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16 March 2011
Ensuring the University’s 5,000 healthcare students feel connected to the rest of the University community is by no means a simple task – but one which out-going Healthcare Integration Officer Oli Luton considers to have been a success.
On being elected, Oli aimed to increase access to support services, improve transport links and help to make students based at Heath Park campus feel an equal part of the University.
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During his time in office, Oli has introduced a number of initiatives to help integrate the Heath Park site, which is a mile away from the University’s city-centre campus.
Transport systems have been opened with additional drop-off points on bus routes at the Heath for nursing and physiotherapy students. Also, support services at the Heath campus have increased with a successful advice representation centre established and staff currently in training to offer financial support to students.
Oli says: "It was sometimes difficult to integrate students that can be away on placements for a significant amount of time or sometimes working ten or eleven hours a day. On top of this there are problems faced due to the geographical isolation - that’s been the biggest challenge.
"We’ve worked hard and I planned to get all the services at the Heath campus established quickly but there is still a lot to be done. My hand over period will be making sure the person that takes over will be continuing this job and ensuring services continue at the Heath."
As elections for 2011 draw closer, Oli is keen to highlight the task ahead for his successor. He adds: "Integrating students is much more than just putting up notice boards around campus – it’s about encouraging people to think about the students at the Heath off their own back. Until they do that, this role is vital."
Although an often challenging role, Oli is keen to encourage fellow his fellow medical students to take-up the challenge and run for office.
"It’s been an amazing experience. I went from being involved in societies and running a few social events to sitting on the board of trustees and being a Director of an £8 million company," he insists.
"From a personal development point of view – I think I had good communication skills before and now I think they have surpassed all my expectations. It’s this kind of experience that you can’t get in any other role at this age and it’s done me the world of good.
"I would encourage anyone to have a go," he added.
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Listen to an interview with Oli Luton discussing his time as Cardiff Students’ Union Healthcare Integration Officer.
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