SUSU, Making it Your Union
SUSU , it’s your Students’ Union.
You along with every other student at the University of Southampton are automatically a member of the union.
The choices that SUSU makes as your union can have a massive impact on your experience whilst at University. From the amount of support your society or club gets, to the issues the union fights for you and even to the cost your next pint at The Stag’s, these are all conscious policy decisions which are made.
Legally Students’ Unions in Britain must be democratic organisations. That is to say you and every other member should have an equal say in how SUSU is run, the decisions made, and what it believes.
Would you know how to get your views and opinions on these matters heard? Or how you can actively influence these decisions?
Most people could identify elections for the SUSU President and other sabbaticals as one of their main methods of voicing their opinion. In fact over 30% of the students voted last year, one of the highest figures for Student Unions in the country.
But how many students really know how to make direct change at SUSU, or how to use SUSU to put pressure on the University or even just get a good idea put into practise. Aside from elections the major democratic tools of SUSU are currently the Annual General Meeting (AGM), Union Council, and Referendum but do you know how they work or what they do?
I believe the answer is probably not.
Is there anything that can be done to change this, and encourage more than just the most “keen” students to engage in the process?
With my role as Vice President Communications I have been tasked with overseeing the union’s democratic processes and continuing the work of previous sabbatical teams in reviewing and changing the way we do things. Last year the sabbatical team started work looking at Union Council and in particular, who are the voting members (more information on the work can found here).
Over the last month the sabbatical and student leader teams have been looking at Union Council in more detail and answering the questions of; what is its purpose? How should it work? How can it enable you to make your life at Southampton better?
Over the next few days I will be blogging about the ideas that have come out of these meetings and looking to you for your ideas on how Council will work and how to work it better.