Here to be Heard: 3 Ways You Can Use Your Voice

There are three main ways to have your voice heard here at Beds SU. Continue reading to find out which way suits you.


1. Submit Feedback Online

Our simple form to share your feedback is available on the Beds SU website. You can use it as many times as you need to, can access it anytime from anywhere and feel confident that your feedback will be responded to and valued by the SU and the University. 

The form is particularly great if you’re not sure where your feedback should be sent, don’t feel that you need to speak in person to someone, or don’t have that much time to spare. Student voice begins with you: fill in the online form and staff from Beds SU will receive your thoughts, then work in partnership with the University to ensure that your feedback is sent to the most appropriate place and that you get a response as soon as possible. 


2. Attend a Meeting 

If you prefer to have your voice heard in person, we hold many meetings, each with an important purpose. To discuss feedback on any part of your academic life, the meeting to look out for is the Student Voice Forum (SVF), held once per term for each School/Department. 

Student Voice Forums

Student Voice Forums are informal meetings between students, academic reps, staff from the SU and your School/Department.

All students and staff in your School/Department are invited to attend SVFs and, with such a diverse group of people in the room, we at Beds SU can make sure your feedback is passed onto the right person or resolved right there in the room.

No problem is too small for a Student Voice Forum. They’re a perfect space to build connections with students and staff from across your School/Department, get to know the academic reps in your School, and make your voice heard. You’ll get an email to tell you when your next SVF is coming up. 

Union Parliament

Beds SU is run by students for students and Union Parliament is the SU’s way for students to tell us what you want us to be focusing on, and hear updates on what we have been doing for you.

All students can ask questions to Union Parliament and consult on our policy ideas however you will need to speak to one of your student community leaders to tell them how you think they should vote.

Union Parliament is now completely online and works on a 3 weekly cycle so you can get involved at a time that suits you.  

Liberation Network meetings

Our liberation networks work to represent groups of students from communities widely acknowledged to experience or have experienced oppression, exclusion or disadvantage. If you are from one of these communities and have views on how we can better represent you and your community, join one of our networks and attend one of their meetings.


3. Speak to a Representative 

If you would like a Representative to take on your feedback and get it to the right places, there are a range of people elected to represent you and support your voice. 

Course Reps

Course Reps volunteer their time to establish a clear and straightforward line of communication between students on their course and the University. They play an active role in termly Student Voice Forums and can share your feedback there or talk to Beds SU and University staff to make sure that your thoughts get to the right people.

Elections for Course Reps take place in the first term of a course and are voted in by the rest of the students on their course. Look out for the upcoming Course Rep elections in your classes, be sure to nominate yourself if the role sounds right for you and vote on who you think can best represent your views to the whole university. All Course Reps receive training from the SU to perform their duties to the best of their abilities.

Course Reps can also nominate themselves to become Senior Course Reps, which enables them to represent the views of their fellow students in Portfolio Executive Committee Meetings. This ensures that staff at the University are receiving student input at every point of their decision-making process. 

School Reps

School Reps are elected in Term Three by the entire student body and are the key communication link between Course Reps, Faculty Staff and the SU. They are trained extensively in how to best represent your views in Faculty Academic Boards and have regular 1:1s with the SU. 

Academic representation is a priority of the elected officer team at the SU. If you would like to discuss an academic issue with this year’s Education Officer, send him an email. You can also find the contact details of our other elected officers on the Beds SU website.


A World of Societies: Created by Students, for Students

If you are looking to meet like-minded people who share the same or similar interests or hobbies, then joining a society is the perfect way to do this.

This year you will also be able to join for free as we are wavering the joining fee.

Beds SU is proud to be home to a wealth of faith, academic, cultural and common interest/recreational societies run by students for students.

All societies look to meet regularly throughout the year with previous activities ranging from:

  • Training sessions and social gathering with the Dance society, 
  • Card and boardgame sessions such as Dungeons and Dragons with the Tabletop society, 
  • Cake, conversation and knitting with the Psychology society 
  • Building render farms with the Animation and Gaming society

Jess explains why she loves being part of the dance society

Discover more: You can explore the full A-Z of societies on the Beds SU website.


Societies are still active in the new virtual world

Lockdown hasn’t deterred our societies from finding new ways to continue enjoying time with their members, even if this has meant meeting virtually. 

Throughout the past few months we’ve been delighted to see a variety of ways our societies have being engaging and connecting with their members such as: 

  • The Nepalese society have been offering weekly online yoga sessions, 
  • The Midwifery society have been hosted online quiz nights with other universities and putting their voices to topical campaigns

Societies at Beds SU
Societies are a fantastic way to meet new people

Start your own society

Our Be Involved team along with VP for Union Development are also on hand to support any student or student group looking to set up their own society.

So, if you can’t find a society focused on a hobby or passion that is important to you, then the team can help you get started.

Start a Society: Check out the ‘start a society’ page on the Beds SU website. 


Nepalese Society
The Nepalese Society have been one of the most active societies in recent years

Societies and charitable activities

Raising money for charities is also something very important to our both our societies’ and wider student community and throughout the year our students volunteer their time to help others. Beds SU is on hand to help all students achieve their goals and we are always proud to showcase achievements.   

We hope this intro into the world of societies has given you an overview of the wealth of opportunities of offer to explore away from your studies. Throughout Welcome Month there will be a number of events and activities hosted by some of our societies and our Freshers Day on the 23rd September will be dedicated to showcasing more of what to expect so keep an eye on the events page.

Discover more

For more details on all of our societies, head to the Beds SU website.

What are Liberation Networks and how do I join?

The purpose of Liberation Networks is to represent the diverse characteristics of our student membership. They exist to advance the representation of student communities that are widely acknowledged to experience or have experienced oppression, exclusion or disadvantage.

Our Liberation Networks lead and seek change within the University, the Union and the wider student experience for those that they represent.


Our current Liberation Networks

Our current Liberation Networks are: 

Students with Disabilities Network

Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Students’ Network

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Plus (LGBT+) Student’s Network


What do Liberation Networks do?

Liberations Networks work with the Union to build a Priority Campaign, so that the network can bring about positive change within the University, the Union and/or the wider student body.

The networks also hold social events to bring communities together.


Who runs Liberation networks?

Simply put, students like you run Liberation Networks.

Each Liberation Network will elect a Student Chair who will be in charge of running the network. They will work closely with the Union to ensure your voice is heard.


How do I Join a Liberation Network?

Liberation Networks are open to all students. The only requirement is that you self-define as having the association’s key characteristics.

Meet the Exec: Get to know your elected officers

There are four full-time officers, each representing different aspects of the student experience. Our President leads the SU’s vision for the year alongside three Vice Presidents; VP Union Development, VP Education and VP Equality.


Who are your Exec Team?

The current Exec Officers team were elected in March 2020 and started their term in office in July 2020. They are:


Michael Alawaye – President

Course studied: Computer Security and Forensics

Favourite food: Jollof Rice and Plantain

What did you enjoy most about be a student at UoB: Opportunities provided by the students union

What might you like to improve about your time at UoB: Student support and engagement 

What are you looking forward to most about being on the Beds SU Exec officer team: Working with my team and students to improve our services and support 

What would your superpower be and why: Mind reading, so I could prepare fully for a meeting with all counters for any question on our manifesto in the upcoming year


Alessandro Manea – VP Education

Course studied: Business Studies (International) Sandwich Pathway.

Favourite food: Tiramisu > any meal.

What did you enjoy most about being a student at UoB: Having the chance of experiencing the real world out there through my placement year.

What might you like to improve about your time at UoB: The way the Student Voice is perceived.

What are you looking forward to most about being on the Beds SU Exec officer team: To be able to enhance students’ academic journey from a student perspective.

What would your superpower be and why: Ability to absorb and retain knowledge – to memorise or retain skills just by touching an object could come in handy!


Hafijur Shuvo – VP Equality

Course studying: Human Resource Management with Foundation Year

Favourite food: Mexican

What did I enjoy most: Meeting new people, making friends and learning different cultures.

What I would like to improve: University student support, listen to the students and what they would like to improve at the University of Bedfordshire. 

What I am looking forward to most about being on the Beds SU Exec officer team: I am looking for a new challenge and get more involved with the university so I can help other students. 

Superpower and why: Superman, because he can fly anywhere and even he can go to the galaxy. So I will be able to fly anywhere in the world and of course would love to go to moon.


Joshua Chukwu – VP Union Development

Course studied: Computer Engineering and Information System Management 

Favourite food: Fried Rice and Chicken 

What did you enjoy most about be a student at UoB: The diverse community that make up the student body on campus

What might you like to improve about your time at UoB: Support for international student, sport and cultural activities ,improve student feedback

What are you looking forward to most about being on the Beds SU Exec officer team: Bringing positive change to the Union and working as a team to enhance student experience 

What would your superpower be and why: My superpower will be speed, so I would be able to make an instant decision and respond very quickly to events

Beds SU: Who are we and what do we do?

When you join the University of Bedfordshire, you don’t just join the university – you also become a member of Bedfordshire Students’ Union (Beds SU)!

Beds SU is led by four Student Officers – a President and three Vice Presidents – who are elected annually by University of Bedfordshire students to lead the Students’ Union.

We are here to help every student at the University of Bedfordshire get the most out of their university experience. We campaign on issues that you care about, as well as providing lots of opportunities for you to meet new people, develop your skills, campaign for change and try something new.

Beds SU has offices in both Luton and Bedford where you will also find sports bar venues and a whole host of weekly events for students.


Our Services

The services we provide to our members are broadly split into four categories. Those categories are:

  • Be Heard
  • Be Involved
  • Be Entertained
  • Be Supported.

Be Heard

Academic Reps

Academic reps are the voice of students on their course who champions student views and ideas to the university. They work in partnership with the university, the Students’ Union and their fellow course-mates to enhance the learning experience.


Executive Officers

There are four full-time officers, each representing different aspects of the student experience. Our President leads the SU’s vision for the year alongside three Vice Presidents; VP Union Development, VP Education and VP Equality.


Campaigns

Our mission at Beds Students’ Union is to make sure you are heard – and campaigning for change is a big part of that. We campaign on a range of issues that affect students both on campus and in the wider community.  We’re not party political, but we are political for students.


Campus Liaison Officers

Campus Liaison Officers work on a part-time voluntary basis to ensure that each campus is represented across the Union

They are the voice of students on your campus, ensuring that Beds SU and the other elected Officers are considering and working to improve the student experience on these sites.


Liberation Networks

The purpose of Liberation Networks is to represent the diverse characteristics of the student membership. They exist to advance the representation of student communities that are widely acknowledged to experience or have experienced oppression, exclusion or disadvantage.


Be Involved

Societies

Societies are created and run by student committees and provide an exciting way to connect with like-minded individuals and make new friends, whether through a shared hobby or personal interest, being part of the same course, or having a shared faith or culture.   


Raise & Give (RaG)

Raising money and awareness for good causes is an important part of what we do. To help focus our efforts, Beds SU has one officially supported charity each year, as chosen by the student community.


Be Entertained

Events

Arranging events where students can meet one another and build their network forms a core part of our service. Our events cover a wide range of interests, including big nights out and #Upskill training sessions.

During the pandemic, we’ve had to stop running physical events, but our events team have skilfully switched their attention to organising online events for you to get involved with.


Venues

Our venues on the Bedford & Luton campuses provide a relaxed setting for casual study and socialising and a base for our big headline events. Coffee, hot and cold food and alcoholic drinks are served throughout the day.

During the pandemic, our venues are temporarily closed. We are working hard to safely reopen them as soon as we can.


Be Supported

Advice & Support

We hope that you will never find yourself in circumstances where you will need our support, but if you do the Beds SU Advice Service are on hand to assist you.

We can support students with:

  • Academic Disputes
  • Housing
  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Finance
  • Safety Matters
  • Student Conduct & Complaints

We provide impartial, independent and confidential advice on all aspects of university life. We are also associated with local community organisations, so if we’re unable to help you directly, we should know someone who can.


Discover more

You can find out more about the plethora of services Beds SU provides its student members on the main website.

What is an Academic Rep?

Academic Reps are the voice of students on their course, who champions student views and ideas to the university at various levels. They work in partnership with the university, the Students’ Union and YOU – their fellow course-mates – to enhance the academic experience here at UoB. 

You will get the chance to become a Rep for your Course or to vote for the Rep for your Course within the first few weeks of term, so keep an eye out for information in class.


What do Reps do?

Course Reps will:  

  • Collect feedback from students about their experience. The best feedback uses the THINK BIG framework: what are the BEST aspects of their course, what are the areas that need IMPROVING and what new ideas they have to GET GOING that will improve the learning experience. 
  • Attend meetings to pass on this feedback and discuss THINK BIG ideas with your course team and see what changes could be made to improve the student experience.
  • Close the feedback loop by ensuring students are aware of the progress made and outcomes achieved in these meetings.
  • Build relationships with students and staff across the university and work with them to develop the learning experience.

Course Reps are NOT expected to: 

  • Help students with their studies – we suggest trying the StudyHub for this.
  • Help students with issues of a personal or sensitive nature or individual complaints or appeals – UoB Student Support can help with a range of concerns, or Beds SU runs an independent, confidential Advice Service if you’d rather speak to someone else.
  • Work without the support of Beds SU – Beds SU provides training and ad hoc support throughout the year to Academic Reps. You can even get certification for your work as a Rep.

How to become an Academic Rep

Staff on your course should speak to your cohort about electing a Rep within the first few weeks of the academic year. Make sure you keep an eye out for information if you want to get involved. If it’s not for you, make sure you know who your Rep is in case you have any ideas or issues that you would like to share.

One of the most satisfying benefits of being a rep is knowing you can influence institutional development and make a positive impact on the student experience at the University. Being involved in academic representation is not only about maximising the potential of your course but also your own personal development. 

Beds SU is committed to helping you develop the essential skills that you need to be successful in your role and have committed staff available to support and train you throughout the year. You will develop valuable skills that will increase your chances of employment, including communication, timekeeping, handling negative feedback, negotiation, problem-solving reflection, networking, assertiveness, public speaking and many more.