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Who's Who - Jane Whalen, Leed's University Union

The "Who's Who" series focuses on introducing you to key members of the International Student Mental Health project. Today we're talking to Jane Whalen who as Head of Student Engagement and Support at the Leed's University Union is a senior member of the project.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hello, I am Jane. I live in Warrington, about 12 doors from the house I grew up despite leaving Warrington to strike out for the heady lights of Manchester aged 18.


I keep myself happy and balanced with lots of dog walks with this beautiful beast called Trevor and my gorgeous other half, Mike as well as 2 cats and 25 chickens

What do you do?

I worked in students’ unions for over 25 years including Staffordshire SU, Birmingham Guild and Liverpool John Moores and in 2018 I set up Velvet Consultancy offering training, management support and coaching. I have over 20 clients. My current client is Leeds University Union where I am the Head of Student Engagement and Support overseeing Activities, Help & Support, Political Education and the International portfolio.


For the first year, LUU has an International Officer and it is great to be part of the University and Union resourcing support and listening to the international student voice.

Why did you get involved in the project?

It was great to have this project as part of my portfolio at Leeds. International students pay for the best education and it is great we are all part of listening to what they want and ensuring they love their time at Leeds or wherever they study at the Uk. I am passionate to ensure we are culturally competent to meet all of their needs and this project is central to that.

Tell us about your header photo

So why a picture of eggs. Most of my hens are ex-battery hens so they lay quite sporadically. I thought I was only getting 3 eggs a day.


I was happy with that - I rescue them to give them a great life of retirement not for the eggs. Then I noticed one of the girls hop out of the hedge - I went to see where she had come from and found this mountain of eggs that the girls were hiding from me. So the bonus of beautiful girls and lots of eggs - if you give me an egg box I will give you half a dozen eggs - or I will when we can see each other face to face again.

Working in Partnership

The project is nation-wide and we're making a real effort to engage with everyone interested in international student mental health, including universities, mental health services, students unions, sector bodies, charities and organisations such a private student accommodation.

The project is led by the University of Nottingham, in partnership with the University of Nottingham Students' Union, University of Leeds, Leeds University Union, SOAS, SOAS Students' Union, Student Minds and Campuslife Ltd.

Project funded as part of the Office for Students Mental Health Challenge Competition.



Photo Credits

Owned by Jane Whalen

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