Students share their university experiences with Minister Graeme Dey
Students from QMU and other universities were delighted to meet Graeme Dey, Minister for Higher and Further Education; and Minister for Veterans, at the QMU campus today (20th April).
The minister was keen to talk with students from QMU, and other universities across the east coast of Scotland, about the range of challenges and opportunities they face as undergraduates.
QMU and other Scottish universities actively offer a range of support to students to ensure they have a positive and successful student experience. Over the last year, the range of university support and access to services have been particularly important to students following the impact of the pandemic and the recent cost-of-living crisis.
The Minister, who was delighted to meet a range of students of different ages and backgrounds and from Scotland and abroad, was keen to hear about their own personal experiences of university life, and about the ways in which universities were supporting and nurturing students. It was a great opportunity for the minister to learn about range of issues affecting students, such as the transition from college to university, mental health and wellbeing, support for careers and employability and, of course, the challenges of spiralling costs.
David Bakum, a BA (Hons) Theatre and Film student at QMU, had the opportunity to chat to the minister and higher education principals. Originally from Germany, David has made the most of every opportunity he has been given at QMU to immerse himself in university life, build his experience and strengthen his employability. With encouragement from academic staff, he’s taken part in film festivals in Berlin, Venice and even Iceland, gaining tremendous experience and developing his knowledge and industry contacts. He's also been involved in the film society at QMU, allowing him to develop his organisational skills while enjoying the company of like-minded individuals. Never one to stand still, David regularly volunteers and takes on paid roles for the University to help expand his experience and develop his confidence.
Recently, David and his film friends have benefitted from Thank Goodness It’s Thursday (TGIT), a free social food event which QMU runs each week to support students through the cost-of-living crisis. He enjoys the social aspect of community dining and activities which the TGIT event also offers, which helps him create strong connections with QMU’s supportive student and staff community. The initiative is part of QMU’s work in avoiding loneliness and isolation across the student community and supporting students with escalating food and fuel costs.
During the ministerial visit, students also had the chance to share their experiences with QMU Principal and Universities Scotland Vice Convener, Sir Paul Grice, and Universities Scotland Convener and Principal of the University of St Andrews, Professor Dame Sally Mapstone.
Hosting the ministerial visit, Sir Paul Grice said: “We were pleased to welcome Mr Dey to Queen Margaret University. His willingness to engage with universities and speak to our students as one of his first visits as Minister sends a positive message to universities, students and staff.”
The visit to the QMU campus provided a great opportunity for the minister and university leaders to hear directly from students.
"It was great to feel like students were having their stories heard by university and government leaders. It helps to re-enforce QMU’s philosophy which views ‘students as partners’. I hope opportunities like this becomes available for more home and international students, as it’s a helpful platform to share real experiences."