So at the start of my term as Union President I asked myself: where can I make an impact? What can I do to help groups of students individually that would hopefully make large scale positive change? Among others, my answer was always student reps.
The student rep system at the University is, and has been for a while, a confusing maze of staff, students and management, making it difficult for students to actually enact change. This year I was determined to try and change this.
This started with the creation of two handbooks, one for students and one for staff, regarding the different aspects of student reps and what each group needs to know. This is the first time that staff have received a briefing like this from the Students’ Union. This has hopefully showed students and staff the importance of student reps, as well as the potential power that these students have as a collective. This has perhaps been lacking in previous years.
Following on from this was the complete creation of the course rep training. Due to a university staffing issue, all previous course rep training materials were deleted from the system. At the time this was frustrating but actually it allowed us a great opportunity to reinvent and rejuvenate what the training consisted of.
We initially ran four training sessions before adding an additional session due to popular demand. This year we also held a training session in Medway (I’m not sure why this hadn’t happened before) as well as three in Canterbury. These sessions were very well attended, eventually amounting to over 100 students.
The training attempted to cover all areas of potential student rep life and gave real scenarios for the reps to discuss as a group to try and generate responses.
The training also informed student reps about The Core and the opportunities that lie within the university department, as well as the new app that has been created to help you (as students) with your employability skills.
In addition to this, the sessions allowed me to promote the newly formed Student Academic Representation Committee. This committee has been created with the purpose of enabling student reps to meet with me to discuss issues surrounding the University as a whole and then enact change. This committee has been founded upon the premise that we are stronger together. As a group we are far more influential than as one person. This will ultimately make our statements and queries far more powerful.
I’m excited to meet and discuss ideas with as many student reps as possible, to hear their ideas and thoughts on their university experiences.
I feel that student reps are a hugely pivotal group of students that have a lot to offer, both to the University and the Students’ Union. I look forward to helping student reps in anyway I can.
Thanks for reading!
And as always, if you have any questions/queries or just fancy a chat please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on facebook (Phil Kloppenborg).