Every student enrolled at the University is automatically a member of the students’ union, meaning that they have access to a wealth of services and activities, and not just our commercial outlets on the ground floor of the Student Central building. The Student Voice Team supports students in many ways, details of which can be found on the students’ union website. Here is some information about the nature of our work and support for students:
During the Coronavirus lockdown period the team have supported students and volunteers in their roles, and continued to work closely with the President Team to ensure that the needs of students are met.
There have been three Course Rep Drop-In sessions, hosted by Simeon as President of Education and supported by both Education Coordinators, to give Course Reps, Faculty Reps and Deputy Faculty Reps the opportunity to check in and ask any questions they may have during this difficult time. Course representation is just as important for students now as it has ever been, and recruitment for 2020-2021 is underway with over 40 already signed-up. Students may be directed to our website to find out more about the role and complete their self-nomination sign-up form. In addition, interviews for Faculty Reps, the highest level of representation role, also took place during lockdown with interviews held via Zoom. We are delighted to now have three of the four positions filled during this process.
Elections for Part-Time Officers also took place for the first time wholly online, with a large number of roles filled for the 2020-21 year. Union Council, the student union’s decision-making body, also took place twice online to give this year’s Part-Time Officers the opportunity to continue the excellent environment for debate, discussion and decision-making that they had already fostered on campus.
Further information about some of the work of The Student Voice Team and the groups of volunteers that we support can be found below:
- Course Representation is run by the students’ union and Course Reps receive training to prepare them for the role, and ongoing support and coaching throughout the academic year.
- Any student can become a Course Rep and choose to represent students on academic issues. This is a self-nomination process and a course may have as many Course Reps as there are students interested in becoming one.
- Despite course representation being the responsibility of the students’ union, we work in partnership with University staff to advertise the role and recruit Course Reps during early trimester 1 lectures and seminars. Suitable material in the form of presentation slides and leaflets are available to all staff.
- Course Reps will complete their training and induction with the students’ union prior to becoming a Course Rep, and faculties will be sent up-to-date lists of fully trained Course Reps periodically during October and November.
- Course Reps are supported by two Education Coordinators and if staff and students have any queries about the role of the representation system, we would be happy to answer these and talk you through the process. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get in touch.
- At the Students’ Union we hold annual elections and by-elections for students to vote for who will represent them in a wide range of positions. This includes 5 full-time paid Presidents (sabbatical officers) and a large number of volunteer Part-Time Officers.
- All students are eligible to vote in the elections, and the majority of students are eligible to stand as election candidates for full-time or part-time positions.
- Information, training and support for prospective candidates is provided by the Student Voice Manager and Campaigns and Democracy Coordinator. Our aim is for the elections process to be a positive developmental experience for all candidates and campaign team members, no matter the end result for individuals.
- Our team is responsible for the fair and transparent running of elections, and we work closely with an external Returning Officer to ensure that elections rules are just and followed by all candidates.
Student and President–led Campaigns:
- Every student has the right to campaign for change with the Students’ Union. Recent campaigns include for a healthier food offer on campus, better safety measures, and for more environmentally friendly actions.
- Students may access funding to support their campaign.
- The Student Voice team supports students and presidents with research, drafting a campaign plan, executing and evaluating the campaign, whilst the students’ union’s Marketing team provides support with social media campaigns as well as student surveys and petitions.
- Campaigns are run by the students’ union and led by students and Presidents to seek change where they passionately believe change should be made. This often requires collaboration with staff from the University, but responsibility for the campaign is with the students’ union.
- Union Council is the core decision making body of the Students’ Union and is made up of Part-Time Officers. All students are welcome to attend Union Council meetings to observe, present a motion or participate in debate. However, it is only those students who have been elected or appointed into Union Council roles who have a vote.
- The Student Voice Team is responsible for providing Union Council with training, guidance and information, and the administrative support for meetings to ensure that student decisions are communicated widely to all student members and staff of the union and, where relevant, the University.
All elected and appointed Presidents and Part-Time Officers are accountable to Union Council. Union Councillors have the power to mandate change in practice and hold those responsible for decisions to account. All recent motions can be viewed here
- Hull University Union produces reports on a trimester basis to share student feedback and provide evidence for making change to benefit the student experience where necessary.
- The reports are produced using data collected from a number of sources, primarily the pulse survey that is sent to one ninth of the student population each month.
- The survey collects data relating to the student experience in Hull, including course satisfaction, use of students’ union services and facilities and mental health.
- Reports also include data from Student-Staff Forum Action Registers to highlight common issues raised by students via the Course Rep system, and details of projects and campaigns led by Presidents and students.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read our blog post. We hope that you have been able to take some useful information away with you and we look forward to working in partnership with University staff and students during the 2020-21 academic year.
Hull University Union’s Student Voice Team