By Tirion Davies
The Student Advice services provided by Cardiff University’s Students’ Union recently announced that due to staff shortages and an “unprecedented demand on Student Advice” they will close the service until Monday 24 August.
The service, which has grown to support over 6,000 students, will still be available to urgent cases, but the majority of students looking for additional advice during this time will not be able to get an appointment.
Student Advice offers services regarding all kinds of struggles many may suffer whilst at university. Between academic advice, employment, housing, international students, money, and health and wellbeing advice, the service offers a safe haven for students who feel they have nowhere else to go.
As the service closes until mid-August, it could leave many students worried about where they can turn to find support.
Although there are still resources on the Student Advice service’s webpage, students often find speaking to someone face-to-face or over the phone to be incredibly beneficial.
A spokesperson from Cardiff University Students’ Union stated,
“At present, there is unprecedented demand on the service with more students than before wanting to challenge transcripts, needing support with housing matters and wanting general advice about the disruption to study over the past couple of months.
This coupled with significant disruption to normal operating practice caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary pause on new cases whilst the team respond to the large number of cases currently in the system”
The spokesperson ensured students that the decision was not made lightly and that Cardiff University Students’ Union’s priority is to “ensure students with urgent needs get the necessary support and to allow our team the time to provide the best quality advice possible”
Cardiff University Students’ Union has expressed that although the services will be closed until August 24, all students are encouraged to read the materials provided on the Student Advice service’s webpage to help with any issues they may have.
The Students’ Union has also encouraged students in need of immediate support to visit any of the signposted University and external agencies provided through Cardiff University.
How do students feel about the closing of the Student Advice services?
Darcy Servais, a second-year student, has told Gair Rhydd that although her personal experience with student advice services “wasn’t particularly positive”, she feels that the advice services should “work on being more inclusive and equipped to deal with more complex problems that students may be facing”.
Darcy stated that closing the Student Advice services for three weeks could be an issue for many, as
“some students rely on a supportive and accessible team at University, and especially in the current climate. Students need support now more than ever. In my opinion, closing [the Student Advice service] isn’t the correct way to go about it”.
For some students, however, the advice services could be improved. Megan Evans, another second-year student, said,
“whilst I managed to get a [counselling] spot from a spontaneous phone call after a seminar, I felt like it was a bit of a rush trying to cram in the obligatory 20 minutes to ‘sort out’ the best methods for me with my struggles.
Whilst I believe we should give credit for the support you can get from the uni, they need to be able to hack the amount of people that may request help”
Despite feeling as though her experience could have been improved, Megan believes that the university and Cardiff Students’ Union are trying their best to offer adequate advice services to students. She believes that for some, being without these services could cause them to struggle.
Megan does say that perhaps the university could look into improving their offering of support to students in the future to ensure that students won’t feel lost when services like these, provided by the university and the Students’ Union, have to close for a few weeks.
The Student Advice service continues to offer resources on its website.