Any student can get involved in Students' Union decision-making. There are many ways decisions are made on campus.
Platforms for decision-making
The different platforms for decision-making are shown below, going from the most informal in green at the bottom, to the most formal, binding votes that all students can take part in at the top in red.
Any student can nominate themselves in our elections. There are a range of roles to suit everyone, and it is important that the leadership team reflects the diverse student voices.
You don't have to be 'the right sort of person', know everyone on campus, be 'political' or have relevant experience to get involved or stand in election. You just need ideas of how to make things better. We provide training and support to help with democracy, elections and once you're elected.
The officers and representatives of the Students' Union are elected to represent the student body. You can get involved through scrutinising their work at the Union Council. This is the main democratic body of the Union and is comprised of elected student representatives drawn from the Student Rep Scheme, the full-time and part-time officers, members of the Sports and Societies Committees and other elected representatives. Full-time officers submit monthly progress reports to be discussed at Council and any student may attend to witness this. Any student may also submit a question to the Chair of Council for discussion.
Voting is one of the main ways in which students can get involved with the work of the Union. All students are able to vote in a variety of elections and referenda throughout the academic year.
Elections for the Student Rep Scheme are split into two. Students going on to their second or final year elect their Student Reps towards the end of the academic year in Spring, while postgraduate students and students in foundation and first year elect their Student Reps in Autumn term. Also, five Representatives (International Students, Part-Time Students, First Generation Scholars, Mature Students and Student Parents Representatives) are elected at the start of the academic year in Autumn.
Referenda usually take place three times a year, once in each term. The amount of referendums and referendum questions is dependent on the amount of petitions received.
To find out more you can read the below guidelines:
The Student's Union in run in accordance with both operational and campaigning policies. Operational policies can be agreed upon by the Union Council and the Union Executive Committee and are related to how the Union carries out its business.
The Union Council is responsible for reviewing existing policy and submitting policy proposals from students or Officers for referendum whilst the Union Executive Committee has overall responsibility of the day-to-day implementation, promotion and administration of policies.
Each policy remains in place for three years, after which time the Union Council reviews it. They can either agree to retain the policy or allow it to lapse.
Petitions, referenda and preferenda
A referendum (the plural of which is referenda) is a yes/no vote that all students can take part in. This can create new policy for the Students' Union, or decide a course of action on a particular issue. A preferendum does the same thing, but offers students a range of choices which they can rank in order of preference
You can suggest a topic for a referendum or preferendum online or create a petition and gather at least 150 students' signatures. Any student can submit a petition request. You just need an idea of something that you want to change, a stance you want the Union to take or an action you want to happen. You can petition for a referendum or a members' meeting on a particular issue, or you can submit a petition to make your officers aware of the strength of feeling on a particular issue. The easiest way to do this is to use our online petition system.
Each year, students are elected to a variety of positions within the Students' Union. This includes the 6 Full and 5 Part-Time Officers who make up the Executive Team. These students lead the Students' Union, and represent students at a senior level. These students meet regularly to discuss the day-to-day running of the Students' Union, including allocating funding, writing statements, and enacting policy. You can read the agendas and minutes of the current meetings, as well as for the last four years, here: executive committee minutes and agendas.
You can speak to your Executive team about any issues or ideas you have. You can ask them to work on something, or find out about what they are up to. The Executive Team report to Union Council to keep students informed and up to date on their work.
If you are interested in being an officer, why not speak to one of the current Team about what their role is like?
Many decisions within the Students' Union are made by students as part of committees. All committees have voting members, but as a member you can also attend many as an observer. Committees are an important way of making day-to-day decisions such as where to allocate funding, and what direction to take different activities in.