Uni Life

#NoRoomFor: Supporting a Safe and Respectful Student Community

What makes a safe and respectful student community? Elizabeth Symington investigates.

A safe, respectful and diverse student community is arguably one of the most important aspects of uni life, as students need a place to thrive and feel safe.

What do you think makes a safe and respectful student community?

Is it a place where you feel like you belong, or a safe space where you can be yourself? Is it an environment free of judgement, or an inclusive community? To you, it might be all of these things, or maybe it is something else.

I asked some existing students what they think. Here is what they had to say;

“To have a positive student community, you need people who respect others for who they are. It’s just about changing a mindset, and instead of seeing someone as an outsider or different to you, be open-minded, look at their similarities, listen to their story. The more we find out about others, the more knowledgeable we are about different cultures, beliefs and what makes up a person.” – Ben Homer

“A safe and respectful student community, to me, is a place where everyone is accepted and encouraged to do their best. I believe this is possible when we value and respect people from all walks of life, and promote an environment that is inclusive to all.” – Kate Symington

“Valuing each other’s opinions and personal space, as well as the facilities that are available for student bonding so you make connections you can rely on.” – Tyler Bridges

“I believe a safe and respectful student community is possible when each and every student makes individual responsibility a priority. The University of Newcastle (UON) is increasingly putting everyone on a level playing field and providing the opportunity for progress in almost all facets of uni life. UON will continue to do this. It’s up to us to make wise decisions at the individual level, not only with our own wellbeing in mind, but that of others as well.” – Jarrod Sansom

“I think it’s definitely acceptance. I feel like at times the word “tolerance” is used but to me, that word is filled with hatred, whereas the word “acceptance” promotes peace. I think the ability to celebrate our different walks of life and religious beliefs, along with the fact that we’re all here together with the same common goal is so special. I think an open mind is also an essential. I feel like the entire university experience is centred around expanding our horizons and learning to see the big picture. While we might disagree with each other on things like society, politics and religion (to name a few) it is necessary to look at an individual or cultural group’s life experience to try to understand how they came to believe and feel what they do.” – Brett Bichard

“For me, a safe and respectful student community means having an environment that is both supportive and inclusive, where everyone is treated with fairness and encouragement. Feeling safe and respected is a right for all, and creating an environment based on these principles ensures that all students feel accepted and protected.” – Shannon Harvey

The student community at UON is important for every student and the uni, NUSA, NUPSA and Yourimbah want to know what students think. They have developed an anonymous wiki survey called #NoRoomFor that asks questions about what a safe and respectful community looks like.

The responses to the survey will be used to roll out a campaign that identifies what you, the students, feel doesn’t belong in the UON student community.

Your responses could have the power to shape UON’s future.

You can complete the survey here; NoRoomFor Survey.

What do you think makes a safe and respectful student community? Let us know in the comments.

Feature Image: Brooke Cagle, via Unsplash, no changes made 

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