Championing your Voice
Student Representatives are the voice of the student body across the University and Students' Union.
There are several Student Representative roles, each with a specific remit. However, their collective aim is to champion the student voice and create positive changes to your university experience.
All Student Representative roles rely on you to give constructive feedback about what changes you would like to make to your University and your Students' Union. Your Reps then work to progress your ideas and give you feedback about what's happening.
There are four Sabbatical Officers elected annually to lead the Students' Union and work full-time on your behalf on various issues across all areas of student life. They represent you on all levels of student life.
View your Sabbatical Officers
They represent particular groups or demographics of students, they support students and make sure that their voice is heard. This could be within the Students' Union, the University or even nationally. Each Part Time Officer actively seeks student feedback and should communicate any developments back to the students they represent.
View your Part-Time Officers
They are at the centre of the academic representation system within their respective school. They support the Course Reps and assist in progressing feedback from programme to school level. School Reps meet with their Faculty Lead and the VP Education, to progress any feedback from students to the Faculty or University through the appropriate channels.
View your School Reps
Course Representatives are elected students who represent you and your views on academic matters on your course. They are your first point of contact should you have any constructive feedback or ideas for your course.
Course Reps Info
The Accountability Board is made up of elected Students. It is their role to scrutinise the elected officers and student Forums to ensure they are being as fair and representative as they could possibly be, and to hold them to account.
Accountability Board Info
The Union Council is in place to make important decisions that affect the student body and ensure that the wide diversity of the student body is fairly represented in these decisions. The Union Council is made up of 13 Part time officers, 5 elected Sabbatical Officers and 15 School Representatives. It is also attended by the Chief Executive and staff support members. The Chair of the Accountability Board also attends these meetings, to observe and ensure that they are taking place in a fair and democratic manner.
Union Council Info
How you can get involved
- Give feedback - share your ideas and concerns with your reps. If you are unsure how to contact them email: email@example.com
- Get involved in discussion with your reps - Make sure you check the events list
- Run to be a Rep - No experience is necessary as full training and suport will be given!
What do they do?
- They act in the best interests of the students they represent
- They represent students to the union and the university
- They actively gather feedback and ideas from the students they represent
- They chair meetings and host focus groups
- They engage with the democratic processes of UPSU by attending Union Council (where the political policy of the union is debated and agreed) and the All Student Members meeting (formerly AGM)
- They run campaigns in collaboration with the Sabbatical Officers to effect change
- They feedback to students about the work they have been doing
How important are they?
Really important! Student representatives, including part time officers, are involved at every level of decision making within the union and at many university meetings. Part Time Officers and Academic Representatives play an important part in leading and shaping your union, your university and your wider community.
How much time do I need to commit?
It is hard to say for sure, as each student has different availability and time to devote to the role but we do expect Part Time Officers to spend between 4 and 10 hours a month on duties related to the role.
What will I gain from it?
Aside from the ability to make change within your union and university, you will also be able to have your efforts officially recognised through your SU's recognition scheme.
UPSU offer training for all roles and many previous Part Time Officers feedback that they have developed their confidence, negotiating and communication skills, as well practicing effective time management - all great things to enhance your employability.
- Leadership - As a representative you will need to make yourself known to your course, school or the student body to collect and take forward their issues. Taking on a leadership role will show future employers that you can be responsible and have the ability to make decisions.
- Communication - This role requires you to constantly be communicating with both staff and students. This can be from face to face communication, presenting ideas, talking in meetings, emails and more. Future employers look for individuals with strong interpersonal skills and so developing your ability to be open, approachable and able to resolve issues in a professional manner will benefit you in the future.
- Time management - It is essential for you to be able to fit your role around your degree as well as other important parts of your life such as a job, family or hobby. Having this role will teach you to prioritise your time and set objectives to ensure you get everything you need done and use your time to the best of your ability.
- Problem solving - One of your main responsibilities as part of this role is to be collecting student opinions and presenting to staff and then working with them to come to a solution for these issues. Analytical skills are something employers love to see in a potential employee and so this role will set you apart from other students.
- Meeting etiquette - Many professional jobs will require you to attend meetings. This role will give you valuable experience of how to act in a formal meeting.
- Public speaking - As a representative you will be required to speak in lectures to make students aware of who you are and to gather their opinions. You will also be required to speak in meetings to present student feedback. Developing your public speaking skills will hugely benefit you in later employment, enabling you to feel confident when speaking in front of large audiences.
- Negotiation skills - Your ability to negotiate well will develop during your time as a representative through attending meetings, feeding back the student opinion and negotiating changes throughout the university.
- Research skills - One main responsibility of the role of a representative is to research into the student opinion and explore ways you can improve the student experience for your peers. This can be done through various methods including face to face conversations, surveys and questionnaires, or suggestion boxes to name a few. These skills will also help with the work you do in your degree.
I'm interested - what do I need to do next?
Check that you are eligible for the role.
For most roles all students are eligible, it doesn't matter what year you are in or what previous experience you may or may not have, all you need is a willingness to fulfil the role and make the most of training opportunities.
However, there are a few roles that represent a specific student group or demographic where we do need students to self-define as belonging to that group before they can run for that role.
The roles that need you to self-define as belonging to a specific group are:
- Part Time Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Officer
- Part Time Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans + (LGBT+)Officer
- Part Time Transgender and Non-Binary Officer
- Part Time Women's Officer
- Part Time Students with Disabilities Officer
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the role or any questions you have.
- Think about what you will include in your manifesto, ask your friends and relevent students what are the issues that need changing, do your research
- Submit your nomination to stand in an election. If there is no election or by-election open but the role is vacant you can be co-opted, speak to the Student Voice Team for more information about this
- Check out the How to write a manifesto guidance document