Echoing the growing awareness of the global green agenda, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai held its sixth learner conference as part of its 'Learner Voice' strategy, affording student union presidents and class representatives from all three member colleges the chance to feedback their thoughts on a wide range of topics to senior management.
Over 100 students attended the learner conference, which was held at Friars Hall, Coleg Menai, Bangor. Grŵp Llandrillo Menai is an umbrella organisation that oversees the operation of the three member colleges: Coleg Llandrillo, Coleg Menai and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor.
The event began with a series of introductory speeches: Dafydd Evans, CEO, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, followed by the student union presidents and special guests.
Luminaries included Chris Parry - digital support officer, Bangor University, and Richard Bladon - health, safety and environment consultant from the IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment). IEMA is the largest professional body for environmental practitioners in the UK and worldwide, and is committed to global sustainability.
The students were given two tasks to complete on the day. The first learner voice group activity dealt with the subject of well-being, where students were asked 'what further physical activities would you like to see at college'. Suggestions included yoga, walking tours at lunchtime and increased gym facilities.
Task two centred on two initiatives: 'what can learners do to minimise the impact on our environment?' and 'how can we reduce single use plastics at college'? The former garnered responses including walking to college and an increase in the usage of electric vehicles. Concerning the latter, Sarah Wynn Griffiths, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai's student enrichment officer, handed out reusable water bottles to all student class representatives. All the class reps supported the introduction of more water fountains across the campuses, and wanted to see less plastic products sold at college.
The student union presidents present - Gethin Jones and Deio Owen - provided feedback from students on several subjects: overall well-being, the resources available on the college's learner portal (eDRAC) system, and how to contact the student union presidents with issues and concerns. They also discussed the importance of looking after the environment for ourselves and future generations. CEO Dafydd Evans, along with the two college principals, gave their responses in turn.
In his address to the students, Gethin Jones, said:
This learner conference provided the opportunity to explore the meaning of well-being in the context of being a college student. We are always keen for students to share their experiences with us and let us know how we can help support their state of well-being. I am very passionate on environmental issues and in promoting how important it is that we all take small steps together in protecting our planet.
In a closing statement, Aled Jones-Griffith, principal of both Coleg Menai and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor, said:
We would like to thank everyone present for their hard work and invaluable input, which has made today's learner conference a huge success. It has provided a platform for senior management to listen to what support students are accessing and how we can add to our services.