What we do
The Students' Union is a charity, separate to and independent from the University.
- We are a democratic, student focused organisation.
- Most universities have a students' union. Here at Sussex, each student at the University of Sussex and Brighton & Sussex Medical School (BSMS) is automatically a member of the union.
- A huge part of our work is to lobby the University, taking students’ issues and concerns to University senior management and fighting for a response and reasonable action. This can be in regard to contact time, assessment feedback, resources, access, support, welfare, accommodation, and employability.
- We represent students within the University and the wider community, campaigning on local, national, and international issues that matter to students.
- Our aim is to improve the experience students have while studying at Sussex University.
We exist to make student life better.
What do we offer students?
Our main aim is to help you have the best possible time at University. We do this by providing:
Representation to all students, particularly the most vulnerable
Free, confidential advice and support services (on academic, housing and personal issues)
Student-friendly shops and bars on campus
A student lettings agency
A variety of sports clubs and societies for students to join
Events and social activities for students
Our Buddy Scheme
Volunteering opportunities in the local community
Totum student discount card
Each year, six full-time representatives, called Officers, are voted for by students. The Students' Union is a democratic organisation and we are led by the elected Officers, who are paid to do this job. Officers are either recent graduates from Sussex or BSMS - or students taking a year out from their studies.
Officers are democratically elected to ensure that the Students' Union as a whole is always striving to meet students' changing needs, and respond to students' concerns.
Alongside the full-time Officers are several elected part-time officers and representatives on a range of committees - who collectively make decisions on behalf of students.
We have around 2000 volunteers in a variety of roles such as society committee chairs, student reps, and Badger newspaper writers.
We also have around 20 to 30 full-time staff and 200 students who work for us, supporting the activities of our elected officers and keeping our services running.
Our direction is always democratically determined by the needs of students. We rely on student feedback and opinion to direct and assist all the campaigning and lobbying work that we do.
Non-students can also become Associate Members of the Students' Union.
As a charity, our activities are overseen by a board of trustees.
There are three types of trustee:
- The Six Full-time Officers
- Elected students: Student trustees for 2020/2021 are Sarah Osborn, Nisreen Fox and Harry Jenkinson
- Appointed trustees: Lindsay Thomas, Aishnine Benjamin and Jean-Luc Bressard
To contact the trustees, please get in touch with Paul Newton, Chief Executive of the Students' Union: [email protected]
The Students' Union has the legal status of a company limited by guarantee. It is also a Registered Charity.
Our company number is 07695765 and our Charity Commission registration number is 1147242.
Our Articles of Association (sometimes referred to as our constitution) outline how we operate and what our purpose is. They form a legal document that outlines the purpose and rules of the Students' Union. The Students' Union can only operate within the guidelines that the Articles set out.
They cover the following areas:
- Membership, complaints and discipline
- Members' Meetings, referenda and policy
- The Trustees
- Union Council and committees
- Clubs, societies, representative groups, and media
- Commercial services, finance and staffing
Union 'Rules' provide more detail about how the Union operates. Unlike the Articles, they can be simply changed by a decision of Union Council backed by the Trustees, provided the Union remains within the Articles.
Sussex Students’ Union Successes
- BAME Student Ambassador Programme
- Community Organisers
- 24/7 Library – open all-hours access to the Library
- Buddy Scheme – 1500 students involved in peer support from current students to new students
- Keep Wednesdays for sports clubs to compete in fixtures
- Role Models – students running workshops on PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) subjects for local college students and school children, winner of the 2019 Better World Education Award
- Rent Guarantor Scheme – where the university acts as a rent guarantor for (predominantly) International students to remove the need for them to pay 6-12 months’ rent in advance
- Free Period Wednesday – free sanitary and contraception products for students
- Good Night Owls – safety patrols of students assisting other students on nights out in Brighton
- Food Waste Café – taking food that would otherwise have been thrown away and turning into delicious pay as much as you can afford food
- New student bar in Northfield near new residences
- Many cases of support and advocacy for students as they negotiate the complexity of higher education and university life.