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Welcome Francesca Chiedu

Michele Collie

I am delighted to present the 2012/2013 RGU:Union Impact Report on behalf of the Executive Board.

This past year 2012/13 has been highly successful with a significant growth in student participation and engagement within the Students’ Union. The introduction of our new Strategic Plan in 2012 has given myself, the officers and staff a clear focus in delivering our strategic themes in order to meet the needs of the student membership.

President (Communication & Democracy) 2012/13

This year has been incredibly unique and challenging for the Union because of our upcoming transition to the University’s Garthdee Campus, however we are proud of our achievements, and have created new opportunities to further enrich our students’ experience. This report highlights the activities and projects embarked by our team of elected full-time Sabbaticals and part-time officers, with the remarkable support and contribution of our staff members to further develop and enhance the student experience at RGU. Our members have played a huge role in the achievements of the Union this year. Earlier in the academic term our Annual General Meeting (AGM) was successfully held at the first attempt, with about 120 students in attendance. Votes were taken on policies and a new constitution, which will help to move the Students’ Union forward. It is the dedication and contribution of our membership that has shaped the future of the Union as we prepare for our move to Garthdee. We have experienced unprecedented changes and development in the Union in a number of areas, however we have turned our challenges into positive opportunities with a firm commitment to representing our members’ needs at all times. We have made a lot of progress and succeeded in delivering our vision, mission and values in line with our Strategic Plan, and I am optimistic that the incoming Executive Board will build on the successes of this year as we move to the heart of the campus. On behalf of this year’s Exec team I would like to thank students at RGU for giving us the privilege to represent them. To our staff, volunteers and members of the University community who have helped us through the year we do appreciate your unwavering support. It has been a privilege working with you.

General Manager

We have recently achieved accreditation from Investing In Volunteers for the second consecutive time, as well as being awarded gold standard at the annual Best Bar None Awards, and silver in the Green Impact Awards. Following our elections in March we introduced a new training programme for our newly elected officers. The training, which was previously held in July, was brought forward to May. This has given the officers an opportunity to work alongside the staff to prepare a forward plan with timelines which meets the strategic direction for their coming year in office. There have been many exciting new changes and developments this year in the Students’ Union, one of which is the decision for our RAG (Raising & Giving) society to become a fundraising arm of the Student Association. This has had a positive impact on the fundraising activities and seen a significant increase in the money raised for charities, and for the first time our RAG members have embarked on an international fundraising event. Our annual Student Achievement Awards Ball was held in March at the Douglas Hotel. On the night 56 awards were presented to our society members, volunteers, Student Ambassadors & Class Representatives, along with a new award for our elected officers and internal volunteers. These awards are presented to recognise their commitment and to celebrate their achievements. Year on year I feel really proud of our students and value the fantastic contribution made by them all. We have recently ended our year with the annual Graduation Ball, which this year was held at the Beach Ballroom. Due to demand in previous years, we extended the event and held 2 nights of celebrations. During 2012 & 2013 the Officers & Staff at the Union have been working on the transition plan to the Garthdee Campus. The introduction of new staff to the team has brought added value to the overall business and gives me the time & opportunity to support the officers with their many projects. This transition opens up new exciting opportunities for elected officers & staff and will increase student participation & engagement.



2012/13 at RGU:Union 2: Welcome 3: Our Team 2012/13 4: 7: 8:

Effectively Representing Our Students Supporting Our Students Student Elections

10: Volunteering 12: Raising And Giving 13: Climb Kili For Kids 14: Campaigns & Events 17: Green Initiatives 18: Societies 20: 21: 22: 23:

Sport & Physical Activity Financial Summery Commercial Services Student Media Group

Francesca Chiedu

Callum Martin

Melissa Hutcheon

Morgan Tunney

Paul Greene

Rach Sanders

President (Communication & Democracy)

VP (Societies)

President (Education & Welfare)

VP (Environmental & Ethics)

President (Sport & Physical Activity)

RAG Chair

Steve Mills

Michele Collie

Iain Donaldson

Teo Benea

Debbie Booth

Hugh Coleman

VP (Equality & Diversity)

Advice & Administration Co-ordinator

General Manager


Commercial Services Manager

Finance Officer

Our Team 2012/13 Daniel Bassey

Ruth Otiotio

Deena Tissera

*Aug 12 - Dec 12

*Aug 12 - Jan 13

* Feb 13 - Jul 13

VP (Academic)

Gregor Mailer

Graphic Designer & Marketing Co-ordinator

VP (International)

Lydia Fyall

Student Development & Volunteering Co-ordinator

VP (International)

Audrey Bainbridge Advice & Administration Co-ordinator

Effectively Representing Our Students This year we have supported many of our members on various academic committees throughout the University, and have had the opportunity to present student views on council. We have also seen an increase in international student complaints that have been dealt with; including issues relating to academic misconduct appeal panels, extension of coursework deadline to module delivery issues. The Union also works closely with the University’s Student Services department, notably the Student Help Point team in the induction of Student Ambassadors and volunteers. Our officers are also available during Freshers Week induction talks to inform new members about the different services that we offer.

Student Faculty Officers The Union introduced the new Student Faculty Officer (SFO) position during the 2010/11 session to represent the students of each faculty, and to work together with both the Faculty Deans and the Union. SFO’s sit on University committees, and also on Union committees (which report to the Executive Board) and although the position is voluntary, our SFO’s receive an honorarium paid by Faculties for their time and effort. Appointment of SFOs during Session 2012/13 proved challenging; Faculty of Design and Technology made one appointment who was in post throughout the session. Aberdeen Business School appointed two postgraduate students in Semester 1 and due to their period of study also re-appointed three in Semester 2. Faculty of Health and Social Care made two appointments in Semester 2.

Annual General Meeting 2013 The AGM is our flagship meeting, open to all students at the University to come and speak to the Union about our work, policies, governance (committee/board membership) and also to review the annual accounts. The Union represents the student voice to the University, and the AGM allows students to influence how we work for and represent them on various levels. This year’s AGM took place in late November, and was held for the first time in the Aberdeen Business School Atrium on the Garthdee Campus. Around 120 students attended, and voted on a new constitution as well as motions to retain a Union city centre presence, in line with the transition to Garthdee.

A new Students’ Association Constitution was approved by members at our AGM in November.

Notwithstanding the challenges, SFOs have been involved in a variety of activities including membership of committees, working groups and review panels. In particular a student-led item at the recent Faculty of Design and Technology FQESC, on the use of technology to deliver/support delivery of courses, was considered a good example of effective student engagement in enhancement. It is anticipated that this approach will be adopted by other faculties during 2013/14. As part of the response to the ELIR process the University has liaised with RGU:Union in further developing the SFO role. A key activity has been the development of a revised role descriptor and timeline, and there have been meetings between the University, RGU:Union and SPARQs in this respect. The role of the SFO was also been augmented to include the opportunity to become a Institutional Associate Trainer and following appropriate support SFOs delivered Student Rep Training sessions during Semester 1.

Effectively Representing Our Students

Student Reps at RGU


2011/12 Total



152 146 Student Reps



Student Reps

2012/13 Total


2012 2013

137 136 Student Reps

114 118



Student Reps

Student Reps

Student Reps

44 41










32 30 30

29 27

26 20

21 18



4 1 2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013

2012 2013














Aberdeen Business School A: Accounting & Finance B: Communication, Marketing and Media C: Information Management D: Law E: Management

Faculty of Health and Social Care F: G: H: I:

Applied Social Studies Health Sciences Nursing & Midwifery Pharmacy and Life Sciences

Student Representative Feedback

93% Were able to make themselves available to classmates to gather opinions.

97% Were comfortable contacting staff in their role.

86% Were able to provide relevant feedback to classmates following meetings.

Faculty of Design and Technology J: Computing K: Engineering L: Gray’s School of Art M: Scott Sutherland School

A short survey is issued biennially to gather details of Student Representatives’ experiences in the role.

67% Found resources available as a student rep, were appropriate for needs.

71% Were able to make a worthwhile contribution to the student experience within their School.

78% Would recommend the student rep role to fellow students.

Effectively Representing Our Students

Peer-led Training The Institutional Associate Trainer (IAT) scheme was successfully adopted during the session. This involved the training of two SFOs and the President (Education and Welfare) by SPARQs as trainers specifically for RGU. As in previous sessions the materials delivered were contextualised to the university. The use of RGU students to deliver training to new reps allowed more sessions to be held on a wider variety of dates/times to best suit the target population.

190 32% 99% 86%

Students attended Had attended a training session before

Felt able to participate

Recognition Student Contribution and Involvement Awards All students are eligible to apply for the Student Contribution and Involvement Awards scheme. Twelve awards were granted, and the Panel was pleased to note the contributions which the students had made in helping to improve the student learning experience. Across the range of portfolio submissions there was evidence of involvement in: · · · · · · ·

A wide range of activity at course/School level, and the development of effective staff/ student liaison relationships. University’s quality processes (e.g. ILSR, validation events). Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies affiliated with courses. Promotional activities to the benefit of the university (e.g. Open Days, selection visits, Student Ambassador duties). Activities to encourage cohort integration. Peer teaching and/or support; for the benefit of classmates. Societies and clubs of RGU:Union.

Award Winners 2013 Sophie Barringer Gergana Georgieva Hayley Barron Beverley Brown Gavin Downes Yulia Malkina Antoinette McNeill Steven Mills Lindsey Thompson Naa Komey Natasha MacDonald

Master of Pharmacy Master of Pharmacy B Nursing (Adult Nursing) B Nursing (Adult Nursing) BA (Hons) Social Work BA (Hons) Communication with Public Relations BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography BA (Hons) Law and Management BSc (Hons) Computer Science MSc International Business Postgraduate Diploma Professional Legal Practice

Considered the training “Useful” or “Very Useful”

I felt like I was contributing to the quality of my class and University. I felt positive when bringing up an issue that others experienced too, and when it was taken forward.

Student Representative

71 NSS 2012 Students’ Union satisfaction score

67% NSS 2012 response rate

Supporting Our Students More than

450 Academic misconducts In the past year a reduction in the number of academic appeals has been registered. This is, we believe, due to the fact that students are better informed of the connection with procedures and regulations that apply to academic misconducts. The Turnitin System has also proved to be a very efficient tool giving the students the opportunity to check their work before submission.

students at RGU have received help and support from the Union’s advice department in the last 9 months.

The Library also provides regular sessions on referencing and with on-line information and presentations made available this has made a positive impact on the reduction of the students’ numbers. More and more students now seem to feel more comfortable and confident when submitting their work as they are more aware of the help and the facilities that are available to them.

Non-academic misconducts Several students with alleged charges of non- academic misconducts have requested our help. We found that these cases took a longer time to be resolved and caused students much distress. However, the number of non academic misconducts has not increased in the past year.


taking place in the Student Advice Department Teo Benea has been appointed as a Student Advice and Administration Co-ordinator to work closely with Audrey Bainbridge to develop and improve the Advice Department at the Union. Audrey and Teo are currently working closely with colleagues from the other Student Services Departments to create a range of new promotional materials that will inform students about the help and support provided by both the Union and the University. These materials will also contain useful contact details from each department, and will be available online and also in hard copies across the campus and within all schools for consultation.

Looking ahead:

Move to Garthdee With the Union’s upcoming move to Garthdee this September, the Student Advice Department will have a more valuable presence at the Garthdee Campus. Being located in a central area of the campus will help raise awareness of the services that are offered and will allow departmental staff to encourage students to come and speak to the Union if the encounter any difficulties during their time at University. As we work closely with the other departments we will be able to point students in the right direction.

Student Elections Our 2013 Student Elections will go down as one of the most hotly contested in recent memory. A total of 24 candidates were nominated for 11 different positions within both the Union and the University (the Union hosts the University’s Student Governor Elections in March, alongside our Exec Elections). After much work, this year saw us introduce a new, robust set of elections regulations, as we worked closely with representatives from the National Union of Students to ensure that we provide our candidates, and entire membership, with a safe and credible election process. The final turnout number fell short of 2012’s record total of 1920, however we recorded the largest number of contested positions on record, as well as the largest number of candidates on record for our three Sabbatical positions; President (Communication & Democracy), President (Education & Welfare) and President (Sport & Physical Activity)

Individual manifesto videos were produced by the Union for each candidate for the first time this year. The number of candidates competing for Sabbatical roles in 2013 is the highest on record.



student elections

2013 5th-8th march

Number of contested roles







5 3




Number of candidates for full-time Sabbatical roles.













A total of 5 candidates competed for 2 University Governor roles (Undergraduate and Postgraduate). These positions are also contested during the Union’s Student Elections in March. 2013

Number of candidates for part-time Officer & VP roles.




9 5








Student Elections


Total number of candidates running in the 2013 Elections


Student Election Voter Turnout 1616 1335

The highest number of votes gathered by one single candidate in the first round of voting

1920 1505

New ReRcGU ord !











An excellent support structure was in place for candidates and there was a good balanced relationship between staff and candidates. Candidate running in 2013 Election


Collaborative Community Projects

One-off Events A number of one-off volunteering and fundraising events have taken place throughout this academic year.

In collaboration with RGU:RAG, a number of community volunteering projects were launched during the 2nd semester. In February a group of students joined up with Aberdeen Cyrenians, a local homelessness charity, to make food parcels which could then be distributed to those in need. A joint project took place between RAG, RGU departments, and the RedFrogs Support Network, to help rejuvenate the at Ruthrieston Community Centre near Garthdee.

These included annual fundraising events such as the Wildhearts Santa Fun Run (pictured above, the Research Student Association taking part) and the Aberdeen Student Charities Torcher Parade. A number of the Union’s societies and volunteers turn out for these events each year, and help to raise money for worthwhile causes.

A number of further projects will be planned in and around Garthdee to help with the integration of our students to the area.

8 224 days = = 32 =


5370 hours


Total time spent volunteering by students registered with the Union’s volunteering department in 2012/13

ACVO have a great relationship and partnership with the RGU Student Association and Volunteering. Students at RGU are making an excellent and vital contribution volunteering. At the same time volunteering positively assists in students learning, CV, personal and professional development. The positive partnership we share with the RGU Student Association and Volunteering and the great commitment and support RGU give to volunteering ensures that students are provided with high quality support and opportunities to volunteer and make a real difference that is appreciated by all.

Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations

Rewarding the work of our volunteers Investing in Volunteering In 2010 the Union’s Volunteering Department overhauled all of its policies and procedures to a standard which was accredited by Investing In Volunteers by ensuring our volunteers had a high level of training and support throughout their time with the Union.

10 Hours Tolulope Awoniyi Elaine D’Silva Shumaila Goheer Jacob Mosugu Kasarachi Ordor Utoware Okpokpor Jude Onyechi Mariam Fashola Suzzy Aigbogun Obinna Ume Princess Sekyere Shaninomi Eribo Daniel Bassey Okechukwu Ndu Kisitmwa Bawun Onyinye Chukwu Youssef Azeez

10 Hours Adaora Achebe Temitope Sigbeku Monubo Dabere Reza Sanaee Carmen Torre Do Vale Damilola Oyinlola 25 Hours Oluwadamilola Osude Mafeng Got Charles Onyekweli Isaac Sadiq Onare Olubunmi Ijeoma Oji 50 Hours Yulia Malkina Andreea Oniga

100 Hours Gavin Downes 200 Hours Rodney Legdon 300 Hours Mairi Bonnar 500 Hours Morgan Tunney 600 Hours Steven Mills 700 Hours Rachel Sanders


In 2013 we were reassessed and were successfully reaccredited in July. It is important to the department that our volunteers are fully supported to this standard.




There are around 800 students registered as volunteers with the Union

Over 100 volunteers make up our Freshers Team each September

The highest number of hours recorded by one volunteer in 2012/13

Raising And Giving RGU:RAG is the fundraising arm of the Union. They organise a number of charitable events throughout the year, with all the proceeds going to local, national and international charities. RAG is an entirely student-led group, supported by an elected RAG Chair and in-house elected committee. These core committee members assist in the organising of the overall running and support for the fundraising efforts of students and staff throughout the academic year.



RGU:RAG has been established at RGU since 2003. Originally starting as a society, the group has continued to develop over the last ten years, and 2012/13 saw the expansion to becoming a fully fledged arm of the Students Union, and open to all members of the student body. This allows for a greater awareness but also increased involvement in our activities and volunteering opportunities.

R Breecord a Totaking l!

Won ‘Recruiters of the Year 2012’ award at the Childreach International Winter Awards Ceremony. Recruited 129 people to the Anthony Nolan bone Marrow register with Aberdeen Marrow. Won the ‘Award of Continued Excellence’ for the 3rd time at the RGU Student Achievement Awards Ball Raised over £58,000 for Childreach International through the ‘Climb Kili For Kids’ challenge event.

17 This charity fundraising total of £62,366 has been split between 17 different charities throughout the course of the year.

21 21 students from Robert Gordon University took part in the ‘Climb Kili For Kids’ RAG challenge event in June 2013

10 This year the Raising And Giving group celebrated its 10th birthday with an awards event held at the Rox Hotel

Marie Curie Cancer Care was delighted to be one of the nominated charities in 2011 and when we approached RGU:RAG this year to help with our Great Daffodil Appeal they were eager to help us. Our work could not be achieved without the help of volunteers and the sum of £739.06 raised over the last two years has enabled us to provide an additional 37 hours of nursing care to terminally ill patients in the North East of Scotland. Marie Curie Cancer Care


£8,317 RAG Charity Fundraising Totals

Raising And Giving

RAG Challenge Event:

Climb Kili For Kids This summer, 21 RGU students set off to Tanzania to climb mount Kilimanjaro, the largest mountain in Africa and the world’s largest free standing mountain at a towering 19,341ft above sea level. The challenge was in aid of Childreach International; a global charity who works with local communities in the developing world to help improve children’s access to healthcare, education, and child rights and protection in 6 developing countries around the world. Prior to the climb, RGU students managed to raise over £58,000 through a number of fundraisers such as quiz nights, bag packs and other sponsored events. RGU:RAG was also named by Childreach as ‘Recruiter of the Year’ making it the largest University group climbing for the charity. The fruits of the fundraising was also shown when the team visited a Childreach supported school and met the local children in the Moshi region of Tanzania prior to the ascent up the mountain. The climb, which led students from the Machame Gate towards the Uhuru Peak, was a gruelling four days ascent and two days down of long trekking. Following an incredible test of students mental and physical endurance, 18 of the 21 travelling students managed to reach the Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa, at dawn on June 24th. This life changing achievement had a huge impact on the personal development of each student but also on supporting children in the developing world and RGU:RAG look forward to offering more of these opportunities to RGU students in future.

Campaigns & Events

‘Say No To First’ Campaign This campaign was launched to protest against unreasonable ticket prices set by First Aberdeen, the city’s primary public transport operator. Despite continued dialogue between the operator and student representatives, prices (especially student fares) had seen drastic increases, over very short periouds of time. The campaign, which was spearheaded by Union Exec Board members, also gained significant student support from Aberdeen University and Aberdeen College. Within days, over 2,000 students and non-students had pubicly backed the campaign through various social media channels, and a student forum was created to discuss action plans. A protest was held outside FirstGroup World Headquarters in Aberdeen, which was picked up by various media outlets, and was made a discussion topic by MSPs at the Scottish Parliament at Hollyrood. Talks are ongoing between RGU student representatives and First Aberdeen, who have now introduced a new reduced multi-trip student ticket.

Peace One Day

Sexual Health Awareness & Guidance Week As part of our ongoing Sexual Health campaign, SHAG week was created to provide advice and guidance to students through a series of events and promotional initiatives. The Union bars and selected city centre venues hosted a number of events, such as speed dating events, Rainbow Rave, SHAG Tag and SHAG Fest. While some of these may contain provocative titles, they succeeded in catching the eyes of our students, and provided us with an outlet to promote sexual health in a fun, relatable, and light-hearted way. Over 6,000 condoms were distributed to RGU students, and a number of RGU:Union branded SHAG Packs were created, containing sexual health materials and information.

An event organised by our Vice President (Equality and Diversity), Peace One Day took place during September 2012 in the grounds of the Robert Gordon College as part of the GET SAVI (Students Against Violence Initiative) campaign. Guest speakers, including those that have been victims of abusive relationships, were invited to share their stories, before a candle-lit vigil was held by all attending.

Campaigns & Events

One RGU, Many Nations Carnival The One RGU, Many Nations Carnival, the first of its kind at RGU, was organised jointly by the Union and the International Aberdeen Welcome to promote the wide variety of cultures and nationalities exhibited in the university and the city. The carnival was completely student-led, with Event Management students taking the lead, and saw several events throughout the day showcasing the various nationalities and cultures in the RGU community. Students of Robert Gordon University put up a spectacular show in the Atrium of the Faculty of Health and Social Care; displaying their culture though singing, dancing, performing as well as a parade and fashion show.

Mental Health Awareness Marked as a priority campaign for our Vice President (Equality & Diversity), Mental Health Awareness projects took many different forms throughout this academic session. The ‘Think Positive’ campaign was set up to promote healthy wellbeing and to help break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues, reinforcing to students that they can step forward and talk to somebody if they feel they are suffering. This is a nation-wide initiative with backing from NUS. ‘Healthy Body Healthy Mind’ is a campaign set to encourage good mental health through physical activity, where as the ‘See Me’ project is focused on prevention and intervention of students considering suicide. The Union also has representatives on the newly-formed Mental Health Agreement Board, which has been created to review the University’s Mental Health Policy and to form a Mental Health Partnership between the University and students.

Equality&Diversity This year has seen us achieve great things under the ‘Equality & Diversity’ banner, which resulted in the Union being shortlisted for an Equality and Diversity Award at the 2012 NUS Awards.

Equal Opportunities guidelines, but that University policies are revised; and that enrolment is improved to ensure students know of the services and societies we provide to them.

The main aim of our Vice President of Equality & Diversity is “to promote a University experience that is free from discrimination, and to create an environment that is diverse, liberated and celebrated”.

A series of events and campaigns were initiated this year to help raise awareness of minority groups at RGU and to celebrate our different cultures and communities, and there is now an established connection with the University through the Equality Calendar Project to work as a partnership to recognise and hold awareness weeks for all the Equality strands.

The Union, University and our VP (Equality & Diversity) work closely together to ensure that not only do we comply with the Equality Act 2010 and

International Conference on Entrepreneurship & Leadership The first ever Pan-African Student Conference on Entrepreneurship and Leadership took place in late May, in partnership with Aberdeen Business School and Dana Petroleum. The theme of this conference was “The New frontier of Sustainable Development: The role of the African Youth”. The conference brought together over 150 African students studying in Universities and Colleges across the UK, who are passionate about development in Africa by creating a platform to collaborate and share ideas with policy makers, business leaders and other stakeholder to create awareness with a view to enhance entrepreneurial development and inspire a new generation of African leaders.

Postgraduate Employability Symposium The second annual Postgraduate Employability Symposium took place in February 2013 in partnership with the University’s Careers and Employability Centre. The event aims to help postgraduates reflect on their career while studying at RGU and to better equip them for the reality in the world of work upon graduation. A career fair also took place, which offered students the opportunity to meet and chat to potential recruiters.

Campaigns & Events

I Love My Lecturer Awards This year we celebrated the fourth annual I Love My Lecturer Awards. This campaign exists to reward exceptional teaching and support staff at RGU by accepting nominations and stories of inspiration from the student body.

Graduation Ball 2013

Over 150 nominations were received this year, for a total of 63 different members of staff. An award ceremony was held in the Union building for all nominees in July, with certificates and physical awards being presented.

The end-of-year Graduation Ball is a tradition that cannot be overlooked! In previous years the event has been held in a grand marquee set in the University’s Schoolhill Quad, however demand for tickets has been such in recent times that a larger venue was decided upon, with the event taking place this year at The Beach Ballroom, and a second night added in order to help us allow as many students as possible to experience a Graduation Ball. Both Thursday and Friday night events were a great success, and we welcomed almost 700 students across both nights. Live music was provided by ceilidh band Iron Broo, while a ‘SillySnapz’ photo booth, funmoney blackjack and roulette tables, and professional photographer all added to the occasion.

The Grad Ball was a great way to end my final year. The venue was conveniently located, looked fantastic, and the entertainment was excellent.Clearly a lot of hard work had gone into organising the event. Grad Ball ‘13 attendee

Save The Union Campaign The Union’s flagship campaign of the 2012/13 academic session, Save RGU:Union was set up to protest against the University’s decision to close the Students’ Union city centre building. Union staff and officers had been allocated office spaces on the Garthdee Campus, however the University had no plans to replace the closing RGU:Union building, removing the Union’s city centre presence completely. The campaign, which was initiated by the Union’s Exec Board, gained an incredible amount of support through social media channels, resulting in a great deal of press coverage in both local and national publications, with STV, Evening Express, Press & Journal, and even The Guardian covering the story. Following pressure from students, including opinion polls and a petition which received support from RGU students past and present, members of University staff, plus students and staff from neighbouring institutes, the University has agreed to keep the Students’ Union building open through until May 2014.

Green Initiatives Strengthening links with student accommodation residents. For the 3rd year running the Students’ Union has worked with the University to support the Woolmanhill Energy Challenge, where all residents compete in an attempt to use the least amount of energy between semesters. This encourages energy efficiency awareness across the student population in the halls of residence

People & Planet Society People and Planet were formed because environmental and rights campaigners previously had no base at RGU. The society went on to win the ‘New Society of the Year’ award at the Student Achievements Awards Ball 2013 after a successful year of campaigning for environmental, human and workers’ rights. Society members found themselves in the local and national press after staging a ‘naked’ protest, which was to raise awareness of a week of action against sweatshops. The society were also successful in encouraging the University to support ethical suppliers, who support human rights. RGU People and Planet are now part of a global network of environmental and rights campaigners fighting to make positive change globally. RGU People and Planet and other environmental campaigners along with University’s around the UK took part in the campaign to encourage Adidas to pay the PT Kizone factory workers in Indonesia, who were making apparel for big businesses Adidas and Nike. After their factory was shut down abruptly, nearly half a years wages were left unpaid to workers who were left destitute amounting to $3.3 million in legally owned severance pay. RGU People and Planet with students around the UK encouraged students and the public to sign petitions and write to Adidas to pay the money owed to their workers. Following the co-ordinated global campaign, which attracted high profile pressure, the money was eventually paid out to the employees and their families and RGU People and Planet are proud to have taken part in the campaign. People and Planet and environmental campaigners took part in an awareness raising scheme to highlight sustainability on campus. They encouraged students to pledge to cut around 3,000 KGs of carbon emissions from their day to day activities. The Students’ Union now also offers more fair trade products from their commercial outlets.

Future Projects A number of initiatives, campaigns and projects have been lined up for the 2013/14 session already. Around 20 bicycles have been kindly donated to the Union by Grampian Police. This donation will allow us to introduce a Cycle Hire scheme at the University, which will give students the opportunity to rent a bike for no charge. A small patch of land has also been secured in close proximity to the University’s Garthdee Campus. With this we plan to open up small allotment spaces to the student body, allowing fresh fruit, vegetables, and other produce to be grown.


of all waste in the Union’s commercial outlets was recycled in 2012/13

The Union once again achieved silver standard in the Green Impact Universities & Colleges environmental accreditation scheme

Societies 30 There are currently around 30 student societies registered with the Union

Society of the Year: Electronic Gaming This has been a stand-out year for our Electronic Gaming Society. The group achieved accreditation by ‘RBS ESSA’ (Enterprising Student Society Accreditation), a national scheme that rewards and recognises societies’ achievements, and gives the chance to win sponsorship and prizes for innovative events.

1000 Collectively, over 1000 students are currently involved as society members at RGU

The Society has held a number of joint events with other groups this year, both within and outside of the University. Collaberations have been held with RGU:RAG, to run a successful Donation Drive in December. The joint work between both RAG and the Gaming Society was key to helping the idea become a success, directly benefiting the local community. The group also collaborated with RedFrogs Support Network on a gaming tournament, with the aim of helping to build community spirit within student halls and the greater student body. The collaboration allowed a prize fund greater than anything the Gaming Society could normally offer, and a tournament on a much larger scale than previously held, both of which helped to make the event the Gaming Society’s largest single tournament ever. The hard work put into each of its events this year, and the effort to work with others societies and groups in an attempt to raise money for charities, saw Electronic Gaming named Society of the Year at this year’s Student Achievement Awards Ball.

Christian Union

Over the past year the CU has set a focus on the vision: “to give every student on campus the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel.” This year has been one of change and fruitfulness within the Christian Union. An increase in core members has been noted, from about 15 to 25 in the last year, however there continues to be more students attending weekly. A number of CU committee members attended nationwide training weekends/weeks to further their

£560 The total raised by RGU Gaming Society’s 24hour gaming marathon for the Royal Hospital For Sick Children in Edinburgh

understanding of the Gospel for the basis of leading the society in the vision. The CU also held many successful events during Freshers Week and missions week. Freshers Week saw the introduction of ‘Text-A-Toastie’, where there were many meaningful discussions held regarding the Gospel. A ‘Free Burgers BBQ’ was held in Woolmanhill car park which proved to be popular, leading to the acknowledgement of the society and the Gospel.


Research Student Association The inclusion and consideration of mental and physical health have been introduced this year with peer support groups aimed at collaboration, dealing with stress and other areas of mental health and physical activities such as charity runs (December) and hiking events (April) allow a healthy consideration for over all well-being. The RSA has long had it’s 3 day retreat which is written in the 3 institutes guides which recognise the support and also development of research skills at this event. RSA plan to increase fundraising activities via organisation of events with the cooperation of RAG and other societies. Moreover, a showcase event is being organised (RSA is in the organising committee for this event), in order to help all research students get to know each other, present their work to the fellow researchers and gain some experience on how to make posters and/ or presentations in front of the scientific community. Research students from nearby universities will also be invited.

LGBT+ Society Having spent a number of years lying dormant, our LGBT+ restarted in 2011 and has achieved an unbelievable amount in an incredibly short space of time.

their work and raise their exposure amongst student groups at RGU.

The society aims mainly to provide a shared space for like-minded students to meet and socialise, however throughout this academic year the group has taken part in a number of campaigns and initiatives in order to promote wellbeing amongst its membership, and to all students at RGU. These were separated into three focus strands; Physical Health, Mental Health and Sexual Health.

Working closely with Gay Men’s Health (GMH), the society promoted sexual health amongst gay men, and have campaigned to fight the stigma surrounding gay sex and HIV.

Physical Health Working closely with Gramian Police, society executive members looked to help tackle hate crime in Aberdeen by reviewing ‘safe’ areas within the city, and identifying areas which needed more attention. The society also supported the GET SAVI (Students Against Violence Initiative) and the Broken Rainbow charity, which is set up to support domestic abuse victims in LGBT+.

Mental Health The society worked with the VOCScotlandLGBT+ charity throughout the year, helping to promote

Shooting Stars Drama Society Shooting Stars Drama Society, one of our newest extra-curricular student groups, presented its first production in April. Taking over the newly-opened Garage Nightclub, the drama group performed three nights of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to packed audiences, whilst also raising money for Future Choices, a charity benefiting disabled children.

Society of the Year

Award for Continued Excellence

Sexual Health

Society members took part in a number of different campaigns throughout the year also, including Equal Marriage, Out In Schools, and the Out In Sport campaign, which aims to show that sports clubs welcome members regardless of their sexuality.

It Gets Better It Gets Better is an international campaign with support from various high profile names around the world. The society recruited RGU students, alumni, lecturers and University senior management to take part in a video explaining their own personal experiences relating to understanding their sexuality and coming out. This video has reached well over 2,000 views on YouTube in the short time that it has been available.

New Society of the Year

Best Improved Society

Electronic Gaming


People & Planet

Research Student Assoc.

Student Leadership Award

Student Engagement Award

Student Voice Award

Society Person of the Year

Timothy Generation

Christian Union


George Lawie

Sport & Physical Activity This has been an impressive year for competitive sport at RGU. A number of teams have reached the finals of national competitions, and our Rowing Club once again won the all-important Aberdeen Universities Boat Race. Alongside the competitive achievements, RGU Sports Clubs continually work to raise awareness of mental health and well being. We were awarded a 4 star award by NUS Scotland and Scottish Student Sport at their recent end of year awards, and were also nominated for a creativity award. We are looking to achieve a 5* award during the 2013/14 session. We continue to work alongside the ‘See Me’ campaign and are committed to helping end the stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental health problems.


Gaelic Football (Ladies)

British University Championship winners

Gaelic Football (Ladies)

Scottish Championship winners

Football (Men’s)

Scottish Queens Park Shield finalists

Basketball (Men’s)

Scottish Student Sport Conference Cup finalists

Rowing Club

31 Current number of sports clubs at RGU

Aberdeen Universities Boat Race winners

900 Approx. number of registered members

Blues Award Winners 2012/13 Recognition Award Laura Cockburn Olive McCafferty Donnie McDonald Charlie Flint Michaela Gordon Robyn Reid Michael Groh Duncan McFarlane Dayni McConnell Rachel Joyce Nicola Vermeulen Gillian Paterson Paula Close Fraser Maxwell Holly Hutton Rachel Graham Fionnuala Quinn Niall Freeman William Sharkey Fraser Lawrence

Full Blue Award Mark Campbell Euan Dunbar Roxanna Milne Erinn Galligan Rona Plowman James Andrew Scott Hamish Munro Emer Kelly Jenny Flannery Jennifer Downey Karen Keane Ciara Newell

Half Blue Award Andrew Crammond Timothy Devine Ailsa Cairns James Brennan Patrick Fitzgerald Joseph Folan Calum Young Colin Dalgleish Ciara O’Keeffe

Presidents Performance Boat Race Crew

Fresher of the Year Lewis McCue, Rowing Sports Person of the Year Mark Campbell, Swimming Most Improved Club Volleyball

Best New Club


Team of the Year

Ladies Gaelic Football

Club of the Year

Swimming & Water Polo

Finance Summary Income Overall Income at £633K is just over the Budget by £3K. The main income sources, as shown in the chart below, are the University, Trading (the Bar, Shop, and Café after wages and stock purchases etc.), the Freshers Fayre, and Partnership income. Despite the tight financial times the overall trading performance, which include partnership and discount income, has met the targets set as a result of a lot of hard work by the staff. A one off grant injection of £75K has been provided by the University to help meet the challenges of the move to Garthdee, bringing the total support provided from the University grant to £423K. Most of the other areas of income are broadly matched by expenditure in the same areas. However the Fresher’s Fayre brings in £17K more than it costs, and this surplus helps fund the all the costs of the Union including support to Societies.

Expenditure Total expenditure this year is £637K which is £2K more than the budget, and this has been achieved by keeping costs under control. While the union bar an café remaining open until May has meant that some of the expected additional costs have not had to be met, they have been allowed for in the figures to ensure the funds are available for next year. There are a wide range of expenditure types throughout the business, a chart detailing these would be incredibly complex to understand, however, below are the three main areas of expense and the percentage of total costs they represent. Staff Costs 62.5% Gas, Electricity, Water 7.3% NUS Fees 3.2% Staff costs are £3K under budget and this saving has been used to provide additional training and support to Sabbaticals and Student Representatives.

Summary This has been a difficult year due to the pressures resulting from the general economic climate and the uncertainty relating to the future of the Union. Despite this the Union Trading section has continued to provide a significant contribution to the Union and other union activities have had increased funding made available.

£ £

£ £ £ £


Commercial Services Branded Goods The University has recently undergone a brand review, and in return has changed its corporate logo. This has had an impact on the Union’s stock of RGU branded goods, as new restrictions have been put in place regarding the use of certain variations of the logo or University crest.

Our Schoolhill commercial services are well positioned within the city centre, and as the city’s only Student’ Union, sees regular custom from not only those studying at RGU, but also Aberdeen University, Aberdeen College, and universities throughout the country.

In addition to these activities, we are a focal point for major calendar events throughout the year, including Freshers Week, Halloween, St Patrick’s Day, and our own annual Twelve Days Of Christmas promotional events. The current Union building is an incredibly versatile space, and can accommodate many different activities. We have recently worked closely with Gray’s School of Art, who hosted an exhibition within the building.

Strengthening links with Events Management courses This year we have worked closely with staff and students from the Events Management course at Aberdeen Business School. A series of events have been organised and promoted throughout the year by students from this course, in line with their Live Music Management module. These 6 events have ranged from acoustic and comedy nights through to full live bands showcases, and have helped attract around 700 additional students and guests through our doors, while helping us to engage with our membership in a new and innovative way.

68% % of our commercial staff members that are current students.

25% % of our clothing sales made up by Fairtrade or ethically sourced garments.

4 Our bars were presented with the Best Bar None Gold Award for the fourth year running.

We were really impressed and happy about the music, the atmosphere and of course, the drinks at the bar! .

We work closely with our member sports clubs and societies as a venue to host meetings, fundraising events and socials, which recently have included; adoption parties, treasure hunts, 24 hour bike rides, bake sales & international themed events.

We are working closely with the University to develop an appealing new range of branded clothing and gifts, which will carry the new RGU logo.

Edgeworn Bookshop The Edgeworn Bookshop at the Union is a service that allows students and staff to submit books to be sold on their behalf. They are sold at the price chosen by the submitter, with 70% of it being returned to the original submitter after sale. The remaining admin fee is kept by RGU:Union, as well as all profit on books that are donated outright, and this money is put towards development of the bookshop and other Union services. The bookshop’s current stock is closing on one thousand books. Of these, about three hundred are in storage boxes, as the

Total money raised by academic year *

bookshop has exhausted available shelf space in the current Union Shop. The larger shopspace in Riverside East will be well used! Across its lifetime, Edgeworn has earned a total income of £6,200. Factoring in the £1,300 that has not been collected by submitters, the Student Association has received £3,300 from the low-cost service. More importantly, submitters have earned £2,900 from the service and countless students have been able to buy academic materials at a lower cost than elsewhere.

£1649 £1462



650 Approximate number of hours contributed to Edgeworn Bookshop collectively by student volunteers.


£102 07/08



Total book submissions by academic year *






421 319



% of book price received by the donating student. The remaining 30% goes towards development of the bookshop and Union services.


547 07/08






* Academic year counted as September-August. Data for 2007/08 covers March-August. Data for 2012/13 is complete up until June, with numbers expected to rise before the end of August.

Edgeworn Bookshop is run entirely by student volunteers.

The number of Business & Management textbooks currently in stock.

Student Media Group This year saw the launch of a new Student Media Group, under the RGU:Union banner. The group will consist of volunteers looking to participate in three main media outlets; a newly rebranded student magazine, RGU:Radio and a yet-to-launch RGU TV channel These services exist primarily to offer professional experience to the volunteers, but also as a means of engaging members in our democratic processes, by providing a free and open outlet for their voices and opinions to be heard. Plus, there is a great social side in giving students the chance to meet a diverse range of people who share similar interests in media and communication. Through these real life working media outlets, students gain a whole range of skills and experiences, as well as a chance to really shape the decisions the Union makes. The experience offered by the Union’s Media really is invaluable and the training offered will help to prepare students for future jobs. Student Media within the Union takes many different forms, with each outlet being led by a committee of student volunteers. A full launch is expected to take place during the 2013/14 academic session.

Strengthening links with Journalism, Corporate Communication & Public Affairs courses We enlisted the help of three students on a placement from the MSc Corporate communication and public affairs who facilitated the rebranding of the student magazine “Reform” to a new name “Radar”, in response to feedback received from a cross-section of readers. These placement students worked closely together to produce a pilot issue of the new “Radar” magazine, which will receive a full launch in time for Freshers 2013.

RGU:Union Impact Report 2012/13  

RGU:Union Impact Report 2012/13

RGU:Union Impact Report 2012/13  

RGU:Union Impact Report 2012/13