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Five Reasons Why You Should Get Involved with Your Students' Union in 2023

Written by: UPSU

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When you join the University of Plymouth, not only are you enrolling as a student, but you also become a member of the Students’ Union, and with that comes a wide range of benefits and opportunities that you have access to.

Whether you are a new student, returning student, or a postgrad student, UPSU has something for everyone. It is never too late in the academic year to get more involved with the SU in one way or another and here is a list of reasons why you should do just that!

1. We are a student-led organisation with democratic elections that enable you to decide who will represent you

As a member, your SU belongs to you, and every year you vote for four University of Plymouth students to become full-time Sabbatical Officers. These four representatives lead the organisation, speak on your behalf at high-level meetings and work to implement the changes that you want to see to improve your student experience. The Sabbatical roles are President, VP Education, VP Activities and VP Wellbeing & Diversity. Any current registered University of Plymouth student can run in elections, with UPSU Elections 2023 starting in January. These Officers represent you on all levels of student life, and you could be one of them.

2. We offer free and discounted training opportunities

As your SU, we also recognise the importance of developing skills outside your course curriculum to help you get ahead when your time at university comes to an end. That is why we offer free and discounted training opportunities on a range of topics that will help you in your future career. We are also passionate about developing the skills of our dedicated volunteers through training for club or society committee members, student representatives and our members of student staff.

3. We help you adjust to a new environment and find new friends

Starting university is effectively starting a new chapter of your life, and this can be daunting – for many, starting university means moving away from home, adjusting to a new environment and/or preparing to find a new group of friends. If this has crossed your mind, you are not alone.

We work hard to build opportunities for you to meet new, like-minded people. We support over 100 different sports clubs and societies, each of which has its own individual family ready to welcome new members with open arms. If you currently have a particular passion or interest, check out the full list of clubs and societies on our website.

If you are undecided, then you can try our Give it a Go programme, browse our volunteering opportunities (which can be tailored to fit around your studies) or consider joining one of our academic societies to meet other students from your course outside of the lecture hall.

Finally, our SU building, located in the heart of campus, offers you a social space to catch up with friends or grab a coffee, plus a busy events schedule throughout term time to keep you entertained.

4. We can support you financially

There are no two ways about it: starting university is an amazing opportunity but it is also a financial (and personal) commitment. We want to ensure that you feel you are getting the experience that you deserve for the best possible value.

Our Advice Centre can help students submit claims, access appropriate benefits and navigate their Student Finance applications.

Furthermore, if you are looking to earn while you learn, we employ members of student staff in a variety of roles from running our SU bar, preparing coffee in our cafe, serving customers in our shop, or providing technical assistance at our events.

5. We offer free, impartial advice by dedicated advisors to help you find a path forward

Our student population is a diverse community of individuals, coming from many different walks of life, each with passions and needs but brought together and connected by one institution.

As such, we work to provide platforms and forums in which you can tell us how you need us to support you. Being part of the SU gives you access to many different types of support. There may be times during your studies when you need help; maybe things have not gone to plan or you just need that extra bit of support or guidance. This is perfectly natural, and we are on hand when you need us. As a member of your SU, you have free access to our confidential Advice Centre and our team of dedicated advisors.

Your SU Advice Centre is completely independent from the University of Plymouth, so you can be confident that the advice you receive will be impartial and will not be shared unless absolutely necessary as set out in our privacy statement.

The team offers support on accommodation, financial, academic and wellbeing issues, and will work with you to find a path forward. The best thing about becoming a member of the Students’ Union is that you do not need to do anything: no sign-ups, no membership fees, no renewals*. You can choose how you want to interact with us.

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