What do full-time Officers do?

  • Full-time officers are Sussex/BSMS students who are elected to work in a paid position in the Students' Union for an academic year.
  • Students can either take a year out from their studies, or final year students can stand for office for the year following their graduation.
  • All officers are responsible for the overall direction of the Students' Union, but each officer also a particular area of responsibility - there are six different positions available, so it's likely that there'll be something to grab your interest.

Read more about:

Nominations are now open >>

What roles are available, and what are they about?

There are six brand new full-time Officer roles open for the Spring 2020 elections:

International Students' Officer

***Please note: To apply you must be an international student - defined as not from the UK.***

Main purpose of the role:

  • This Officer represents and supports all international students at the University (this includes EU, non-EU and exchange students). They will work on issues relevant to international students, such as helping them settle into life at University and the UK, academic issues, language skills, housing, activities and cultural events. This Officer will support international students and lobby for concerns and issues relevant to them.

Key responsibilities:

  • Assisting with the smooth transition of incoming international students to the University and assist in initiatives to help them settle in.
  • Representing the interests and needs of international students and exchange students on campus.
  • Encouraging and supporting international students to organise activities and cultural events for their communities.
  • Working alongside the Union Events Team in the production of the One World Week timetable including approving funding bids and promote the One World Sussex brand.
  • Ensuring the University provides adequate academic support to international students.
  • Supporting international students to campaign for change in order to improve their time at University.
  • Taking a lead on issues related to housing for international students such as guarantors, deposits, viewings, quality, availability and price.
  • Sign-posting international students who need help with living issues such as banking, healthcare and transportation.
  • Lobbying for the interests and demands of international students at the University, for example, to reduce the cost of education for international students, more international scholarships, etc.
  • Reaching out to international students from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities via digital and face-to-face means and to act on or share their concerns and ideas.

Specifics of the role:

  • Working with the International Students’ Society and other relevant student groups.
  • Leading on the International Students’ Working Group at the Union.
  • Attending the Brexit Steering Group and any other relevant meetings at the University.
  • Working closely with the University’s International Student Support Team to ensure a joined up approach towards support for international students.
  • Being a member of the University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
  • Attending the Mandela Scholarship Trustee Meetings.
  • Chairing the Student Experience Forum.

Education and Employability Officer

Main purpose of the role:

  • This Officer represents and supports the student body in terms of their education, ensuring that student views are heard by those making key decisions that affect the academic learning experience of students at Sussex. They will support both undergraduate and postgraduate students and elected representatives, and assist with improvements to learning, teaching and employability initiatives. They will work towards ensuring that the curriculum is inclusive for all students, in collaboration with the Diversity, Access and Participation Officer.

Key responsibilities:

  • Proactively championing the learner voice throughout the University's academic structures and acting as the main point of contact for the University on matters relating to student education and employability.
  • Working alongside and supporting the undergraduate and postgraduate Student Reps in the Student Rep Scheme.
  • Overseeing the entire academic experience; ensuring that the learning spaces and necessary resources are available for all areas of the student body.
  • Working closely with the Part-time Postgraduate Taught Officer, Part-time Postgraduate Research Officer, Students’ Union and University staff.
  • Campaigning for change using student ideas and concerns as a focus.
  • Attending relevant committees at the University as required and working closely with the Library and University Schools.
  • Leading on the employability initiatives within the Students’ Union, which offer students the chance to gain new skills and experiences that enhance their employability.
  • Working with the Careers & Employability Centre to ensure that it reflects the needs of students.

Specifics of the role:

  • To be a member of Senate.
  • Chairing the Student Experience Forum.
  • Working with the student representatives.
  • To be a member of the University Education Committee.
  • To be a member of Doctoral Board and sub-committees.

Wellbeing Officer

Main purpose of the role:

  • This Officer will be predominantly working on issues regarding student mental health, wellbeing and safety. They will aim to ensure that each and every student has adequate support for issues that they might encounter as a student at Sussex. They will represent and support students’ wellbeing on and off campus, working to support student initiatives linked to these issues.

Key responsibilities:

  • Proactively championing student rights and safety, in the University and on the campus.
  • Acting as the principal point of contact at the Union for external and internal support services and organisations.
  • Leading on the student support, health and wellbeing agenda within the University, ensuring the student voice is heard within the numerous departments of the institution providing support for our members.
  • Using information from the Union’s Support & Advocacy service and working with students in order to generate initiatives which support students’ wellbeing.
  • Encouraging and supporting student groups with campaigning and creating initiatives to enhance student wellbeing on campus.
  • To be responsible for the promotion and implementation of the Students’ Union’s wellbeing work.
  • Lobbying mental health services at the University in order to gain improvements for student mental health support.
  • Working alongside University Professional Services to ensure that they are accessible and students are adequately supported in times of need.

Specifics of the role:

  • To be a member of the Health, Safety and Environment Committee.
  • Chairing the Student Mental Health & Wellbeing Action Group.
  • To be a member of the University Education Committee.

Sports, Societies and Events Officer

Main purpose of the role:

  • This Officer represents and supports students in matters relating to active involvement within the Students’ Union, specifically sports, societies, events, volunteering and other student-led activities. They will ensure Sussex students have a fair and equal access to these student-led activities.

Key responsibilities:

  • Championing involvement in student societies, sports clubs, events and student media and promoting their success.
  • Ensuring Sussex students have a fair and equal access to student-led activities.
  • Championing wider engagement with the Students’ Union; for example, developing the participation of students that are already engaged and reaching out to unengaged students, demonstrating the benefits of participation within the Union to both groups.
  • Helping to reduce any barriers to participation through listening and reacting to students’ feedback.
  • Working closely with club and society members, Students’ Union and University staff.
  • Actively promoting student involvement and supporting student-led initiatives and campaigns to combat any issues affecting the students you represent.
  • To be part of the complaints and mediation process for relevant committee members when required.
  • Supporting and promoting the Active US project.
  • Working alongside the Events Team and ensuring the student voice is heard when planning Freshers Week, Student Awards, Varsity and other annual events.

Specifics of the role:

  • Chairing the Students’ Union Sports Reps Committee.
  • Chairing the Students’ Union Media Committee.
  • Chairing the Students’ Union Societies Committee.

Diversity, Access and Participation Officer

***Please note: To apply for this role you must identify as being from a marginalised group (see below).***

Main purpose of the role:

  • This Officer will represent and support students from marginalised groups, such as BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) students, students of faith, LGBTQ+ students, women students, trans students, non-binary students, students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and students with disabilities. They will seek to understand the nuances and experiences of every marginalised group, especially those they don’t belong to. They will work towards removing barriers to participation and success for students from these groups and backgrounds, and promote a more diverse and inclusive experience while at university. They will ensure that all students have a dignified, supportive and inclusive university experience irrespective of their background or identity.

Key responsibilities:

  • To be at the forefront of the promotion and implementation of the Students’ Union’s equality, diversity and inclusion work, and undertaking work to embed these values in the student experience.
  • Lobbying and working with the University to create training for staff that effectively tackles all kinds of discriminatrion, such as racism, sexism, ableism, classism and homophobia.
  • Promoting a more diverse and inclusive Students’ Union and University experience for all students.
  • Improving the access and participation of all students in all SU activities and functions.
  • Working on removing barriers to participation and success for students from marginalised groups.
  • Communicating and working with the part-time Liberation Officers.
  • Campaigning for change using student ideas and concerns as a focus, especially those from marginalised groups.
  • Lobbying for greater diversity of staff within the University and also work towards improving diversity within the staff of the Students’ Union.
  • Working with and supporting the student liberation campaigning groups.
  • Ensuring campus is a welcome, open, inclusive and accessible environment for all students to live and study in.
  • Working towards improving the accessibility of the university campus and to ensure future plans of the university have taken accessibility into account.
  • Helping to implement the recommendations from the BAME Attainment Gap Report and other similar research projects.

Specifics of the role:

  • To be a member of the University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
  • To be a member of the Students' Union Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
  • To meet with the part-time Liberation Officers regularly.
  • To be an active member of the Campus Accessibility Forum.

Student Living and Sustainability Officer

Main purpose of the role:

  • This Officer will work towards improving the day to day issues which students face in relation to housing, transport, community, campus facilities, finances and affordability. They will also work on ethical and environmental issues, and support student initiatives which promote sustainability across the University. They will create more awareness of sustainability and the climate and ecological crisis, as well as lobbying the University to respond appropriately to the urgency of this crisis.

Key responsibilities:

  • Working towards ensuring affordable and good quality housing for students both on and off campus.
  • Responding to issues facing students within University accommodation and the private-rented sector.
  • Ensuring that students have access to good advice about accommodation.
  • Lobbying for a rent reduction strategy in the University accommodation which continues to protect quality of service, with affordable options for students.
  • Lobbying the University to put students first and listen to feedback when making decisions about campus facilities that would affect them.
  • Working towards affordable, accessible and high quality transport for students.
  • Leading on any issues relating to student affordability, campus prices and improvements.
  • To be the lead contact when meeting with Brighton & Hove bus company and other transport companies.
  • Leading on issues within the local community, including promoting and championing student involvement in local and national elections.
  • Creating more awareness of sustainability and the climate and ecological crisis within the Students’ Union, the University, students and staff.
  • Lobbying University management to create a comprehensive sustainability policy and strategy.
  • Working towards educating all students about the diverse nature of sustainability and the urgency of climate breakdown, and help to mainstream sustainability across the university.
  • Lobbying the University to embed sustainability within the curriculum.
  • Working on issues regarding waste management on campus.
  • To be responsible for ensuring that the University and the Students' Union operates in an ethically and environmentally sound manner.
  • Representing the interests of students at the Students’ Union on issues relating to the environment and sustainability.
  • To work alongside student initiatives and campaigns regarding student living and sustainability.

Specifics of the role:

  • Chairing the Students’ Union Sustainability Committee.
  • To be a member of the University Sustainability Committee.
  • Taking a lead on Students’ Union Commercial services.
  • Attending meetings with the bus company.
  • Attending Citizens UK meetings.

General responsibilities

Relevant to all Officer roles:

  • Acting as a responsible Trustee of the Students’ Union overseeing Students’ Union governance, finance and strategy.
  • Working with Students’ Union Staff and the other Elected Officers to promote and bring about change based on manifesto promises.
  • To be an effective representative through talking to students electronically and face-to-face and sharing their concerns and ideas.
  • Working together as an Officer team, sharing out responsibilities as required such as nominating an Officer to sit on University Council or chairing the Union Trustee Board. These requirements will be communicated during the induction period and responsibilities allocated at that point.
  • Sharing the responsibility of attending disciplinary panels and academic misconduct panels with the Officer team, to ensure the most fair outcome for students involved.
  • Ensuring the student voice is heard with regards to developments within the Students’ Union and University.
  • Leading on and campaigning for change in the relevant topic of their Officer role.
  • Attending regular meetings with University Senior Management as required and attend all University committees of which you are a member.
  • Having an oversight of the Students Union’s democratic processes including working closely with Union staff on elections and referenda.
  • Working alongside the Students’ Union Communications team to have oversight of internal and external communications from the Students’ Union.
  • To be an active member of Union Council and Executive Committee meetings.
  • Chairing the Executive Committee, on a rotating basis with other Officers.
  • Chairing Union meetings where relevant to the role.
  • Supporting student volunteering opportunities within the University and the local community.
  • Actively promoting a culture of respecting diversity, sustainability, democracy and our collective responsibilities towards the environment and society as citizens.
  • Lead on current Students’ Union campaigning policy relevant to their Officer position, to be chosen at induction.

Who can be a Full-time Officer?

Any current Sussex or BSMS student can nominate themself.

Students who have Tier 4 immigration permission (leave) can undertake a full-time sabbatical officer post. You can read this article for more information on the specifics of this.

As Full-time Officers are trustees of the Students' Union there are certain categories of people who may not legally be a trustee or company director. So that the Union can be satisfied that you will be able to carry out the role if elected, you need to complete a charity trustee declartion and return it to the Returning Officer before the nomination can be confirmed.

Full-time Officer candidates should use this Manifesto Template to understand their roles and how they should structure their manifestos.

What support do Full-time Officers get?

You can expect support and advice from the other officers and Union staff. Full-time Officers are allocated staff members to support them during their time in office and work closely with other staff members and officers on relevant projects.

Full-time Officers receive an extensive induction training programme and take part in a leadership course accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Managerment.

You may also wish to be involved in specialist training or make use of online material that may be available through national organisations such as the NUS or the Charity Commission.

What is it like to work full-time for the Students' Union?

We're a friendly bunch of people to work with and offer a supportive work environment.

Full-time elected officers get paid a basic wage (currently around £20,000), and are still classed by the Students' Union as students whilst they are in office. Full-time Officers, like other Union staff, have 20 days of annual leave plus University closure days. There is scope to work flexibly.

Students finishing their course, e.g. taught postgraduate students, are entitled to paid study leave over the summer (half a day a week plus three additional days).