The Brand New ‘Beds SU Housing Guide’ is Here

Finding housing during your studies can be challenging.

Knowing your rights and the rules that you and your landlord need to adhere to when entering into a tenancy agreement can take time. 

To help you through the process of finding somewhere to live, Beds SU has put together a Housing Guide which contains details on the above, as well as information for those who intend to share a home with other occupants.

Don’t forget, we’re always here to help. Beds SU’s Advice Service can help you to understand your rights, contracts and much more. Simply email us on help@bedssu.co.uk

The Sunflower Scheme – Supporting Individuals with Hidden Disabilities

The Sunflower Scheme is a global initiative aimed at offering individuals with hidden disabilities a simple way to make their invisible impairment visible through the wearing of a lanyard, wristband or presenting a card displaying the sunflower logo.

Beds SU is a member of the Sunflower Scheme

Beds SU proudly signed up to support the Sunflower Scheme in 2020, training all staff to recognise the ways in which individuals may need extra help to access our services or venues in the hope of ensuring individuals with hidden disabilities feel more comfortable in our spaces.  You don’t have to wear the sunflower however to ‘prove’ your disability, Beds SU believes in self-identification and so be assured you can ask for help anytime.

How and where to access support? 

You can buy an official lanyard, card or wristband from the organisers of the scheme and if you chose to can wear it or present it to Beds SU staff who will talk with you about the support you need in a safe and confidential place and then offer any assistance we can. 

The sunflower isn’t only recognised within your SU, but in a growing number of transport hubs (e.g. airports) and public spaces (e.g. shopping centres), check out the ‘find the sunflower’ locator on the site for details on all businesses supporting the scheme near you. 

Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower discreetly indicates to people that you may need additional support, help or a little more time – this may include around communal areas, social spaces or catering outlets on campus. The lanyard and scheme does not entitle you to additional study support.  If you require additional support with your studies, please contact disability@beds.ac.uk or visit www.beds.ac.uk 

If you would like to tell us how we can make your experience better please contact us here or email us

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.  

Student Network meetings

Our student 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.

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:

  • External speaker sessions, social gathering and charity bake-off’s with the Midwifery society 
  • Revision support and socials with the Paramedic society
  • Building social enterprises with the Enactus Bedfordshire 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 will be offering in-person and virtual opportunities this year

The pandemic didn’t deter our societies from finding new ways to continue enjoying time with their members, with a host of societies offering members virtual opportunities to join. As we start to move back to campus societies will be looking to restart lots of face-to-face activities as well as maintaining some virtual opportunities where possible. Keep an eye out on our society and event pages for more details.


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

Start your own society

Our Student Membership team along with your Vice-Presidents for Campus Engagement and Equality will 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 society page on the Beds SU website or contact us for more information on how to get started. 


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 Week there will be a number of events and activities hosted by some of our societies and our Freshers Days on the 22-24 September 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 Student Networks and how do I join?

The purpose of Student 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 Student Networks lead and seek change within the University, the Union and the wider student experience for those that they represent.


Our current Student Networks Networks

Our current Student Networks are: 

Students with Disabilities Network

Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Students’ Network

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


What do Student Networks do?

Student 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 Student Networks?

Simply put, students like you run Student Networks.

Each Student 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 Student Network?

Student 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. We have two Co-Presidents and two Co-Vice Presidents, Campus Engagement & Equality.


Who are your Exec Team?

The current Exec Officers team were elected in March 2021 and started their term in office in July They are:


Laura Tamara – Co-President

Focus for the year ahead

Laura intends to focus on eliminating set-backs for students who identify as being black or minority ethnic (aka BAME), those with disabilities, those with caring responsibilities and students from the LGBT+ community.

Get to know Laura

Laura graduated this July with an MSc in International Business with Law. When she is not working Laura enjoys being outdoors with her family, drinking hot coffee and listening to loud jazz music.


Quadri Yusuf – Co-President

Vision for the year ahead

Quadri wants to ensure that there is reduction in academic offences amongst students to ensure academic integrity in the university and improve the society activities in the university.

Get to know Quadri

Quadri is currently doing his MBA in Data Analytics and has a MSc in International Relations Management. Away from his studies Quadri loves to play scrabble and football.


Catalina Nita – Co-VP Campus Engagement & Equality

Focus for year ahead

As Vice President Catlina would like to see improvement in the BaME awarding gap, greater cultural and environmental recognition and would like to engage with students to motivate and support them in achieving their goals.

Get to know Catalina

Catalina has just finished her undergraduate foundation year at LSE (London campus) studying for a BS in Business Management. She was awarded top grades across the 4 units and received the ‘Student of the Unit Certificate’. Away from her studies Catalina enjoys spending time with friends, gathering for games and catching up. She also loves swimming and travel.


Dylan Cox – Co-VP Campus Engagement & Equality

Focus for the year ahead

Dylan’s vision is to ensure lectures continue to be recorded and posted online after the return to campus, as well as creating a programme that pushes high achieving students to further excel.

Get to know Dylan

Dylan has a degree in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and will be doing his Masters by research alongside his role as an Exec, followed hopefully by a PhD.

Away from his studies and job Dylan competes as a bodybuilder so spends time at the gym and also participates in cheerleading at University.

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 – two Co-Presidents and two Co-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 but we have a virtual presence across all other campuses to ensure all students feel part of the SU.


Our Services

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

  • Community
  • Student Voice
  • Events
  • Advice

Community

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.   


Work with us

Another great way to meet people and get involved to is to apply for one of our many voluntary or paid roles, all of which fit around your studies and commitments.


Student Voice

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. Two Co-Presidents who lead the SU’s vision for the year with a focus on academic matters alongside two Co-Vice Presidents with a focus on supporting and championing equality and campus experience for all students


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 Officers

Campus 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.


Student Networks

The purpose of Student 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.


Events

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 training sessions.

During the pandemic, we worked hard to bring our students a variety of online and on demand events and we will continue to run a number of activities and events in this way along with a host of physical events to ensure all our students, wherever you are get to enjoy some extra curricular activities.


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.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you back to our venues. Please keep an eye on the website for opening times.


Advice

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.