For the past year, the Student Union has worked hard to improve the student experience at Regent’s. At the start of our last academic year, in September 2016, we looked back on the history of the Student Union and decided that in order to improve our effectiveness, we had to shift our focus to improving the Student Union as it functioned and interacted with studenFor the past year, the Student Union has worked hard to improve the student experience at Regent’s. At the start of our last academic year, in September 2016, we looked back on the history of the Student Union and decided that in order to improve our effectiveness, we had to shift our focus to improving the Student Union as it functioned and interacted with students, particularly academically, in order to be more effective. This led to us look at our internal processes and our structure, which we worked hard on improving.
One of the first pieces of work that was done, over the summer, was to improve the brand recognition of the SU. The SU invested into rebuilt our website to make it smarter, as well as some more marketing material to make our presence known wherever we were on campus. These improvements helped to showcase the SU and to improve our visibility to our students. This directly led to an increased attendance at the events in autumn 2016. Our next step was to improve the way the SU functioned to deliver better student representation. For this, we looked at our structure and saw that the President and Vice President were unable to adequately manage their team to the standard we desired due to too many direct reports. To remedy this, we removed the position of Vice President and introduced two new positions, The Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the Vice President of Student Experience. These two new positions helped us divide the number of direct reports from 14 to 6 per person, further improving how officers worked and interacted with the President and Vice Presidents.
Our next goal was to improve student representation around the campus by merging the two systems that currently function (one ran by the university, and the other ran by the SU). After much discussion, we were unable to achieve this in this academic year, but it remains a goal in the upcoming academic year with our first sabbatical president, Anastasia Mamaeva.
Another great change for the SU has been the introduction of our first Sabbatical President. This officer will be employed full time by the university and SU to deliver the best service the SU can to the students. Furthermore, a full-time officer will help us work on more projects and achieve more as they will have more time to work and pursue the projects.
Finally, we improved university relations considerably in the past year. Our officers have sat on every level of the university and due to improved processes in the SU, we have been able to deliver your feedback to the right levels and departments. This improved relationship helped us achieve more, like the introduction of a new student app and the introduction of a new catering provider, to make sure you always get the best food on campus. In order to improve this relationship, the SU repositioned itself in its relationship with the university. Furthermore, as the university has helped the SU a lot in achieving its goals in the past year, the SU decided to return the favour by volunteering more of its resources to the university. This led to the SU working on the National Student Survey alongside the University and on other significant projects such as developing a document for the Student Written Submission under the higher education review which happened at Regent’s in our autumn semester 2016.
This improved relationship with the university and improved visibility to our students has been more than fruitful. In the past year, we have improved satisfaction amongst our students by 16% to 70% when asked the question: “The Students’ Union (association or guild) effectively represents students’ academic interests.” This led us to be one of the top 10 Student Unions in the country as listed on the times NSS University ranking.
This dramatic achievement for the SU is just the start of a new path for us and our university. We as a Student Union are dedicated to constantly improve our services and how we deliver them. This achievement will help us consolidate our position with the university and continue to grow the ties we have made in the past year. This will also help the SU in its ultimate goal to become a fully independent Union in a few years, of which the foundation work has been laid during the course of this year, with extensive documentation being created to illustrate how such a venture would operate.
The future looks bright for our SU and I know that under the leadership of our new sabbatical president, we will achieve even more than we have this year and create the best student experience for you.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone that was in the SU for the past year, from representatives, executives, team members, societies and everyone in between that has helped us in any way shape or form. This past year and its success couldn’t have happened without you and all the hard work you put into the SU, the SU and I are eternally grateful for every way you have helped us in the past year.
To the University, I would like to say thank you for letting us collaborate with you on so many projects, and have our voice heard at every level. We know that at times we may have been quite demanding in our requests and feedback. Our work is a two-way road, and without you and everyone that helped us, we would have never been able to achieve as much as we have for the past year. I sincerely hope that our relationship with you continues to grow and we continue to achieve new goals and help our university grow and become the best university in the UK.
Student Union President 2016-17