing swimwear, I can’t swim very well.
Some disabled people may use controversial language when talking about themselves. That’s their choice, but it doesn’t mean they’d be happy for you to use it.
There are some words that many disabled people find hurtful or harsh because they:
Here are some tips on language that most people prefer:
You could say
Person with Dwarfism
People with Dwarfism
Person with a learning difficulty
People with learning difficulties
Person with Down's Syndrome
People with Down's Syndrome
Person with Downs
Challenges of mental health
A wheelchair user
Confined to a wheelchair
There are also some terms that people commonly used conversationally that have origins discriminating against disability- consider whether you would like to keep using these words after discovering they may cause upset to some... These include dumb, cretin, insane, maniac, psycho, moron, batty, daft, delusional, gimp, hysterical, imbecile, junkie, lame, thick