Latest Posts

Our Sector: Changes to data protection law

If your university shares student data with you, the basis on which they do that is about to change, with the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) from 25th May 2018. Other changes introduced by the GDPR will also have a significant impact on the handling of student data, and students’ unions […]

Our Sector: What should we be looking for in Uni Mental Health strategies?

As part of work at his institution, here changeSU editor Jim Dickinson notes down his findings from a review of UK guidance, student feedback and over 30 UK, Australian and US mental health strategies. Feedback, additions and suggestions would be welcome in the comments below.  What we ought to see in a University Mental Health […]

Our Sector: Licensing update for SUs

This briefing from our friends at TLT solicitors is also available here Licensing briefing for Students_ Unions Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme comes into full force April 1 saw the introduction of stage 2 of the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS). HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) introduced the scheme to tackle alcohol fraud. Whilst the majority of […]

Our sector: Are SUs Mental Health charities?

Ed Moloney has recently caused some controversy by suggesting that all SUs are mental health charities, and that we should start treating ourselves as such. Given that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week [1] he’s decided to put pen to paper, and in this article he outlines why he thinks SUs already meet the […]

Elsewhere: International Students and Social Media

It has been more than a decade since Facebook was launched as a social networking service, and in that time the psychological implications associated with social media usage has become an expanding research discipline. In 2016, Hyunjin Seo, Ren-Whei Harn, Husain Ebrahim, and Jose Aldana of the University of Kansas studied the implications of social […]

Our Sector: What are we doing on staff mental health and resilience?

One of the less discussed impacts of the rise of mental health issues amongst students and graduates is the impact this is starting to have on our staff teams in SUs. In particular we have identified resilience in the face of setbacks as a key concerns for us across our staff and the need to develop […]

Opinion: No more meetings bloody meetings?

In students’ unions, General Meetings and Union Councils have been the staple of policy making for decades; and before mass electronic communication became common place, these meetings were the easiest way of gathering opinion, debating topics, and voting on policies. In this piece a former MMU sabb argues that Q26 and technology may mean that […]

Our sector: Time for some quality conversations?

I can promise that getting ourselves out of the lazy idea that researchers or elected officers are the ones that should be talking to students and gathering data can improve culture and tool our officers up with rapid insights that can set the agenda on the student experience.

Our sector: Should your students’ union incorporate?

The process of incorporation can take some months and will take up valuable staff time, particularly the due diligence process. However the benefits, particularly the protection from liability for trustees, usually makes it worthwhile in the long run.

Opinion: We’re surrounded (by excellent people)

Here NUS Development Consultant and Governance Expert Al Powell explains why he thinks that career staff in students’ unions should be charity trustees. Trusteeship and governance are talked about a lot in the student movement- and for all the right reasons. Students’ unions set an excellent example of how to run charities, but we don’t […]

Our sector: Looking ahead again

Look. Compared to the “real world”, working in Students’ Unions seems rewarding and fun. It always has, but more so as we enter 2017. There are after all real reasons to be cheerful. Block grants are up. Finances have stablilised. Just twelve months ago the Government had aligned SUs with Trade Unions and challenged us […]

Our Sector: So what are we all doing on Q26?

In our annual survey this year we tested the new NSS question, knowing that in reality our NSS score would drop we wanted to know what it was likely to drop to. The survey revealed that we’d get a score of around 60% – this is a drop for us of 19% which is naturally […]

Read This: ACUI’s What’s New?

Each year, ACUI gathers the inventive programs and services recently introduced in US college unions and student activities. Among these may be new events, organizations, amenities, or campaigns implemented to better meet the needs of today’s campus communities. The ideas featured represent just a few of the many creative solutions professionals and students have undertaken in […]

Read This: Financial health of the higher education sector

For those colleagues interested in the Financial Health of your HEI or indeed the wider sector, HEFCE today launched a real bomb. “Financial health of the higher education sector: 2015-16 to 2018-19 forecasts” paints a grim picture of falling student numbers, growing capital demands, enlarging pension deficit contributions and unrealistic University strategic plans when read […]

Student Misconduct Guidelines- Unintended Consequences?

UUK has launched work from its taskforce on Sexual Harassment and Assault, and the new guidance on a code of practice for disciplinary processes may be needed and welcomed with the changes in legislation over the last twenty years. Just as interesting is the explicit mention in the materials of students as ‘customers’ and the […]

Our Sector: From 23 to 26- the new NSS normal

We don’t have to lose our admirable commitment to the broader lives of our members, or access to decision makers, or funding opportunities. But we must accept it’s a different frame, which requires different people, with different skills.

Secret CEO: Who are we talking to?

If one of our conclusions post Brexit was that we have forgotten how to talk to “the 52%”, maybe that re-engagement process has to start not out in the community but on campus.

Our Sector: The Changing of the Guard

In this piece an anonymous contributor muses on tactics when a new VC starts at the University One of the most turbulent situations your University can endure is a change at the top. Whether you have a VC, Principal, or President when the revolving door turns there is everything to play for. How can a […]

Our Sector: Membership Services Conference 2016

In this post Wes Wells, Student Community Project Manager (Academic Quality) at Brighton SU records various post-session conversations Aidan Mersh from NUS talking about how Sussex and Manchester are changing their elections, and he talks about some stuff that NUS have had to rule on regarding campaigners using email lists. Gary Hughes from York talking about the […]

Our Sector: Deputies

  In August 2016 I asked colleagues about Deputy CEO roles in Unions. The headline results are that of the 21 Unions that responded 85% of you have only one deputy role and the majority are called deputies (although there are a couple of Chief Operating Officers creeping in). Responsibility wise there are no common themes […]

Our Sector: NSS 2016

Daniel Palmer: Please find below what may prove to be the last major exercise in measuring satisfaction in students’ unions! Overall satisfaction in ‘students’ unions UK’ has dropped back to 2014 levels, with the top quartile of unions seeing the biggest losses. I’ve not done any significant work yet to theorise why there’s a drop, but […]

Our Sector: Hot topics in Employment law for SUs

In this semi regular update from our friends at TLT solicitors Stuart McBride and Dave Maton cover off Holiday Pay, Gender Pay Gap, Illegal working and much more. Hot topics in employment law for students_ unions – Summer 2016

Our Sector: Who’s really pulling the strings?

In this fascinating preview of his Membership Services 2016 workshop, CUSU’s Mark McCormack shares some findings from his research on block grant as indicator of SU autonomy As students’ unions we want it all when it comes to our institution: accepted for who and what we are; fiercely independent; and capable of influence and protest […]

Read This: What to Expect from Gen Z

The New Grads Entering the Workforce in 2016 are often labelled “Generation Z” Generation Z is the generation born between 1994 and 2010. The first wave will be entering the workforce in 2016. More than 3 in 4 believe they will need to work harder compared to past generations to have a satisfying and fulfilling professional […]

Elsewhere: ACUI Steal this idea 2016

Steal this Idea is a ACUI’s contest seeking the best marketing and promotion ideas. Judges from across the United States examined all entries, choosing placements for both students and professionals, in addition to Best of Show. Entries are judged on concept, design, editorial content, and effectiveness. This year, 362 entires were received from more than 50 schools. […]

Our sector: Addicted to the status quo?

We’re ready for action but they haven’t even seen change as an option yet. They’re right back in Precontemplation, thinking there’s no need to do anything differently while we demand immediate action and a green light for our plans.

Classics: The Cadogan Matrices

In this classic article from the early 00s former UWE General Manager Peter Cadogan examines relationships surrounding SUs In this piece I invite you to consider change. The world of students’ unions has changed, is changing and will continue to change. I am going to attempt to analyse that change process and see what that […]

Brexit. Now what?

If the answer was “grow our way out”, government policy was almost always either about to or in the middle of making that happen.

Our Sector: The TUSU Premium

One of my assumptions was that the student development SU’s have done for decades used the same principles now celebrated in HE enrichment and retention. So I have also incorporated phrases from ‘What Works’ and am sure you’ll see why!

Elsewhere: ACUI Student Activism Showcase

The following pages feature student leaders from different campuses—each focused on a unique cause—who detail their inspirations, how they have influenced positive change in their community, and their observations on how activism is best approached and achieved.

Our Sector: Understanding Commuter Students

With this research and previous research looking into the university life of commuter students, and by distributing the information to the various departments within LiverpoolSU, commuter students’ should be reached to ensure that their voices are heard.

Elsewhere: What have school parent governors got to do with SUs?

“The thing is”, said the Principal in a purposeful, moralistic tone, “it’s not in anyone’s interests for the college to continue to put on provision of this standard where the success rates are so low. We have to focus on doing what we do best and ensuring the learners are set up to succeed, not […]

Our Sector: Freedom of speech and SUs- what’s really going on?

Background In recent months students’ unions have been under the spotlight in much of the press over their “censorial” attitude to freedom of speech. Triggered in part by the Spiked! Free Speech rankings and arguably culminating in a spat between Peter Tatchell and NUS, swathes of commenters have argued that controversial voices on campus are […]

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