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New Officer model

Should Sheffield Hallam Students' Union replace the existing student officer model with a new model more closely aligned to students' academic experience? - The case For

The University has changed dramatically over the last few years, with the introduction of Colleges, changes to academic and professional services and the start of a programme of building that'll transform the University over the coming years and decades. At the same time, the Students' Union Officer model has remained unchanged over the last six years. In that time, we've had numerous teams of hard working, dedicated Officers, who've achieved great changes for students.

But it's got harder every year. It's more difficult to reach students, and more difficult to influence positive change and be in the room where decisions that affect students in their courses, departments and colleges are made. We know this is what students want. The vast majority of students we've spoken to as Officers and as a Union put their academic studies as their top priority, and almost all students have said they want a Union that better represents them, understands their issues and has a strong physical presence where they work and study.

This proposal does this.

  • Vote YES for a dedicated Officer who represents you where you study. Your College Officer will be closer to you, they'll understand the issues faced by students in your Course and Department, and will be better placed to influence this.
  • Vote YES for a Union that can effectively influence change at all levels. Your President will still have the ear of the Vice Chancellor and other leaders, but your College Officer will be able to work with Deans and Heads of Department to ensure your student experience is excellent, that your teaching is high quality and that inclusion is at the heart of every College.
  • Vote YES for Union that puts student wellbeing at its heart. The new role of Wellbeing, Sport and Physical Activity Officer will address the issues in student mental health, champion the importance of physical activity and drive forward the University Strategy in these areas, whilst ensuring that marginalised students have a strong voice in the Union and University.
  • Vote YES for a dedicated International Students Officer. This Officer will both support our international students in the unique and challenging issues they face, in particular with the uncertainty around rights for all students post-Brexit, as well as championing the rights of home students to access international opportunities. As a Union, and a University, we retain a global outlook and this role plays a key part in this.

We recognise there are big changes taking place here, but don't worry, many of our existing roles and structures will still exist:

  • If you vote YES, the current Liberation Rep roles and roles for specific student groups will stay in place. They'll get dedicated support from the College Officers, the Wellbeing Officer, and support and funding from the Students' Union.
  • If you vote YES, Societies will still benefit from the support of our experienced and dedicated staff team, as well as this, Academic Societies will work with the College Officer and the President will have a big role in supporting non-academic Societies.
  • If you vote YES College Officer roles will take on much of the remit of the current Education and Welfare Officers, meaning you'll have three full time Officers fighting for your rights in these areas rather than two!
  • If you vote YES College officers would be able to tackle complaints on disabled students learning contract and commuting students within the colleges. It will leads to improved academic support for Disabled students and all the minority students in Hallam.

This is a big change for our Students' Union. It's a change we need to make. We need higher engagement, we need better routes into the University and we need YOU to vote YES to help us make the change happen.