Hi, my name is Harry and I’m your Student Union President. Today I’ll be talking about our democratic structure, and why we need your feedback to make your preferred changes reality. Also, there is a survey that includes the chance of winning a £50 Amazon Voucher or one of TEN BOP TICKETS!
Anyway, to set the scene, some of the more eagle-eyed of you will have noticed the NUS have published a report very recently about how the organisation is run. We have identified similar issues here in Winchester, with the main being a lack of attendance at most forums (we’re talking maybe one or two students, if any) and difficultly with publicising them, as well as of course understanding the process! We’ve done our utmost to promote and educate about the current structure, but we want your feedback to help us make it better for you.
Fill out the survey here: https://winchester.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/democracy-survey-2017
We really need students to bring great ideas forward at democratic meetings so that they can reach Student Senate to be actioned into real, practical change.
You can tell there is a problem when you chuck up a Twitter Poll for a day or two asking if anyone had been to a forum before, and you receive an 81% No vote. This is even more worrying considering we did this with relatively little fanfare in order to see the students who most regularly monitor our content to answer.
So how do we get it to work? Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic bullet’ that will suddenly increase engagement across the board. Students get involved in a variety of activities for an even larger variety of reasons, so there isn’t a lot we can do there that we aren’t doing already.
- The kind of thinking we must avoid!
Instead, I think the solution is to ask you all what you want your democracy to be like. This is why I’ve just opened up a survey asking your opinions and choices for the way you want the structure to be like. We’ll also be going round organising focus groups, so if you want to be even more involved then please let us know.
To make the survey and focus group discussion questions more concise, we’ve narrowed it down. This all started when Jordan, Sam and I sat down and identified some major issues with the current structure. I then spoke to several students – such as Josh Constable, who I have to mention as being extremely helpful in reading through our ideas and suggesting new ones – who raised concerns in the past. This was then put up for discussion at a few Exec meetings, in which we identified the big questions we wanted to ask.
As of the publication of this article, the survey is up and open to all students to answer. We only have until Sunday 29th January before it closes and the prizes are announced, so make sure you fill it out as soon as you have the time.
I know this has been a bit of a long blog post, so thank you for sticking with me and for filling out the survey. We really need to hear your voice before we can act. Once we’ve organised your feedback into a new structure, I will present the changes you have asked for to the next meeting of Student Senate for immediate action.
If you’d like to be in a focus group, please send an email to Harry.Sampson@winchester.ac.uk.
P.S. Just to clarify, this is to do with the arrangement of Forums, Sub-Committees and Committees we have and not the direct election of Executive Officers or appointment of Trustees.