The state of
THE UNION Annual Report 2009
The Exec 2009/10
to the Students’ Union Annual Report 2009!
The University of Nottingham Students’ Union is one of the biggest and most active in the country and every student at the University is automatically a member. Anyone who’s ever joined a society, bought a newspaper from one of our shops or enjoyed a drink in one of our bars has made use of at least some of the things we have to offer, but there’s much more going on behind the scenes than most of our members ever realise. This is our chance to let everyone know about what we’ve been up to over the past year and to celebrate all the hard work that our Officers, staff, volunteers and members have put in.
We’re proud of everything that we’ve achieved, but we’re not going to sit back and relax just yet. There are always improvements to be made so we’ll be getting out there, finding out what students want from us and doing our very best to make the next 12 months even better. Rob Greenhalgh President University of Nottingham Students’ Union 2009/10
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• The Students’ Union will become a company limited by guarantee • Overall management, finances and strategy will be determined by a Trustee Board • Four Sabbatical Trustees will be joined by four External Trustees • The company form will provide some protection from personal liability for the Trustees in their running of the Students’ Union • As a registered charity, the Students’ Union will be regulated by the Charity Commission.
The number of Executive Officers has been reduced from 13 to 9 to provide clearer decision making and effective support for student groups. Some Officer roles were combined, resulting in three new job titles: • Activities Officer • Accommodation & Community Officer • Equal Opportunities & Welfare Officer.
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We’re undergoing changes in preparation for registering as a charity under the 2006 Charities Act. The following changes have been approved by Union Council:
Representation We got just under 1,000 students to register to vote by giving out free chocolate. We made sure that the University registered all students who live in halls too.
We organised a ballot box on campus and 889 students used it to vote in the European elections. This was the highest number of votes at any ballot box in Nottingham and it was also a huge increase on the votes cast in previous years.
A Community Network has been set up to run events and to make sure that the areas where our members live have a strong community spirit.
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The Students’ Union ran talks in several of the University halls to teach students how to house hunt. We gave out 7,000 coasters with our top six house hunting tips to spread the message as far as possible. We’ve been involved with a number of activities to improve where students live and build relationships with the local community, including: • Campaigning against the closure of the Lenton Boulevard Post Office • Planting daffodils with Edna G Olds Primary School • Cleaning the banks of Abbey Bridge • Tidying Dunkirk and Lenton with a community litter pick • Giving out hundreds of lollipops to encourage students to respect their neighbours and keep the noise down on their way home from a night out.
Course Reps • A total of 110 Course Reps were trained in October 2008 - a two-fold improvement on the previous year. However, 119 missed out so a great deal of work went into building relationships with Schools to ensure this did not become a year-on-year problem and in 2009 only one School failed to provide Course Rep details. • An accreditation scheme was developed for Course Reps offering them the opportunity to receive a certificate at Bronze, Silver or Gold level. • Due to the large numbers,
face-to-face Course Rep training was a logistical
Our NAMAs (Nursing & Midwifery Associations) have continued to develop during the past year providing activities and support for Nursing and Midwifery students based across the University’s eight regional Healthcare Education Centres. One notable achievement was the establishment of the first ever NAMA Committee at the Boston Centre in Lincolnshire. This, combined with the revival of the NAMA Committees at Lincoln and Derby, means that for the first time we have active NAMA groups covering Nursing and Midwifery students across all regional sites.
nightmare. To make it more workable the system has been changed so that only new Course Reps need to attend face-to-face training. All returning Reps will now undertake a module hosted on WebCT, complete a quiz and submit a feedback form.
• Course Reps now receive a monthly e-newsletter to keep them updated on higher education and Students’ Union news and to let them know about the tasks they need to undertake on behalf of the Education Network.
We’ve provided vital information and support to university staff developing two new University of Nottingham courses based at Derby. Students in the first intake of the new Graduate Entry Nursing programme and Healthcare Sciences have now been inducted.
A huge nine metre Students’ Union display board was installed in the B-Floor Café area of the Medical School at QMC. The eye-catching display will be used to display information from the Students’ Union and the Healthcare Associations.
We put on the biggest ever PGSA (Postgraduate Students’ Association) Welcome Programme and 25 PGSA Welcome Reps helped to run the activities. We got great feedback from student parents who were pleased with the familyfriendly activities on offer.
The Disability Action Network has struggled to maintain itself over the last few years, resulting in no nominations for the Disabled Students’ Officer post in the most recent elections. To rectify this, we have developed a strong plan for the future of the Network and we’ll be holding a Disabled Students’ Officer by-election soon to get a brand new Network off the ground. We’re making huge progress in the way we approach equality and diversity. Most of the focus over the last year has been on race and gender, with very active networks running strong campaigns and lobbying for change in the University’s and the Union’s attitudes. We plan to put the focus on the interfaith agenda and age discrimination over the coming year.
This was the first full year that the JCRs were part of the Students’ Union. JCR Committee members were elected for each of the 18 halls from over 250 candidates. Committees now have the support of the Students’ Union and receive training to ensure a good level of service across the board. Responsibilities and activities include: • Representing residents • Managing budgets • Organising campaigns and fun events like balls.
SARC fell slightly overall compared to 2007/8 but the 2009 autumn term was the busiest ever. • Welfare Advisers have helped three groups of students to successfully apply for Rent Repayment Orders from their landlords. • The Education Adviser’s workload has continued to increase so we increased the available time from one full-time position to two part-time positions to meet the demand. • One of our Welfare Advisers is being trained to carry out UNIPOL accreditation inspections, helping to develop SARC’s knowledge of housing conditions and to build a closer relationship with UNIPOL.
Through the continuation of projects like Springboard - the BME Network’s widening participation scheme – we’re actively encouraging greater diversity in the student population.
The Sutton Bonington JCR recently became part of the Students’ Union and can benefit from the same training and budgeting advice as other JCRs. Over the next year we’ll be working towards fully integrating the Sutton Bonington Guild into the Students’ Union.
Student Advice & Representation Centre (SARC) • The number of enquiries at
Over the 2008/09 academic year the Students’ Union Executive Committee were held to account at seven Union Councils (plus two Extraordinary Union Councils) where students get the opportunity to grill the Executive on what they were up to. Last year this even included a couple of motions of censure against two different Officers.
We worked with the University to improve the National Student Survey results. This has meant a 23% improvement in the number university modules which use WebCT to support learning, a refurbishment and redesign of the main library, and problems with feedback being highlighted.
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In June 2009 we made our relationship with The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus Student Association and The University of Nottingham Ningbo China Students’ Union official! We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with their respective Presidents and agreed to provide ongoing support and advice to help make them stronger whilst ensuring they are autonomous organisations.
Opportunities The Summer Party has become a student-run service. The Summer Party Committee retains its student leadership but now benefits from the Students’ Union’s guidance and a new democratic structure that allows any student to get involved. The Student Volunteer Centre achieved the Investing in Volunteers (IIV) Award in April 2009. IIV is based on the four areas of volunteer management: planning for volunteer involvement; recruitment; selecting and matching volunteers; and support and retention.
We came 7th in BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sports) 2009 out of 142 universities. The University of Nottingham is the only university in the top 10 NOT to offer a sports degree.
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Five inactive societies were lapsed to free up resources for new societies and three fundraising groups are being moved to the Student Volunteer Centre in line with the new charity registration: ZambiAIDS, Marrow, Dreams of Africa. Inter-hall sporting competition, Superstars, was revived. A boy and girl from each hall competed in a series of sporting challenges culminating in the crowning of a male and female Superstar. With five rounds and eight events it was a real test of sporting prowess and a fun event for spectators too.
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2009 saw the addition of a new event in the societies’ calendar, Nottingham’s Got Talent, which was a huge success. A full audience turned out to support the 13 acts and recordings of the performances were placed on the national Uni’s Got Talent website where hundreds of people up and down the country could vote for their favourite act. Our very own Will Bushell (acoustic singer) won the competition overall and Musicality (the Students’ Union’s musical theatre society) made it through to the finals.
14 new societies were affiliated to the Students’ Union:
Opportunities The Students’ Union is working with the University to provide a month of sports for all – ‘Any-Body Month’. The following sports and activities will be on offer: Chair fit Judo Gym induction Swimming Wheelchair rugby Boccia Blind football Wheelchair tennis Wheelchair Sitting volleyball basketball Archery
2009 saw the first ever Tri-Campus Games – a ‘mini Olympics’ between the Malaysian, Chinese and UK campuses – hosted at University Park. Next year we‘ll be taking 60 athletes over to Malaysia to compete so there’s even more incentive to get involved with sport in the Students’ Union. The Games will next come back to the UK in 2012 – perfect timing!
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We came out as Varsity champions for 2009 after playing 13 matches in 9 different sports against Nottingham Trent University.
A huge number of talented sportspeople are active members of the Students’ Union. The following students all compete at the highest level by
representing their country: Ben Arnold
GB Seniors 2 Caps
British Championships: 5th
GB U23 Team
BUSA Sprint Champion
British National U19 Championships: 3rd
Notable Karnival successes include: • The largest ever Karnival ‘Jail Break’ which saw teams reaching as far as Asia • A 1,000 student-strong trip to Newquay for ‘Summer Break’ raised £10,000 • Expeditions to Everest Base Camp and the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro raised over £640,000 for Childreach International.
URN, the Students’ Union’s radio
Sounds on the Downs, our annual
green fields festival, attracted over 1,000 people for the second year in a row. There was music powered by a solar panel truck, a free shop, delicious vegetarian and vegan food and a creative area where recycled materials were used to create fantastic hats for a mad hatter’s party.
Freshers ’F I loved th air 2009 e fact th at everyth ing was togethe r in I didn’t fe one place. el press ured to join a nything and it w as w organise ell d.
station, won eight awards at the Student Radio Awards 2008, including a Gold in the ‘Station of the Year’ category. Other awards on the night were: ‘Best Entertainment Programme’ (Gold), ‘Best Specialist Programming’ (Bronze), ‘Best Technical Achievement’ (Gold), ‘Best Journalistic Programming’ (Gold AND Silver), ‘Best Live Event/Outside Broadcast’ (Gold AND Silver).
2008/9 has been one of the most successful years in the history of the New Theatre: • 22 profitable shows • Over 5,000 tickets sold • Major renovation work undertaken • Member satisfaction at an all time high • Eight New Theatre members were selected to take part in the National Student Drama Festival Ensemble last year • a week of workshops for ‚the most talented students from across the UK‘.
Student fundraising group, Karnival, raised £753,360 for charity during 2008. The aim is to hit the £1,000,000 mark in 2009.
Whilst there were some teething problems with the new membership system last year, it has helped us to gather some useful information, including: • In 2008/09, societies membership was 9,036 • Athletic Union club membership was 4,163 • Numbers are 33% higher this year • Postgraduates make up only 9% of sports clubs and societies memberships despite making up almost a quarter of the student population. This needs to be investigated • We need to work with the University to get our Nursing and Midwifery students on the same system as the rest of the members. To meet high demand the Print Shop has updated its equipment to bring students speedier printing that’s still the same high quality.
We were awarded a Bronze in the Sound Impact Awards (an environmental awards scheme for Students’ Unions) - a great achievement considering this is only our second year on the scheme.
• Responses to the Week
One Experience survey enabled us to
argue for keeping the student feel to Freshers’ Address. • The annual Student Satisfaction Survey showed that 71% of students feel that the Students’ Union has had a positive impact on their time at Nottingham University - a figure we want to improve on. It also told us that nearly 90% of students use the shops run by the Students’ Union. Over 80% of those who use our services are satisfied with them, especially Mooch, the Student Advice & Representation Centre, the Student Volunteer Centre and the Reception/Box Office. • We carried out a survey into the needs of students who are parents and carers, enabling the Womens’ and Postgraduate Officers to address issues with the University. • We asked Course Reps and student staff about their experiences during the year. Their responses will help us to improve the way we work with students in the future.
Students’ Union shops facts and figures: • The best-selling newspaper was The Guardian with 29,640 copies sold. If you stacked them on top of one another they would be two and a half times the height of the Aspire sculpture at Jubilee campus • The biggest selling confectionary item was one of the smallest – Wrigley’s Extra Peppermint chewing gum with 18,967 packets sold. The second-favourite flavour was spearmint • Students’s favourite chocolate treat is the Cadbury’s Crème Egg. 7,037 were sold and it’s not even available throughout the whole year!
After a lot of hard work, a new-look website was unveiled in 2009.
Here’s what we’ve changed: • A substantial rebuild with new bars, staging, seating, lighting and a pizza outlet • New management, including an
expert member of staff with a track record of running highly successful venues and pleasing crowds in some of the country’s most prestigious clubs • New entertainment in association with
up and coming national promoters (as well as improved versions of some of the old favourite nights) • Better assistance for student groups
wanting to host events.
Mooch is now established as a
relaxed, homely place for students to come for a drink or a bite to eat. Coffees have proved especially popular and feedback shows that the primary reason many students visit is for the good-value food.
New features include: • A more modern design • A new navigational structure making the website easier to explore • More Athletic Union clubs, societies and student-run services have signed up for the Students’ Union membership system (a crucial, under the surface part of the website), enabling them to make use of the free website domain and hosting services • A student-run projects section for the Student Volunteer Centre making it easier for students to get involved in volunteering.
The Students’ Union club, The Venue, wasn’t doing as well as we’d hoped so shortfalls were identified and the plans were taken back to the drawing board. This September saw a brand new start for the campus nightclub: The Den.
Finance In perspective...
• The bulk of the increase in the University Grant comes from the JCR Hall Fees which are now handled by the Students’ Union. This totalled £486,212 in 2009. • The Summer Party went from losing thousands in 2008 to making a surplus of £20,600 in 2009. This addition income will be reinvested straight back into the student experience. • Profits from the Students’ Union shops are up 61% for 2008-2009. The shops made more than enough to cover the costs of the Student Advice & Representation Centre, societies and student-run services combined. • The remaining surplus is invested in the reserve fund, generating investment income and allowing the Union some flexibility in future financial conditions.
This booklet is available in large print, Braille, tape, electronic and disk versions. Please contact the Communications Coordinator on 0115 846 8726.