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Communication Plan 2012 - 2017

Your words, our passion


Background Information

As identified in the Student Survey of 2012, students don’t always understand the Union’s abbreviation of UBSU. We sought more opinions and decided to rebrand and redesign our logo to fit in with the new brand of Beds SU.

It was also highlighted that it is important for students to know how the profits generated in the SU are being reinvested in student activities. The rebranding of the balcony area in Luton and plans to redesign the SU in Bedford will help to make things clearer and tackle this misperception.

In the past, Beds SU (formally UBSU) has been guilty of projecting a ‘Union know best’ mentality to the student body. This has led to a degree of disengagement with some of you as you have felt your opinions weren’t valued. Beds SU will be redirecting its communication to ensure that student opinions are placed at the entre of all that we do.

Beds SU moved to the heart of the campus in October 2010 and this gave us a key opportunity to reach more of you with the support and non commercial aspects of what we do. As more students have come into the SU, the way we listen to you and let you know what we are doing on your behalf has become much more of a priority as we continue to widen our participation.

We are determined to reach as many of you as possible and to let you know about what we are doing on your behalf and how we have listened to what you think.

After negotiations with the University, we hav broadenedthe services we offer by taking over the management of the popular Volunteering Service from 2011. This has led to many more students using Union services. It is a priority of the Union to now promote these services


At the moment 54% of you know who we are and what we do. We will be trying to increase this by 3-5% every year

SO W HAT EXACT LY ARE YOU DOING F OR ME?....

Our elected officers will be more clearly identifiable and will be out and about listening to you more

In 2012 29% of you knew who our sabbs were. We will be looking to increase this by 3-5% every year

Well that’s a fair question.

We will be increasing our visibility across all of our sites and letting you know well in advance when we will be coming to see you and what we can offer when we’re there.

T HAT’S OK BUT..........

We know that your needs change, and that sometimes we might not get it exactly right. After all of our events and out-site visits, we will be asking you what you thought about what we’re doing and what we could do differently. We are your Union and put your opinions at the heart of what we do.

A NICER SU WOULD BE A GOOD START

We know some of our space isn’t the best, and that you’d like to have a more fun and interactive SU. We are going to put seating and social areas at the heart of our space. We will be redesigning your SU to be much more student-friendly and a place you can relax after class. Our space will also be interactive to highlight what we are doing as a Union.

WE’RE BET T ER..... CONNECT ED

We are aware that as a diverse student body you will want to hear from us in a variety of different ways. We will listen to what you have told us and we will work on better ways of listening and talking to you and our other partners. We will ensure that you only receive the information you want, and in a format that suits you. We will be constantly looking to new technologies to help us hear your views and experiences.

GET T ING A JOB W HEN I GRADUAT E

Beds SU offers a variety of volunteering opportunities to help you pick up those crucial work skills and experience to stand out from the crowd. A significant number of you, especially mature and international students, rated employability as your top Union priority. The Union will be redesigning our website and ensuring that there is increased signage on campus and electronically highlighting how you can get involved.


22-25 Y EAR OLDS

18-21 Y EAR OLDS

BREO and Facbook are clearly the preference for communication, with emails slightly behind in third.

The majority of our 18-21 year old students like to hear about events, entertainment and Beds SU services via Facebook, email and the BREO.

There is no major differences to the figures for 18-21 year olds, but we will keep checking with you to ensure that we are istening to you and giving you the relevant information.

You are the group that feels we communicate with you the best

SO YOU LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT T HINGS IN DIF F ERENT WAYS, EH.

We surveyed all of our students across our campuses in 2012 and found that there was a real difference in the way different people liked to receive information

We will be concentrating our resources to ensure that we communicate with you via these methods and continue to look at emerging technologies,including apps and electronic communications.

We will keep monitoring what we do to ensure that we don’t lose touch with you.

26 AND ABOV E

T HAT’S OK BUT..........

BREO and email are clear communication preferences, with the website and Facebook as lesser priorites.

The major differences were age groups, so we will be refocussing our efforts to ensure that we keep all of you up to date with what we are doing and why we’re doing it. Only 15% of Aylesbury and 18% of Butterfield feel that the Union has made a positive impact in their studies.

We will ensure that we use official communication channels to get our message across to you, and will work with the University as they develop new methods of communicaton.

We want more students from our hard to reach groups saying that we have had a positive contribution to their studies.


18-21 Y EAR OLDS

I’V E CHANGED, SO MY PRIORIT ES HAV E CHANGED When asked if the Union had made a positive contribution to your time at Uni, 80% of you said yes or to some extent. We were pleased with this, but this differed depending on where you studied

T HAT’S OK BUT..........

A key priority for 18-21 year olds is hearing about events, activities and entertainment.

22-30 year olds have said that help and advice and employability and volunteering opportunities are their top Union service priority.

We will ensure you get to know about all events and ents and we will provide information about clubs and societies and other Union activities.

We will make sure you know how to access help and advice when you need it.

We will monitor what we are sending out and ask you for feedback every year to check if your priorities have changed.

We want to move 3-5% every year into the ‘yes, the Union has had a positive impact on my time at Uni’ category.

We will be ensuring that we reach more of you through a variety of different channels to ensure that you can all benefit from the services we We know we offer a broad offer.

Half of students surveyed said that the Union had ‘to some degree’ had a positive impact on their time at Uni.

22-30 Y EAR OLDS

range of services and that feedback has highlighted you like these. We need to let more of you know about these so you can all benefit from them.

We will also ensure you know about all the exciting volunteering opportunities On an occasional basis we will update you about other Union activities.

31 AND ABOV E

Help and Advice and representation are the key areas of priority for our mature students. We will be looking at the structure of the Union and look at increasing the number of staff in these areas to ensure that we can meet your needs and can communicate to you on these areas of Union support and activity. We will also look at the structure of our comms and marketing team so that we can listen and respond to you in a way that suits.


Almost one in four of you felt that improved communications was a key priority, and that many of you (44%) felt that you didn’t know what we we’re doing.

I LOV E IT W HEN YOU CALL BUT YOU NE V ER CALL AT ALL... Students have said they like to hear about what we’re doing more frequently than just during Freshers’ Week. At the beginning of term there is an overload of info so it’s hard to remember everything

IT’S T IME WE LIST ENED, SO...

We will make sure that, as well as events and activity specific info, we will write to you more regularly about what we are doing and how you can get involved.

We will completely restructure the way we communicate to you, so that fewer of you see this as an area of weakness at the next student survey 5% fewer of you will see this as an area that needs improving.

T HOSE W HO ALREADY V ISIT T HE SU

We will provide feedback forms to all of you that attend SU events or interact with our services, asking what you like and what can be improved, and also how you heard about us so we can check how effective our promos are. We will then look at what you say andtake action to improve or keep doing it just the way you like it!

T HOSE W HO LIKE TO GO ELSEW HERE T HOSE W HO ARE ELSEW HERE

We wtill think it is useful to keep you informed about what is going on at the Union.

We will run regular out-site visits and also write to you regularly about how we are representing you and the successess or challenges we are facing.

We will write to all students at least twice a term to let you know about what the Union does and any changes that have happened over the year.

Our officers work hard for you and it is important that you know what they are doing for you, so thatyou can tell us if you have other priorities, and also if we have helped drive change in your course, accommodation or working conditions

We will also produce general flyers about what the Union offers and how to get involved and send them out to you in January.


AT T HE UNI

Our sabbatical officers and senior staff sit on all of the University’s major decision-making committees. We will be putting forward informed and detailed student opinions throughout the committees we sit on to drive forward the changes you want to see.

WE’LL REPRESENT YOUR V IEWS TO T HE UNI, LOCALLY AND NAT IONALLY We believe there is strength in

numbers. We’ll keep listening to you and will work with other Unions, the NUS and others in the charity sector to deliver effective campaigns that deliver change

BUT WE W ILL KEEP ASKING YOU W HAT YOU T HINK. We will also ask you throughout the year via our student councils , focus groups, surveys and Annual General Meeting (AGM) what issues you have so we can develop our priorities accordingly.

You’ve asked us to be a powerful and unified voice for you, and that’s just what we’ll be!

We will be engaging with more of you at our democratic meetings and elections to ensure that your voice is heard

We will also make sure that we communicate these successful changes to you through your desired method of communication.

IN T HE LOCAL COMMUNIT Y

Beds SU will continue to work with other charities, local councils and community groups to ensure that you are represented outside of the University. We will ensure that we are a key negotiator when people in Bedfordshire and beyond want to know what students are thinking. We will also be seen as a powerful and professional voice that highlights the hard work and professionalism that you put into your studies.

NAT IONALLY

We will work with the NUS and other Unions to make sure that we are linked in to national campaigns and the the voice of Bedfordshire is heard. We will also continue to send democratically elected students to national conference and will fight for what is important to you. We will also ensure that we tell you about national campaigns and policies that will affect you and how you can get involved.


To be the vibrant and powerful voice of students; providing opportunities to enrich student life. The words of over 2000 students helped form the values, vision and mission of Beds SU and its strategy for the next 5 years.

Beds SU is here to listen to, and represent, the many voices of students at the University of Bedfordshire. We enrich students’ lives through opportunities to have fun, find help and advice, enhancing employability and campaign for change....

Don’t forget to check out our Strategic Plan 2012-17. Beds SU’s first ever long term plan informed by the views and opions of over 2000 University of Bedfordshire Students - Available now online and from your Students’ Union!

Contact Beds SU: Luton: Bedford: Beds SU Beds SU Campus Centre Polhil Avenue Luton Bedford LU1 3JU MK41 9EA Written by Jon Stanley Design by Matthew McCaffery


Beds SU Communication Plan 2012-17