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University of Sussex Students’ Union Big Questionnaire 2010 Results

July 2010 Jo Walters Societies Development Coordinator


Executive Summary The USSU questionnaire is distributed annually to gather feedback on our activities from students at the University of Sussex and Brighton & Sussex Medical School. It covers a range of USSU’s activities and services such as shops, sport and democracy as well as more general questions about USSU’s purpose and overall rating. The results are varied and many of the comments given offer an interesting insight into how students perceive us and the way we work. Some of the results highlight the trouble we have in balancing competing priorities and trying to satisfy a diverse student body, e.g. the same event or service can attract both highly complimentary and highly critical comments. One of the key themes from the results is that we should focus on including all students in what we do. Many mature and/or postgraduate students commented that they felt like a lot of our services weren’t relevant to them. Similar comments also came from international, BSMS and part-time students. As these students make up a high percentage of our membership this is an important area to address. We need to work on how we communicate with our members about the things we’re doing, how they can get involved and how we can help them. Our plans to improve our website and develop an email newsletter will hopefully address some of these areas but these will not solve all of the problems identified. We need to try new methods of talking to our students and evaluate our current publicity activities. It is clear that in some areas, e.g. events, we are still not always meeting our students’ expectations despite a recent focus and investment in this area. Whilst aiming to improve the opportunities on offer to students we should also work on managing students’ expectations and being clear about limiting factors and the decisions we’ve made.

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Introduction As a membership organisation, it is important to the University of Sussex Students’ Union (USSU) that its activities reflect what its members want. As a democratically led organisation it is also important that the actions of its elected officers are based on what students want and that these leaders can be held accountable by students. This is the fifth year we have distributed a questionnaire to students to get feedback on our activities. The questions asked have evolved over this time but we are still able to compare results from year to year to see how we are improving and which areas need our attention. The annual USSU questionnaire is not designed to replace other methods of gauging students’ opinions and USSU’s existing democratic structures. It is used to understand how we could improve our activities and the things we do for and with students. This year we received 730 responses to our questionnaire during the four weeks it was available for students to complete online, our second highest response rate ever. We publicised the questionnaire via an email to all students, a banner on Falmer House, on our and the University’s websites, via USSU mailing lists as well as via Twitter and Facebook. The summary of results is included as an appendix to this report. This report aims to summarise the results from the questionnaire so they can be used by USSU staff and officers to make sure that the things we do are relevant and based on what our members tell us. In this report, we’ve summarised respondents’ individual comments by grouping them into categories, the full lists of (anonymous) responses will be shared with the relevant staff and officers so they can use students’ more detailed comments. For the first time, we also offered to email students a copy of our report and information about what we’ll be doing as a result. A surprisingly large number of people requested a copy so this report is also written for them. We’re always interested in hearing from students about what they think of us and what we could do to improve. If you’d like to get in touch with us you can email reception@ussu.sussex.ac.uk or pop in to Falmer House.

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Contents Executive Summary............................................................................................................................. 1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................................ 2 Contents .............................................................................................................................................. 3 Respondent demographics ................................................................................................................. 5 Figure 1: Age profile of respondents and student body ................................................................. 5 Bars, shops & box office...................................................................................................................... 6 Figure 2: When have you most recently used the following facilities? .......................................... 6 Figure 3: If you have not used some or all of these facilities please tell us why not...................... 7 Figure 4: How would rate these Students’ Union outlets? ............................................................. 7 Figure 5: How would rate these Students’ Union outlets? Average ratings................................... 8 Figure 6: Do you have any suggestions to improve these facilities? .............................................. 8 Events .................................................................................................................................................. 9 Figure 7: Which, if any, of these events coordinated by the Students' Union have you attended? ........................................................................................................................................................ 9 Figure 8: Why have you not attended USSU events? ................................................................... 10 Figure 9: Which were the best and worst events you've attended? ............................................ 11 Figure 10: Please rank these aspects of events in order of importance to you ........................... 11 Figure 11: Please rank these aspects of events in order of importance to you (average ratings) 12 Figure 12: If you could make one improvement to Freshers Week, what would it be? .............. 12 Figure 13: Do you have any comments about Students' Union events or suggestions for how to improve them?.............................................................................................................................. 13 Campaigns ......................................................................................................................................... 14 Figure 14: Please name any campaigns you've been aware of at Sussex/BSMS this year ........... 14 Figure 16: How important are these issues to you as a student? ................................................ 15 Figure 15: What do you think of the balance of campaigns USSU is involved in? ........................ 15 Figure 17: Do you have any suggestions for issues that you'd like to see USSU campaigning on in the future? .................................................................................................................................... 16 Services ............................................................................................................................................. 18 Figure 18: Which of these services have you heard of? Which of them have you used? ............ 18 Figure 19: Do you have any comments about these services either generally or specifically? ... 19 Union democracy .............................................................................................................................. 20 Figure 20: What affected your decision whether or not to vote in the full time officer elections in February? .................................................................................................................................. 20 Figure 21: What affected your decision whether or not to attend the AGM in November? ....... 21 Student media................................................................................................................................... 22 Figure 22: During this academic year, how often have you read/used the following? ................ 22 Figure 23: Do you have any suggestions for improving any of our media services? .................... 22

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Communications ............................................................................................................................... 23 Figure 24: Do you feel that you are well informed about Students' Union activities and services? ...................................................................................................................................................... 23 Figure 25: We're planning to launch an email newsletter. What sort of content should we include in it? Initial responses....................................................................................................... 23 Figure 26: We're planning to launch an email newsletter. What sort of content should we include in it? Other comments ..................................................................................................... 24 Figure 27: We're planning to redo our website, www.ussu.info. Have you got any suggestions? Are there any things you'd like to be able to do online through our website that you can't currently? How can we make the site easier to use? ................................................................... 25 The Union .......................................................................................................................................... 26 Figure 28: What do you normally call us? ..................................................................................... 26 Figure 29: Are you a member of the University of Sussex Students' Union? ............................... 26 Figure 30: Overall, what do you think should be the main purpose of the Students' Union? ..... 27 Figure 31: Is there anything you feel the Student's Union could do to improve your experience as a student at Sussex/BSMS? ...................................................................................................... 28 Figure 32: Is the Union contributing positively to your experience at University? ...................... 29 Figure 33: What is your overall rating of the Students Union? .................................................... 29 Figure 34: Did the services and/or facilities provided by the Students’ Union play any part in your decision to study at Sussex/BSMS? ...................................................................................... 30 Figure 35: Are there any other comments you would like to make on any of the issues raised in this questionnaire? ....................................................................................................................... 30 Conclusions ....................................................................................................................................... 31 Recommendations ............................................................................................................................ 32 Appendix 1: Results summary........................................................................................................... 33 About you...................................................................................................................................... 33 Union shops, bars, box office and events ..................................................................................... 36 Campaigning, lobbying & services ................................................................................................ 40 Union democracy .......................................................................................................................... 43 Communications ........................................................................................................................... 44 The Union ...................................................................................................................................... 48

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Respondent demographics The student body at the University of Sussex and Brighton & Sussex Medical School is very diverse and it is important to us that we listen to as many students as possible. We asked students some basic demographic information so we can find out how representative the results from our questionnaire are by comparing responses to the general student population at Sussex. The full breakdown is shown in the attached appendix. Generally the respondents to our questionnaire were fairly representative of the wider student population with a few exceptions. The age profile of respondents was different to that of the student body with under 21 year old students under-represented and 21-24 year olds over-represented amongst respondents. Figure 1 shows the age profile of respondents in the central ring with the student body in the outer ring. Other age categories were much more comparable. The gender balance of respondents was skewed towards female students with male students under-represented.

Student body Respondents

Under 21 21-24 25-28 29-35 36-44 45-49 50+

Figure 1: Age profile of respondents and student body

Across other categories that have comparable data from the University, our respondents were generally representative of the student body, e.g. the percentages of undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research postgraduate respondents closely mirror those of the wider student population. This diversity of opinions is important to us as we are specifically trying to involve students who fall outside the ‘traditional student’ stereotype, e.g. 18 year old undergraduate. We have carried out separate research in addition to this questionnaire which focused on ‘hard to reach’ student groups such as postgraduates, mature students and international students. We will be using the findings from specific groups such as these where applicable in our planning as well as the general results from all respondents.

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Bars, shops & box office It is important that our shops, bars and box office are successful as we rely on them for income to spend on the things we do and we want to make sure that they are relevant and useful for students. We asked a range of questions about our outlets to find out what students thought of them. As we’ve made quite a lot of changes to our outlets over the past few years we asked respondents when they had most recently used each outlet (so we could work out what they were basing their opinions on). The results are shown in Figure 2 . 100% 90% 80% Never

70%

More than a year ago In the last year

60% 50%

In the last six months In the last three months In the last month

40% 30% 20%

In the last week

10% 0% Falmer Bar Union News Union Store East Slope (Bramber (York House) Bar House)

Box Office (Falmer House)

The Cube

Figure 2: When have you most recently used the following facilities?

Where students indicated that they hadn’t visited some or all of our outlets we asked them why, Figure 3 shows their collated responses. Comment category Not needed/not interested/not relevant Didn’t know about it/them Cube – bad reputation/experience Don’t live on campus Use other facilities Outlets are not very good, e.g. quality, price Inconvenient location on campus, e.g. far from residence/department Too busy Cube – not open very often Not convenient opening times, e.g. weekend, for part-time students Don’t drink alcohol Not suitable for postgraduate/mature students

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Mentions 105 71 39 32 16 14 11 7 6 6 5 5


Use online box office Box office – no relevant tickets available

4 3

Figure 3: If you have not used some or all of these facilities please tell us why not

Lots of people commented that they did not need to use some or all of our outlets or that they weren’t interested in the options available. For many students this is understandable, the other reasons given point to students who are busy or who have found other alternatives that are more conveniently located. By looking at these results in more detail our outlet managers can consider ways to make our services more relevant to students. Many students commented that they weren’t aware of some or all of the outlets with the Box Office being most frequently cited in this context. This is understandable as it is a new service and we plan to make it more integral to our activities and highlight it in our publicity efforts next year. We were already aware of the Cube’s reputation amongst many students and next year will be using it as an extension of Falmer Bar rather than as a club (though it will still be available for groups to hire if they’d like). Comments about the quality of other venues will be passed on to the appropriate manager to be addressed. To gauge how students see our outlets overall, we asked them to rate them from 1-5 where 1 is excellent and 5 is rubbish. Figure 4 shows all the ratings for each outlet and Figure 5 shows the average rating. 60%

50%

40% Falmer Bar Union Shop (Falmer House)

30%

East Slope Bar Union Store (York House)

20%

Union News (Bramber House) Box Office (Falmer House) The Cube

10%

0% Excellent (1)

OK (3)

Rubbish (5)

-10% Figure 4: How would rate these Students’ Union outlets?

Answer Options Falmer Bar Union Shop (Falmer House) East Slope Bar Union Store (York House) Union News (Bramber House)

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Average Rating 2.19 2.37 2.53 2.53 2.54

I haven't used it


Box Office (Falmer House) The Cube

2.62 4.22

Figure 5: How would rate these Students’ Union outlets? Average ratings

It is great to see that the average ratings of all of our outlets (except the Cube) are in the top half of the scale. Obviously the Cube does not score well but as mentioned above, we already have plans in place to use the space differently in future. Usage rates of most outlets are also quite high with only the Cube (which has not been open very much this year) and Box Office (which is very new) showing lower usage. Finally, we asked students if they had any other suggestions for us to improve these facilities, Figure 6 shows their collated responses. Comment category Lower prices Cube suggestions, e.g. publicity, acts, themes Increase variety of options East Slope Bar suggestions, e.g. improve the atmosphere, refurbish Falmer Bar food suggestions, e.g. pricing, increase range Falmer Bar suggestions, e.g. improve the atmosphere, refurbish, fix toilets (4) Improve customer service, e.g. staff attitude, more staff available East Slope Bar food suggestions, e.g. pricing, increase range Remove product bans, e.g. Coca-Cola Accommodate more diets, e.g. vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free Change opening times Improve consistency of stock levels Falmer Shop suggestions, e.g. more lunch options, more drinks, larger range Union Store suggestions, e.g. stock more products, better quality Offer more healthy food options Sell (alcoholic) spirits Increase publicity Union News suggestions, e.g. opening hours, range Environmental, e.g. use local suppliers, organic, don’t use plastic bags

Mentions 76 45 21 16 16 15 11 11 9 7 7 7 5 4 4 4 4 3 3

Figure 6: Do you have any suggestions to improve these facilities?

Price, value and affordability are recurring themes throughout the questionnaire responses. We are aware that students often operate on limited budgets and do our best to offer value for money. Sometimes we have to deal with students’ often unrealistic expectations of really cheap drinks and products. We have to balance our desire to offer students cheap options with our responsibilities as retailers, e.g. not encouraging binge drinking, as well as the need to generate income from our outlets to pay for and subsidise services such as advice and sport. All of the comments will be passed on to outlet managers and used in conjunction with their own customer surveys to develop and improve our outlets. To address some of the specific points raised, we do not sell a small number of products, e.g. Coca-Cola as students previously voted for us to stock alternatives based on ethical and environmental concerns. The University do not let us sell spirits in our shop though we would love to. Due to limited storage space it is sometimes hard to ensure all items are consistently stocked, we also don’t want to waste things such as bagels if they are not sold so we do our best to predict demand and order enough, unfortunately we don’t always get this right.

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Events One of the most common pieces of feedback we receive from our members is that they expect a range of events to be organised by the Students’ Union. As a result we’ve invested time and money over the last few years to expand and improve the range of events we offer and ask a number of questions in our annual questionnaire about events to assess our progress. To find out which events are referring to in their answers we ask which events they have attended, the results are shown in Figure 7 (Freshers Week events are coloured black, events after Freshers Week are coloured grey). Chinese New year Diwali CHEERS! St. Patricks Day Superbowl at East Slope Sports awards Laid back & Latte Barn dance USSU introducing... (band night at East Slope) UNITE (first sunday of freshers in Falmer House) Brightonian Nights Graduation Ball (plan to attend) Elections Night at East Slope Pier Party Dissertation Dash Freshers Festival Freshers Ball 0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

Figure 7: Which, if any, of these events coordinated by the Students' Union have you attended?

We were interested to know why people may not have attended our events so asked people why, if applicable, they had not attended any of our events. Their responses are grouped in Figure 8, the full list of comments will be distributed to our Events staff. Reason Was not aware of events *Not suitable for mature students, e.g. I’m too old, aimed at younger students Too busy/have other commitments *Not suitable for postgraduates, e.g. aimed at undergrads, wouldn’t be postgrads there Events are not appealing Events take place on campus Events are too expensive Bad reputation/experience of USSU events Don’t live locally Friends didn’t go/didn’t have anyone to go with Don’t like ‘organised fun’ *Events are aimed at Freshers

9

Mentions 22 17 17 14 14 11 11 7 5 4 4 3


Childcare problems/family commitments ‘I don’t drink alcohol’

3 2

Figure 8: Why have you not attended USSU events?

The most common theme is that ‘events aren’t aimed at students like me’ (see the starred reasons in Figure 8). We should ensure that a wide range of students feel welcome at our events. This could be achieved by marketing our events more widely and targeting specific groups of students, e.g. postgraduates, and/or by organising events specifically for these groups. Comments about the events not appealing to students suggest that we could further increase the range of events we organise. We are planning to organise more ‘cultural’ events and to celebrate more religious festivals, hopefully this will increase the variety of events students can participate in and increase the number of non-alcohol based events available to students. We evidently need to improve how we publicise the events we organise as many students were unaware of some or all of them. We are looking at ways of improving our website and plan to introduce an email newsletter which could incorporate events listings (see page 23 for more details). Other comments such as the location of events (being too campus-centric or not suitable for those who don’t live locally) suggest that we could experiment with other locations, e.g. organise more events in Brighton. Several students commented on the (high) price of events, an issue covered in more detail in the next question. Next, we asked students which the best and worst events that they had attended were. Figure 9 shows their responses ranked as percentages of those who attended each event (to remove the bias towards those events which had large numbers of attendees). Events from Freshers Week are starred. % of attendees

Event Best event 1 CHEERS! Society, volunteering & media awards 2 Sports awards ball 3 Dissertation Dash 4 *Brightonian Nights (pub crawl) 5 *Laid back & Latte 6 Elections Night at East Slope 7 *Freshers Festival 8 *Barn dance 9 *UNITE (first Sunday of freshers in Falmer House) 10 *Pier Party 11 *Freshers Ball 12 USSU introducing... (band night at East Slope) 13 Graduation Ball (plan to attend) 14 Diwali Worst event 1 *Freshers Ball 2 Diwali 3 *Pier Party 4 *UNITE (first Sunday of freshers in Falmer House) 5 *Freshers Festival 6 *Barn dance

10

55% 46% 44% 41% 35% 24% 27% 23% 20% 18% 11% 8% 5% 0% 58% 36% 23% 18% 16% 14%


7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

*Laid back & Latte Sports awards ball USSU introducing... (band night at East Slope) Dissertation Dash Elections Night at East Slope *Brightonian Nights (pub crawl) CHEERS! Society, volunteering & media awards Graduation Ball (plan to attend)

13% 11% 11% 10% 8% 8% 3% 3%

Figure 9: Which were the best and worst events you've attended?

These responses and the comments given by students illustrate one of the common problems we face; the same event can be loved and hated by different students, e.g. similar numbers of students said the Pier Party was the best and worst event they’d attended. The Freshers Ball was criticised by many students in a later question, see Figure 12. When we organise events we often have to balance a variety of factors, most commonly ensuring that tickets remain affordable whilst having enough money to pay for things like an impressive lineup and decorations. To try to examine students’ priorities we asked them to rank seven factors in order of their importance. The results are shown in Figure 10 and averaged in Figure 11. 250 Cheap ticket price Cheap drink prices Well-known acts/bands

200

Central Brighton location Selection of acts at same event (i.e several arenas) Food provided Additional entertainment (e.g magicians, attractions, rides )

150

100

50

0 1 - Most important

2

3

4

5

6

Figure 10: Please rank these aspects of events in order of importance to you

Cheap ticket price Cheap drink prices Well-known acts/bands Central Brighton location Selection of acts at same event (i.e. several arenas) Food provided

11

Rating Average 2.01 2.80 3.68 4.20 4.73 4.84

7 - Least important


Additional entertainment (e.g. magicians, attractions, rides )

5.23

Figure 11: Please rank these aspects of events in order of importance to you (average ratings)

Both sets of data in indicate that price (of tickets and drinks) are the most important factors for students which backs up the comments made in earlier responses (see Figure 8). Unfortunately the next most important factor is having well-known acts/bands which usually come with a fairly hefty price tag! We could address these issues by being more transparent about how budgets are created, e.g. how much well known artists costs, how expenses are broken down and other sources of income, e.g. sponsorship. Areas that can be compromised on seem to be having multiple arenas, food and additional entertainment. These are ‘extras’ that could be removed to keep prices down. Once again, the varying responses show that we won’t be able to please everyone all the time. Expanding the variety of events we offer may be one way to allow us to please more people more of the time. As Freshers Week is our most concentrated series of events and can affect people’s opinions of our events in general we asked students what one change they would make to Freshers Week. The results are shown in Figure 12 with comments about specific interesting events marked with a star. Comment category *Freshers Ball, e.g. not in a nightclub, reduce queues, cheaper drinks Ticket/drinks prices, e.g. cheaper tickets, cheaper drinks, free events More variety/more events More non-alcohol based events Improve bands/music, e.g. more famous bands, more rock music More events for mature, postgraduate, part-time and international students Improve publicity, e.g. for postgraduates, more information in advance More daytime events More opportunities to get to know other students Activities based around each residence, e.g. York House BBQ, get to know flatmates Improve event quality Introduce students to Brighton, e.g. more events in Brighton Include non-Freshers, e.g. make returning students feel welcome *Freshers Festival, e.g. make it an evening event, allow students to come and go More departmental/school based activities Make better use of on campus venues More events for students not living on campus Increase event capacity, e.g. Barn Dance was sold out *Freebies Fair, e.g. more free things *Freshers Fair, e.g. more maps of the fair layout Have a big event for the first day/evening Avoid scheduling clashes with major religious festivals Have a casual sport event *Pier Party

Mentions 49 43 41 30 24 20 16 15 12 11 10 7 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1

Figure 12: If you could make one improvement to Freshers Week, what would it be?

Once again, these results indicate that price is a major factor for students. Some students commented that they couldn’t afford to attend many events, e.g. “The tickets for most of the events were extortionately [sic] priced and meant that you could not do every event even if you wanted to”.

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The event which attracted the most criticism was the Freshers Ball with comments referring to ticket price, line-up, venue, style and drinks prices. It seems that this is the event for which students have the strongest set of expectations and we do not seem to be meeting these. To gather other qualititve comments, we asked students for any other comments or suggestions they had about USSU events. The collated responses are shown in Figure 13. Comment category Make events cheaper Events for a diverse range of students, e.g. mature, postgraduate, international, BSMS Increase variety/quantity of events, e.g. daytime events, cultural/arts events Improve/increase publicity General praise Incorporate more well known acts/artists Fewer alcohol focused events Freshers Ball – general comments, e.g. venue, artists, atmosphere Reflect what students want Unifest – repeat this event Incorporate more live music Dissertation dash – general comments, e.g. compliments, make it bigger Sports Ball – general comments, e.g. venue, ticket price Organise more events on campus Improve quality of events Work with Brighton Students’ Union to organise joint events Graduation Ball – general comments Organise more events in Brighton (rather than on campus) General suggestions Alter event policies, e.g. allow re-entry and let students bring in their own food Don’t bother competing with events in Brighton

Mentions 23 20 18 16 12 10 8 8 6 6 5 4 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 1

Figure 13: Do you have any comments about Students' Union events or suggestions for how to improve them?

Again, price sensitivity is a major issue for students as well as providing events for a range of students. There were also a number of comments which suggest a gap between what students expect, e.g. well known bands, and what they get. One way to address this might be to make it clear on our publicity what the event will be like so that students’ experiences more closely match their expectations, e.g. some students commented that they were expecting a formal Freshers Ball and were therefore dissatisfied with the ‘club’ style of the ball.

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Campaigns USSU and its societies are often involved in a number of campaigns. Some of these are centrally coordinated by USSU such as ‘vote for students’ an NUS campaign encouraging students to register to vote in the 2010 general election. Other campaigns are supported and facilitated by USSU but are also coordinated by students, societies and other groups, ‘Stop The Cuts’ is the most notable recent example of a campaign run in this way. Other campaigns are organised by societies and other groups on campus such as the Amnesty International society’s ‘Stop forced evictions’ campaign. We asked students to name any campaigns they’d been aware of at Sussex/BSMS in the current year to gauge which campaigns demonstrated the greatest impact and to find out what respondents were referring to when discussing their perceptions of campaigns on campus. 299 students listed campaigns they could remember with most listing one and some listing multiple campaigns. Their responses were sorted into broad categories as shown in Figure 14 (the two highest mentions within each category are included for greater context). Some students took this opportunity to criticise these campaigns or affiliate to/disaffiliate themselves from particular campaigns. Campaign University cuts, e.g. ‘Stop the Cuts’ (232), ‘Sussex Six (40) Referenda & policy, e.g. ‘Boycott Israeli goods (47)’, ‘Ban endangered species’ (22) Societies (including campaigns organised by them), e.g. ‘Palestine’ (17), ‘Shell oil’ (3) Elections (national & USSU) , e.g. ‘Union elections’ (5), ‘Vote Green’ (3)` USSU & University health, welfare & environment campaigns, e.g. ‘Rate Your Landlord’ (4), ‘Chlamydia screening’ (4) Others, e.g. ‘Ban everything’ (7), ‘Save linguistics’ (3)

Mentions 322 78 53 17 15 30

Figure 14: Please name any campaigns you've been aware of at Sussex/BSMS this year

We asked students what they thought of the balance of our campaigns as we are keen to make sure our campaigns are relevant to students. Figure 15 shows students’ responses expressed as percentages of respondents to each category. It shows that the 50% or more of students think the balance of our campaigns is ‘just right’ in each category however those who disagree are not always equally split between those who think we focus on topics too much and too little. Assuming that the ideal response is the majority of students agreeing that the balance of our campaigning is just right and small, balanced percentages think it is too much or too little (accepting that, in such a diverse student body, not everyone will agree the balance is just right) it seems that only our campaigning on ‘university issues’ is close to this ideal. An area of particular note is our focus on ‘local student issues’ with almost half of respondents (48%) replying that we focus on this topic too little (only 2% of respondents thought we focus on this too much). The results also suggest that we should increase our campaigning emphasis on ‘local other issues’ and ‘national student issues’ as around a third of respondents replying that we focus on these areas too little (34% and 28% respectively) though the majority of students think the balance is just right (60% and 64%). Conversely we could potentially reduce our focus on ‘international issues’ as around a third of students thought we focus on this area too much though 57% think the balance is just right.

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100% 90%

Too little 19%

80%

Too little 48%

70%

Too little 34%

Too little 19%

Too little 28%

60% 50% 40%

Just right 60%

Just right 69%

30%

Just right 50%

20%

Just right 60%

20%

University issues, e.g. access to the library, course closures

28%

7%

6%

2%

0%

Just right 57%

Just right 64%

10% 11%

Too little 15%

Local student issues, Local other issues, e.g. quality of e.g. parking in housing Brighton

National student National other International issues, issues, e.g. top-up issues, e.g. national e.g. international fees, student visas environmental policy human rights

Figure 15: What do you think of the balance of campaigns USSU is involved in?

To further examine issues which we could potentially build campaigns around and provide focus for full-time officers and USSU departments we asked students how important different topics were to them. Figure 16 shows their responses as percentages of respondents (not including those who stated the issue was not relevant to them). The table has been sorted to show the issues in order of average importance with the most important given first. Answers shown in red illustrate the highest concentration of respondents through amber to green for low concentrations. Importance

Academic issues Academic facilities on campus Balancing study and other commitments Housing Socialising Health and wellbeing Non-academic facilities on campus Debt/money issues The environment Feeling part of the local community Crime Childcare International politics

Very (1)

(2)

Quite (3)

(4)

Not (5)

Average

n/a

87% 78% 46% 37% 37% 34% 33% 26% 26% 19% 20% 21% 13%

10% 15% 26% 34% 34% 31% 32% 31% 27% 28% 24% 16% 19%

3% 6% 23% 22% 19% 27% 24% 28% 28% 29% 32% 25% 23%

1% 1% 1% 6% 1% 0% 1% 4% 0% 2% 5% 76% 4%

0% 0% 3% 4% 6% 6% 8% 11% 11% 14% 16% 11% 22%

1.16 1.29 1.87 2.02 2.07 2.09 2.17 2.36 2.47 2.66 2.67 3.05 3.24

0% 0% 2% 3% 4% 1% 3% 4% 8% 9% 8% 26% 23%

Figure 16: How important are these issues to you as a student?

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Perhaps unsurprisingly ‘academic issues’ such as quality of teaching and ‘academic facilities’ such as the library and lecture theatres (all examples provided for clarity in the questionnaire) are the most important to students with 99% of respondents rating them quite to very important. These are issues that could be addressed through existing initiatives such as the student reps scheme. The relative importance of ‘balancing study and other commitments’ reflects other research by USSU and national trends which suggest that students are increasingly reliant on part-time work to fund their studies and are likely to have other commitments such as caring for a family member (see NUS’ ‘A Wave of Change: The Future Landscape of the Student Movement’ report for further detail, you can download it at http://resource.nusonline.co.uk/media/resource/Wave_of_change_report1.pdf). The remaining issues were all generally fairly important to students with only ‘childcare’ and ‘international politics’ demonstrating slightly different answer patterns of being less important overall. It is interesting to note that all issues (except childcare and international politics which only narrowly missed out) were rated as quite or more important to students. We asked students what issues they thought we should campaign on. Their responses have been grouped by category and are shown sorted by number of responses in Figure 17. Some responses covered several topics so were counted multiple times. Topics in square brackets represent feedback from students on existing campaign activity. Campaign topic [Criticism of current campaign activity] [Should be more local/fewer international campaigns] Campus food & drink, e.g. choice, late night access, prices Environment, e.g. recycling facilities, awareness, animal rights Sport, e.g. access to facilities/cost Support for disabled students, e.g. access, mental health awareness Tuition fees & funding, e.g. limiting fees, reducing fees Library, e.g. building works, access to resources Opposing cuts, e.g. course closures Student welfare, e.g. Nightline service, pastoral system, health Campus housing, e.g. cost Education quality, e.g. more contact time Improvements to USSU, e.g. governance, publicity, The Badger Other campus issues, e.g. contractor behaviour, flyering, student jobs, drug use Specific international issues, e.g. Darfur, Israel Campus events, e.g. more bands, more events Campus facilities, e.g. lecture theatres, common rooms Improve students’ reputation with the community Support for female students, e.g. work with NUS, officer position University policies, e.g. assessment submission, complaints process, drug research ethics [Supportive of existing campaigns] ‘Non-traditional’ students, e.g. mature, postgraduate, part-time Anti-discrimination, e.g. sexism, homophobia, classism Human rights Safety Transport, e.g. campus parking, bus prices Widening access to Higher Education

Mentions 29 16 13 10 10 7 7 6 6 6 5 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 1

Figure 17: Do you have any suggestions for issues that you'd like to see USSU campaigning on in the future?

It is interesting to note that the two most common types of response were both critical of USSU’s current campaigning activity. Comments such as “I have the feeling that USSU campaigns too much

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on behalf of international policies and politics, which are not in any way directly related to well being of the student community” and “*USSU should campaign on+ Stuff that affects us, like tuition fees or bus prices, not crap from the other side of the world” are typical of these responses. This supports the responses to the earlier question asking about the balance of USSU’s campaigns (see Figure 15). Almost all of the suggestions relate to student issues and campus-based concerns, e.g. “all step [sic] repainted for visually impaired before there is a serious accident” and “Sort out recycling. Most flats in Stanmer court at least dont [sic] bother”. The full list of comments will be distributed to relevant USSU officers and departments for consideration during their planning process and/or to lobby the University on. There are already several initiatives in place or planned to address some of the issues raised; 

The way USSU is run and how we can be sure decisions are legitimate and based on students’ opinions has been considered. Suggested changes will be presented to students and voted upon by them in a referendum in the autumn term of 2010. We will be uploading more information to our website over the summer. Any external companies wishing to hand out flyers on campus must get a permit from USSU which states they will collect any dropped flyers. We can only regulate companies handing out flyers on campus which does not include the underpass to Falmer station and rogue companies sometimes manage to come on to campus and hand out flyers without permission, please let us know if you spot someone doing this. We will be using the feedback on events from this questionnaire to improve our events further. For more information you can contact Tori Cherry-Downes, Marketing & Events Manager, v.cherry-downes@sussex.ac.uk We recently published ‘Getogether’, our report outlining a range of things we’d like to do to improve students’ reputation amongst the local community and offer more things for students to get involved in. This includes volunteering, community based societies and the Societies Festival. For more information or a copy of the proposal you can visit our website.

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Services USSU provides a wide range of services and opportunities to its members. We wanted to know how many people were aware of and had used services that were not covered by other areas of our questionnaire. The results in Figure 18 show the numbers and percentage of the 578 respondents to this question for each service. ‘Awareness’ is the percentage of respondents who’d heard of the service, ‘uptake’ is the percentage of these students who had used the service. 98%

98%

100% 95%

93%

500

90% 84%

84%

80% 70%

400

60% 300

50% 39%

200

40%

28%

30% 18%

100

18%

20% 15%

10%

0

10% 0%

Sports clubs, e.g. football, frisbee

Student reps

Societies, e.g. choir, environmental

UNISEX drop-in

Advice Centre Volunteering (Falmer House) through Project V Heard of Used Uptake % Awareness %

Figure 18: Which of these services have you heard of? Which of them have you used?

This shows high awareness levels of all services which is encouraging. Uptake of services varies somewhat however. In some areas this may because students have not needed the service, e.g. advice centre, but it would be useful to further research people’s reasons for not using the service. Initial research in this area for sport has indicated a range of reasons, e.g. ‘I’m too busy’, ‘I’m not sporty’, ‘I wouldn’t know how’. Further details would help us improve our services to encourage more students to use them. It is also important to note that uptake does not necessarily translate to satisfaction. Many of these areas carry out their own research amongst participants to improve their service. We asked students if they had any comments about these services, their responses are shown in Figure 19. Suggestion category UNISEX – compliments, e.g. shouldn’t be closed down, useful service Societies – criticism, e.g. specific societies, publicity throughout the year Sport – criticism, e.g. inaccessible, access to facilities Not needed them/not interested Societies – compliments, e.g. specific societies, variety

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Tone

Mentions 21  15  13  12  7 


Sport – compliments, e.g. specific clubs General lack of awareness General compliments Too busy to use them, e.g. family commitments, BSMS lecture clashes Advice – compliments, e.g. useful service Advice – criticism, e.g. opening hours Advice – lack of awareness Student reps – lack of awareness Project V – lack of awareness Student Reps – criticism, e.g. access to student reps UNISEX – criticism, e.g. not necessary Project V – compliments, e.g. good opportunity for students Societies – lack of awareness Student Reps – compliments, e.g. important pastoral service UNISEX – lack of awareness

              

6 5 4 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 1

Figure 19: Do you have any comments about these services either generally or specifically?

There were lots of critical comments about sports clubs and societies. These were divided between those commenting on particular groups, e.g. “I joined [a society] at the beginning of the year and didn't receive a single email or follow up”, and those on the service in general, e.g. “Not easy for societies to get a lot of members, union should do more to help advertise them”. We are looking at ways to improve the support we provide to club and society committee members so that, in turn, they will be able to provide a better service to their members. We are also looking at ways to support these services in general, e.g. by advertising all year round that you can join clubs and societies at any point in the year, not just Freshers Week. UNISEX’s high profile closure seems to have prompted lots of comments in their support stressing how important respondents feel the service is. Other services did not attract so many compliments or criticisms however we will still be sharing these details with relevant staff and officers so they can implement changes to their services where suitable.

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Union democracy We asked students what affected their decision whether or not to vote in the full-time officer elections. Their responses have been divided between those who did or didn’t vote and grouped by category in Figure 20.

46 39 33 22 18 18 16 16 5 5 4 3

Students who DID vote (202) It is important to vote Publicity (USSU & candidates) To have my say To vote for particular candidate(s) Knew candidate(s) It was easy To vote against particular candidate(s) To influence USSU Experience of current officers Member of a campaign team My friends told me to To get more involved

22 14 14 12 12 11 6 4 4 3 2 2

Students who DIDN’T vote (102) Not interested Didn't know about it Wasn't on campus I am leaving soon It wouldn't make a difference Didn't know about candidates/policies Too busy Don't understand how it works Forgot Candidates hassled me too much Didn't know how Couldn't be bothered

Figure 20: What affected your decision whether or not to vote in the full time officer elections in February?

Amongst students who did vote there were lots of comments about the importance of voting and having their say and a high level of awareness of candidates, their campaigns and policies which is very encouraging, e.g. “I am a part of this union and should have a say“. Whilst most comments were broadly positive there were some negative comments, e.g. “How annoying and imposing the candidates were being”. There were several compliments on the ease of voting online which is great to hear as this was the first time we had used the system for the full-time officer elections. There was a degree of cynicism and indifference amongst students who did not vote in the election, e.g. “Because it's an excuse for final year students to get a job where they don't have to do very much” and “It doesn't really matter”. USSU should focus its publicity efforts on illustrating how the elections are relevant to all students (some mentioned that as a postgraduate or part-time student the elections and their outcome didn’t really apply to them) to address concerns such as a lack of relevance or understanding. It was interesting to see that several final year students didn’t think they didn’t feel it was right to vote or that it mattered as they would no longer be at university when the new officers took over. This group could be targeted with specific advertising, perhaps focusing on their experience and potentially greater understanding of relevant issues. It was worrying that a number of students did not vote as they were not on campus as we introduced online voting which could be accessed from anywhere via the internet. Assuming they were referring to this year’s elections it suggests that USSU did not sufficiently publicise the opportunity to vote online. We also wanted to know why students did or did not attend our Annual General Meeting (AGM) as this is the most important decision-making meeting for USSU and we’re keen for as many students as possible to attend and feel welcome, Figure 21 shows the collated responses.

24 8 7 4 4

Students who DID attend (63) To have my say/it is important To vote AGAINST the motions To shape USSU To represent ‘the silent majority’ To ensure enough people attended

57 45 26 20 14

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Students who DIDN’T attend (215) Didn’t know what it was/about it Too busy Not interested/relevant Lecture commitments Coursework


4 3 3 2 1 1 1

To know what is going on Friends The issues on the agenda To vote FOR motions I am a student rep It is fun To make a difference

14 12 12 10 8 4 2 1 1 1

Not on campus/in Brighton It is pointless Prior (negative) experience Others are intolerant/intimidating Work commitments The issues on the agenda Ill Childcare problems Find out outcomes later No disabled access

Figure 21: What affected your decision whether or not to attend the AGM in November?

The reasons for attending echo some of those given as reasons for voting in the election though it is interesting to see that the issues and motions being discussed were less important than the principle of participating. The reasons given for not attending show that we need to find ways to include more students through publicity and offering less time-consuming and time-specific ways of influencing USSU. We need to work on showing how the AGM is relevant to students as well as on making people feel welcome and able to access the meeting both in terms of access for disabled students and students with children and in making people feel welcome and reducing their fear of being intimidated by others.

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Student media We asked students how frequently during the last academic year they’d read or used the student media and communications tools USSU operates. We were keen to gauge their distribution and understand how people use them. We also wanted to know how much experience their later comments were based on, i.e. if their opinion was shaped by one URF show or regular listening. Figure 22 shows that The Badger newspaper is the most frequently read item however USSU’s website, www.ussu.info, is also fairly well-used though less frequently. The Badger Online, The Pulse magazine and URF radio station share similar, less frequent consumption patterns and awareness levels. 70%

The Badger www.ussu.info The Badger Online The Pulse URF

60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Regularly

A few times

Once

Not at all

I haven't heard of it

Figure 22: During this academic year, how often have you read/used the following?

We then asked people if they had any suggestions to improve these media outlets which are categorised in Figure 23. Given that awareness and usage of The Pulse, URF and The Badger Online were very similar it is interesting to see that improving and supporting URF was mentioned three times more frequently than The Pulse or The Badger Online. Comments about URF were generally about publicising it more effectively, particularly playing it in USSU shops and bars, e.g. “Advertise the radio. Play it where ever possible on campus” though the need to invest in equipment to maintain quality and consistency was also mentioned by several respondents. The full list of comments will be circulated to the relevant media source(s), staff and officers. Suggestion category Improve/support URF, e.g. play URF in campus shops, improve reliability Advertise them all better and make them more accessible Improve/support The Badger, e.g. improve distribution on campus, reduce text errors Improve/support The Pulse, e.g. promote it more effectively Improve/support The Badger Online, e.g. update it regularly, use video Make The Badger more politically neutral Improve www.ussu.info, e.g. make it easier to use Scrap one or all of these outlets Integrate the different outlets better Use email/social networking as well/instead Figure 23: Do you have any suggestions for improving any of our media services?

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Mentions 59 26 19 18 18 17 9 4 3 3


Communications We asked students whether they felt they were well informed about USSU activities and services, as this is important to us because we want our members to know what we do so they can get involved and so that USSU is accountable to its members. As you can see in Figure 24, the percentage of respondents who feel they are well informed about what we do has increased in 2010 (the outer circle) from 2009 (the inner circle) however a third of respondents do not feel well informed about USSU and its activities. This means they are potentially missing out on support and other opportunities USSU can provide and not getting involved in decision-making processes.

2010 No 37.6%2009 No 45.7%

2009 Yes 54.3%2010 Yes 62.4%

Figure 24: Do you feel that you are well informed about Students' Union activities and services?

One of the ways we intend to address issues such as publicising student media and informing our members of what we have done and intend to do is by launching a regular email newsletter. To make it as relevant and useful as possible we asked students what sort of content they would like to see in it. The results are shown in Figure 25 and generally indicate that students would be most interested in USSU specific content rather than more general local news. Random stuff like silly YouTube clips News from Brighton Competitions Information on what full-time officers‌ Upcoming events in Brighton Updates on USSU campaigns Information about decisions made by ‌ Special offers/discounts News from USSU Upcoming USSU events 0%

20%

40%

60%

80%

100%

Figure 25: We're planning to launch an email newsletter. What sort of content should we include in it? Initial responses

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We gave students the opportunity to add other suggestions which are shown in Figure 26 (responses in square brackets are for non-content comments). There were some quite strong negative opinions of the prospect of ‘random stuff’ such as YouTube clips so these should perhaps not be initially included or added on a trial basis. Several students suggested including information about clubs and societies as this is already part of our plan for the newsletter this is encouraging. Some of the other suggestions could be incorporated on a trial basis as our newsletter software allows us to monitor which aspects are most popular and we can adjust the content from issue to issue. Suggestion category

Mentions 9 8 6 6 4 2 2

Not ‘random stuff’ Information about clubs and societies, e.g. fixture details, updates on activities [This is a good idea] [This is a bad idea] USSU updates, e.g. opening times, information on full-time officers’ activities Jobs University events Other suggestions;  Tips and information, e.g. recipes  Opt-in to different sections  How to get involved in USSU  Customised for  National student news undergraduates/postgraduates  Information relevant to USSU campaigns, e.g.  Fun/less political than other media UCU updates  Information on Brighton-based events  Classified ads, e.g. book sales Figure 26: We're planning to launch an email newsletter. What sort of content should we include in it? Other comments

We asked students how frequently they’d like to receive an email newsletter from us, 14% said weekly, 43% fortnightly, 38% monthly and 6% never. It is encouraging to see that only a small number said they would never like to receive an email update from us. These results suggest that we should send out fortnightly updates, this can be monitored and adjusted if necessary. We’re in the process of revamping our website and have lots of ideas about changes we’d like to implement. To find out what students thought, we asked for their suggestions of how to improve our current website, www.ussu.info, their results are given in Figure 27. Suggestion category Mentions Navigation, e.g. make it easier to find things, improve search, improve menu layout 37 Improve design, e.g. lighter design, more coherent layout & colours 21 Update content more regularly and fix broken links 15 Improve membership system, e.g. make it easier 5 No changes necessary 4 More information for people running clubs and societies 3 Make the site easier for clubs and societies to edit 2 Accessibility, e.g. less reliance on images, larger font 2 Integrate with Facebook, e.g. events listings, memberships 2 Improve ticket sales system, e.g. don’t request demographic data, easier to log-in 2 Other new/improved content suggestions;  Surveys/petitions  Comments  Forums  Opening times  Online room bookings  Sports results  Offers & deals  Minutes from USSU meetings (3)  Events listing & calendar  Information on officers’ decisions (3)  Integrate The Badger  Change web address  More interactivity  Jobs

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   

   

Make it easier to contact societies & reps Increase loading speed Link to Sussex Direct Shops & bars information

Campaign updates Online TV Online chat/help Updates on NUS & University VCEG

Figure 27: We're planning to redo our website, www.ussu.info. Have you got any suggestions? Are there any things you'd like to be able to do online through our website that you can't currently? How can we make the site easier to use?

These results confirm our initial thoughts and are reflected in our plans to improve the site which should be online from August 2010. We are aware that the site has grown fairly large but not necessarily in a logical way and that it is hard to find content. We plan to reorganise a lot of the content and add more ways for people to find what they’re after. Hopefully this will address the large number of comments about navigating the site and finding information. We are also changing the design of the site to make it more consistent and replace the existing dark design which attracted some negative comments. We’ll make sure we consider accessibility when redesigning the site. We’ll be updating the site much more regularly and removing unnecessary content so it is much more relevant and useful rather than the current bloated site. We’ll be working on the membership system to try to make it easier to use however due to the arrangement we have with our website company we are unable to make too many changes to the system. By providing step-by-step guides we hope to reduce the problems people have had with it in the past. An update to the administration system is due shortly which will make it easier for students to edit their club or society’s area of the website and allow them to easily integrate news and events with Facebook. We’re already working on some of the other things students would like to see as part of our website. Our current list of projects includes online room bookings, a better events listing system, better integration of sports fixtures and results and information about what committees and officers have been doing. These will hopefully be introduced over the next year or so as they are developed.

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The Union We’ve been talking recently about our image, our reputation and updating our logo. As part of these discussions we wondered whether we should change the name we use from USSU to something else if people don’t actually call us USSU very often. We started our questionnaire with a question to ask people what they usually call us and the results back up our theory that not many people call us USSU. We gave people 5 options to pick from and an ‘other’ category, their responses are shown in Figure 28 and show that ‘The Students’ Union’ is what the majority of students call us. This is the name we have chosen to use with our revamped design and logo. Suggestion category

Mentions 19.6% 2.3% 18.1% 52.1% 6.3% 1.5%

USSU University of Sussex Students' Union The Union The Students' Union The SU Other;  All of the above, apart from 'The SU'  Student Union (2)  All of the above  Sussex Union  Less complimentary names (5) Figure 28: What do you normally call us?

USSU is a membership organisation but membership is automatic upon registration with the University of Sussex or Brighton & Sussex Medical School so we wondered how many people are aware that they are members so decided to ask people if they were members of USSU, the results are shown in Figure 29.

No 16.2% Yes 45.8% I'm not sure 38.0%

Figure 29: Are you a member of the University of Sussex Students' Union?

We were disappointed that of those eligible for membership (i.e. indicated that they are a current student at Sussex or BSMS) only 46% knew they were members and 16% thought they weren’t (see

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Figure 29). We clearly have a lot of work to do in this area as knowing you are a member of an organisation suggests you’d be more likely to be involved and interest in what it does and be aware that you have a say. We will make sure that our website and publicity materials make it clear to students that they are members of USSU and what this means for them. We will look at how we can work with the University to raise awareness of USSU membership during the registration process. We are re-examining our purpose to make sure we are relevant to students. To help us focus on what is important we asked students what they thought the primary purpose of USSU should be. Their responses are grouped in Figure 30. These responses will be used when considering our overall plan and purpose. Suggestion category Represent students, e.g. to University management, local community, nationally Support students, e.g. welfare services, advice Improve the student experience Organise events and social activities Reflect all students, e.g. involve postgraduates, be less partisan Provide activities, e.g. sports clubs, societies Provide services for students, e.g. shops, bars Make university life fun Make student life affordable, e.g. offer discounts, special offers with local companies Connect students, e.g. build a sense of community Listen to students Be democratic/student-led Serve students Provide skill and career development opportunities

Mentions 208 91 64 52 40 30 22 13 12 11 7 6 5 2

Figure 30: Overall, what do you think should be the main purpose of the Students' Union?

Obviously the most common response is that USSU should represent students. These answers included references to lobbying the University – “To voice students opinions to the University”, taking part in national student campaigns (e.g. on fees) – “To represent student interests in government and such”, as well as representing individuals – “To represent me if I need help”. USSU’s role as a support service to help students was mentioned by a large number of students, “Looking out for the welfare of all students”. Making sure people enjoy their time at University and ‘the student experience’ were also mentioned by lots of respondents, “To make sure everyone gets involved/enjoys their university experience”. Quite a number of comments addressed the topic of involving or representing all students. Some respondents felt that USSU focuses on 18-21 year old undergraduates and vocal political groups at the expense of others, echoing earlier comments. We have set up a group of staff and officers to focus on student groups that can be under-represented within USSU such as mature students and postgraduates. They will be able to use these results and other research we have done to establish other ways to involve these students. Whilst our questionnaire was quite thorough we wanted to know if there was anything else we could do to improve our members’ experiences as students so we asked for suggestions, these are collated in Figure 31. Suggestion category Improve events Focus less on international politics/banning things

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Mentions 36 28


Increase publicity, involvement and participation 18 Represent all students 16 Improve campus and Falmer House facilities 13 Work to stop cuts at the University 12 Support/improve sports clubs and societies 9 Support/include postgraduate students more 8 Improve USSU democracy and openness 7 Work for cheaper food/drink on campus 7 [Compliments about USSU] 6 Improve USSU bars 6 Support/include BSMS students more 5 Organise more non alcohol focused events 4 Work to integrate the University community 4 Campaign on student issues, e.g. fees, education quality 3 Decrease Library Square flyering/aggressive publicity methods 3 Encourage USSU officers to be more politically neutral 3 Focus on mental health and disabilities 3 Support students living off campus 3 Support/include mature students more 3 Support/include part-time students more 3 Support/include international students more 2 Other suggestions;  Improve transport for students  Don’t get involved with education  Don’t send emails  Organise more activities  Improve everything  Focus on housing  Get sponsorship (to generate more income)  Focus less on events  Support campaigns more Figure 31: Is there anything you feel the Student's Union could do to improve your experience as a student at Sussex/BSMS?

Once again, improving events, e.g. organising more events, getting well-known artists on the line-up, is a very popular response. As mentioned previously, we do not seem to always meet students’ high expectations in this area. The idea that USSU is heavily involved with international politics also reappears here with a large number of mentions. Another recurring theme is that of certain ‘groups’ of students, e.g. mature students and postgraduates, not feeling they are represented by USSU. This is, as discussed earlier in this report, an area we intend to address this year. Other comments and suggestions of areas for improvement or in which we could/should get involved will be addressed with our incoming full-time officers. One of the questions we’ve asked every year in our questionnaire is ‘Is the Union contributing positively to your experience at University?’. The results from the past five years in Figure 32 show that we have been improving over the last three years after a sudden decline from 2007 to 2008 and that we’ve achieved our second best result ever.

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100% 90%

27.1%

25.1% 35.8%

80%

33.6%

27.4%

No

70% 60% 50% 40%

Yes 72.9%

74.9%

30%

64.2%

66.4%

2008

2009

72.6%

20% 10% 0% 2006

2007

2010

Figure 32: Is the Union contributing positively to your experience at University?

Whilst we are proud that we’re improving, more than 1 in 4 students do not feel we are contributing positively to their experience at University. Hopefully by addressing the issues raised elsewhere in this questionnaire, from other sources of feedback and consultation with students we can improve our positive impact. Another question that we’ve asked every year is ‘What is your overall rating of the Students Union?’. Again, the collated results for the past five years are shown in Figure 33. 100% 90%

Excellent 7.6%

Excellent 6.5%

Excellent 3.3% Good 34.2%

80% 70%

Good 44.1%

Good 44.5%

Excellent 7.5%

Good 42.0%

60%

Excellent 10.7%

Good 47.8%

50% 40% 30%

Average 35.7%

Average 32.0%

20% 10% 0%

Poor 10.1% Terrible 2.6%

2006

Average 41.8%

Average 30.1%

Average 27.4%

Poor 11.0% Terrible 6.0%

Poor 13.7% Terrible 7.0%

Poor 15.0% Terrible 5.3%

Poor 8.4% Terrible 5.7%

2007

2008

2009

2010

Figure 33: What is your overall rating of the Students Union?

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These results show a definite improvement over previous years with USSU receiving high overall ratings; of 10 typical students, approximately 1 would think we’re excellent, 5 good, 2½ average, 1 poor and ½ a person terrible. More than half of our students think we are good or excellent and 86% think we are average, good or excellent. The fact remains that 14% of our students have a negative opinion of us and we will do our best to reduce this percentage. We are interested in our impact on students before they arrive at Sussex or BSMS and whether the things we do are part of their decision to come here. This year we rephrased the question we ask to assess this as we were not sure that students understood what we meant by it so we added the underlined section to the question; Did the services and/or facilities provided by the Students’ Union play any part in your decision to study at Sussex/BSMS?. The results are shown in Figure 34. Yes No

15.6% 84.4%

Figure 34: Did the services and/or facilities provided by the Students’ Union play any part in your decision to study at Sussex/BSMS?

These results show double the number of students answering yes than in previous years which can be largely attributed to the clearer question as we have not changed our student recruitment process activities. It will be interesting to see how our results change in future years using the rephrased question. Our final question asked students if they had any other comments they’d like to make. Their responses are summarised in Figure 35. Comment category General – compliment USSU should be more politically neutral General – criticism Comments on the questionnaire, e.g. length More publicity/communications from USSU Events – criticism USSU should be more representative of all students Societies – criticism USSU is not relevant to me Bars – compliment Bars – criticism Sport – criticism Societies – compliment UNISEX – compliment Other comments;  Don’t send emails  Don’t send emails  Reduce external flyering on campus  Media – compliment  Project V – compliment  Officers should be more accountable  Improve food on campus

Mentions 12 10 7 6 6 5 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 2

Figure 35: Are there any other comments you would like to make on any of the issues raised in this questionnaire?

It is nice to see so many complimentary comments either on USSU in general or particular services, e.g. “I think the Union is very supportive of societies” and “I think the Union really do have the students' best interests at heart”. The critical comments echo those made elsewhere in the questionnaire and previously discussed, e.g. “Don't ignore the issues of mature students with children” and “Try not to alienate politically moderate students from campaigns”.

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Conclusions Reading through the responses to our questionnaire can be somewhat emotionally draining for those involved in USSU as staff or officers as the Students’ Union seems to come in for a lot of criticism at times. Some students seem to feel that USSU is not relevant to their life as a student or that we are misguided in our opinions and actions. There are often comments which suggest things we are already doing or that we know aren’t possible for some reason. It is important not to dismiss these comments as they show that we need to improve how we communicate with our members, explaining our actions and showing them the full range of things that we do. Despite the negative nature of many responses we clearly are doing lots of things right as our overall ratings are generally quite good and a number of students complimented us on the things that we do. We should build on these things and use them to involve students in other areas of our work as well as replicating projects that work in other areas. The key areas to address seem to be our reputation, involving a wide range of students, communicating with our members and meeting or managing students’ expectations. We should do further analysis of our results to understand how different groups of students view us and our services and to work out how these opinions are shaped. We should also do further research in relevant areas to more fully understand our members.

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Recommendations These initial recommendations aim to highlight areas we should focus on. We will be using the full report and results in our planning to shape what we do as well as analysing data more specifically. These are not exhaustive and will be supplemented by additional projects and work in future. 

  

Communicate more effectively with students about why we are/aren’t doing things, how this was decided and that we are/aren’t doing it, e.g. to distinguish our actions from those of our societies or the University. Our reputation amongst students is often influenced by high-profile campaigns with which we are not always connected Focus on student groups that feel the Students’ Union is not currently relevant to them, e.g. postgraduates, part-time students, mature students, international students, BSMS students, students with caring responsibilities, politically moderate students Focus on providing value for money for students in all areas and justify our pricing and options Increase the variety of events we organise to involve more students, e.g. non-alcohol focused events, daytime events, events for postgraduate students Review our publicity and communications methods for all areas to increase the awareness of our services and activities amongst students. We can use some of the points raised in these results, e.g. reasons people choose not to vote in the elections, to improve our publicity. We should better promote USSU as a membership organisation and highlight to students that they are members Work to manage students’ expectations where we will not be able to meet them, e.g. explain that it is hard to keep event ticket prices down and feature famous artists. By being open about how we work, how our money is spent and how decisions are made hopefully students will understand how we decide to balance competing priorities, e.g. keeping drinks prices down but also generating enough income for USSU. We perhaps also need to be more transparent about our operating costs, for example Falmer Bar's rent and maintenance costs us over £70,000 a year, which is a lot given we have only 30 trading weeks Get involved with more local and student issue-based campaigns, particularly academic issues, (possibly at the expense of international themes) as these are areas identified by students as important to them. Some of the campaigning work carried out by USSU and our societies is offputting to many students (and sometimes intimidating) Address the cynicism expressed by some students about the work of USSU and its officers, e.g. by more widely publicising our achievements on relevant issues such as access to facilities and academic support

For further research and analysis;  We should do further analysis of our results to understand how different groups of students view us and our services and to work out how these opinions are shaped  We should also do further research in relevant areas to more fully understand our members, e.g. through focus groups For next year’s questionnaire;  Review the length of the questionnaire (several respondents commented that it was too long)  Target demographics that were under-represented in this year’s results, i.e. students aged under 21 and male students  Consider using paper forms to gather opinions from those who do not often check their email or who prefer not to fill in online surveys

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Appendix 1: Results summary 1. An easy one (hopefully!) to get you started, what do you normally call us? Response Percent 19.6% 2.3% 18.1% 52.1% 6.3% 1.5% answered question skipped question

Answer Options USSU University of Sussex Students' Union The Union The Students' Union The SU Other (please specify)

Response Count 143 17 132 379 46 11 728 1

About you Below we have compared the respondents to data provided by the University of Sussex (which does not include BSMS Students) who do not collect all of the same data that we do. This means that some data is not directly comparable but comparisons and variances have been listed as an indicator where possible. Note that results are rounded to the nearest % except for results less than 1 which are given to one decimal place hence there may be some sections which add up to slightly more than 100%. Variances of more than Âą10% are highlighted in red. Respondents 2. Age Under 21 40% 21-24 40% 25-28 8% 29-35 6% 36-44 3% 45-49 0.4% 50+ 2% 3. Gender Male 39% Female 60% Prefer not to select 1% 4. Status Foundation year or pre-degree course 2% Undergraduate 78% Taught Postgraduate 10% Research Postgraduate 8% Permanent member of staff 2% 5. National Status UK 83% Other EU 7% Outside EU 10% 6. Ethnicity White - British 74% White - Irish 2%

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University

Variance

59% 17% c8% c7% c5% c2% 2%

-19% +23% c0% c-1% c-2% c-1.6% 0%

55% 45% -

-16% +15% -

74% 17% 10% -

+4% -7% -2% -

82%

+1%

83%

+5%


White - Other 12% Mixed - White and black Caribbean 0.6% Mixed - White and black African 0.3% Mixed - White and Asian 2% Mixed - Other 2% Asian or Asian British – Indian 2% Asian or Asian British – Pakistani 0.1% Asian or Asian British – Bangladeshi 0.1% Asian or Asian British – Other 2% Black or black British – Caribbean 0.3% Black or black British – African 1% Black or black British – Other 0% Chinese 2% Other 3% 7. Do you have a disability? Yes 10% No 88% Unsure 2% 8. Do you have dependants? Yes 5% No 96% 9. Sexual orientation Heterosexual/straight 82% Gay man 3% Gay woman/lesbian 2% Bisexual 5% Other 1% Prefer not to say 6% 10. Mode of study Full time 95% Part time 6% 11. Year joined Sussex/BSMS 2010 2% 2009 39% 2008 26% 2007 22% 2006 7% 2005 2% 2004 0.7% 2003 0.6% 2002 0.3% 2001 or earlier 0% 12. Year of expected graduation 2010 34% 2011 28% 2012 27% 2013 8% 2014 2% 2015 0.4% After 2015 0.3%

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0.9% 0.4% 2% 2% 1% 0.5% 0.3% 3% 1% 3% 0.2% 2% 2%

-0.3% -0.1% 0% 0% +1% -0.4% -0.2% -1% -0.7% -2% -0.2% 0% +1%

10% 90% -

0% -2% -


13. Year of study 1 37% 2 30% 3 25% 4 6% 5 1% 5+ 0.6% 14. School of study Business, Management & Economics 8% Education & Social Work 2% Engineering & Design 4% English 13% Global Studies 12% History, Art History & Philosophy 10% Informatics 5% Law, Politics & Sociology 11% Mathematical & Physical Sciences 5% Life Sciences 11% Media, Film & Music 5% Psychology 10% Brighton & Sussex Medical School 3% Brighton Institute of Modern Music 0.4% Institute of Development Studies 0.1% SPRU 0.1% Centre for Community Engagement 0.3% Sussex Language Institute 0.1% 15. USSU involvement I work for USSU 11.7% I am a member of a club or society 80.2% committee I am a student rep 13.6% I am a USSU councillor 2.2% I am a part-time USSU officer 0.7% I am a full-time USSU officer 1.8% I am a USSU volunteer 4.4% I am a Badger/Pulse editor 4.8% I am a member of Activities, SMC 5.9% and/or Project V committee 16. Are you a member of the University of Sussex Students' Union? Response Percent 45.4% 17.4% 37.2% answered question skipped question

Answer Options Yes No I'm not sure

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Response Count 313 120 257 690 39


Union shops, bars, box office and events 17. When have you most recently used the following facilities?

Answer Options Falmer Bar East Slope Bar The Cube Union Store (York House) Union Shop (Falmer House) Union News (Bramber House) Box Office (Falmer House)

In the last week

In the last month

267 145 12 214 309 160 17

155 107 32 108 145 138 67

In the last three months 63 86 20 74 68 116 47

In the last six months

In the last year

52 60 31 48 25 59 34

26 74 98 50 19 38 38

More than a year ago

Never

22 43 80 72 164 257 61 70 13 49 22 89 38 378 answered question skipped question

Response Count 628 624 614 625 628 622 619 632 97

18. If you have not used some or all of these facilities please tell us why not Comment category Not needed/not interested/not relevant Didn’t know about it/them Cube – bad reputation/experience Don’t live on campus Use other facilities Outlets are not very good, e.g. quality, price Inconvenient location on campus, e.g. far from residence/department Too busy Cube – not open very often Not convenient opening times, e.g. weekend, for part-time students Don’t drink alcohol Not suitable for postgraduate/mature students Use online box office Box office – no relevant tickets available

Mentions 105 71 39 32 16 14 11 7 6 6 5 5 4 3

19. How would rate these Students’ Union outlets? Answer Options Falmer Bar East Slope Bar The Cube Union Store (York House) Union Shop (Falmer House) Union News (Bramber House) Box Office (Falmer House)

Excellent (1) 124 73 4 63 92 77 32

(2) 260 214 14 206 233 183 74

OK (3) 174 193 76 230 206 212 117

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(4) 18 50 78 41 36 52 20

Rubbish (5) 9 25 197 14 9 17 11

I haven't Rating used it Average 42 2.19 71 2.53 253 4.22 69 2.53 47 2.37 82 2.54 365 2.62 answered question skipped question

Response Count 627 626 622 623 623 623 619 630 99


20. Do you have any suggestions to improve these facilities? Comment category Lower prices Cube suggestions, e.g. publicity, acts, themes Increase variety of options East Slope Bar suggestions, e.g. improve the atmosphere, refurbish Falmer Bar food suggestions, e.g. pricing, increase range Falmer Bar suggestions, e.g. improve the atmosphere, refurbish, fix toilets (4) Improve customer service, e.g. staff attitude, more staff available East Slope Bar food suggestions, e.g. pricing, increase range Remove product bans, e.g. Coca-Cola Accommodate more diets, e.g. vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free Change opening times Improve consistency of stock levels Falmer Shop suggestions, e.g. more lunch options, more drinks, larger range Union Store suggestions, e.g. stock more products, better quality Offer more healthy food options Sell (alcoholic) spirits Increase publicity Union News suggestions, e.g. opening hours, range Environmental, e.g. use local suppliers, organic, don’t use plastic bags

Mentions 76 45 21 16 16 15 11 11 9 7 7 7 5 4 4 4 4 3 3

21. Which, if any, of these events coordinated by the Students' Union have you attended? Response Percent UNITE (first Sunday of freshers in Falmer House) 18.3% Laid back & Latte 16.1% Pier Party 28.2% Brightonian Nights 22.4% Barn dance 16.6% Freshers Festival 45.4% Freshers Ball 56.6% Diwali 2.4% USSU introducing... (band night at East Slope) 18.3% Chinese New year 0.6% Superbowl at East Slope 7.7% St. Patricks Day 7.7% Elections Night at East Slope 26.5% CHEERS! 7.1% Sports awards 8.0% Dissertation Dash 40.6% Graduation Ball (plan to attend) 23.9% None (are there any reasons why you did not?) (see table below) answered question skipped question Answer Options

Reason for not attending USSU events

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Response Count 85 75 131 104 77 211 263 11 85 3 36 36 123 33 37 189 111 113 465 264 Mentions


Was not aware of events *Not suitable for mature students, e.g. I’m too old, aimed at younger students Too busy/have other commitments *Not suitable for postgraduates, e.g. aimed at undergrads, wouldn’t be postgrads there Events are not appealing Events take place on campus Events are too expensive Bad reputation/experience of USSU events Don’t live locally Friends didn’t go/didn’t have anyone to go with Don’t like ‘organised fun’ *Events are aimed at Freshers Childcare problems/family commitments ‘I don’t drink alcohol’ 22. Which were the best and worst events you've attended? % of attendees

Event Best event 1 CHEERS! Society, volunteering & media awards 2 Sports awards ball 3 Dissertation Dash 4 *Brightonian Nights (pub crawl) 5 *Laid back & Latte 6 Elections Night at East Slope 7 *Freshers Festival 8 *Barn dance 9 *UNITE (first Sunday of freshers in Falmer House) 10 *Pier Party 11 *Freshers Ball 12 USSU introducing... (band night at East Slope) 13 Graduation Ball (plan to attend) 14 Diwali Worst event 1 *Freshers Ball 2 Diwali 3 *Pier Party 4 *UNITE (first Sunday of freshers in Falmer House) 5 *Freshers Festival 6 *Barn dance 7 *Laid back & Latte 8 Sports awards ball 9 USSU introducing... (band night at East Slope) 10 Dissertation Dash 11 Elections Night at East Slope 12 *Brightonian Nights (pub crawl) 13 CHEERS! Society, volunteering & media awards 14 Graduation Ball (plan to attend)

38

55% 46% 44% 41% 35% 24% 27% 23% 20% 18% 11% 8% 5% 0% 58% 36% 23% 18% 16% 14% 13% 11% 11% 10% 8% 8% 3% 3%

22 17 17 14 14 11 11 7 5 4 4 3 3 2


23. Please rank these aspects of events from 1-7 in order of importance to you where 1 is the most important and 7 is the least important (i.e. you can only rank one thing as 1, one as 2 etc) 1 - Most 7 - Least Rating Response Answer Options 2 3 4 5 6 important important Average Count Cheap ticket price 209 170 73 34 10 8 2 2.01 506 Central Brighton location 35 51 115 94 70 69 72 4.20 506 Well-known acts/bands 83 59 90 99 88 52 34 3.68 505 Selection of acts at same event 20 28 48 104 140 113 56 4.73 509 (i.e. several arenas) Additional entertainment (e.g. 12 29 44 70 103 125 146 5.23 529 magicians, attractions, rides ) Cheap drink prices 138 160 95 48 33 24 36 2.80 534 Food provided 26 51 72 77 72 114 138 4.84 550 answered question 568 skipped question 161 24. If you could make one improvement to Freshers Week, what would it be? Comment category *Freshers Ball, e.g. not in a nightclub, reduce queues, cheaper drinks Ticket/drinks prices, e.g. cheaper tickets, cheaper drinks, free events More variety/more events More non-alcohol based events Improve bands/music, e.g. more famous bands, more rock music More events for mature, postgraduate, part-time and international students Improve publicity, e.g. for postgraduates, more information in advance More daytime events More opportunities to get to know other students Activities based around each residence, e.g. York House BBQ, get to know flatmates Improve event quality Introduce students to Brighton, e.g. more events in Brighton Include non-Freshers, e.g. make returning students feel welcome *Freshers Festival, e.g. make it an evening event, allow students to come and go More departmental/school based activities Make better use of on campus venues More events for students not living on campus Increase event capacity, e.g. Barn Dance was sold out *Freebies Fair, e.g. more free things *Freshers Fair, e.g. more maps of the fair layout Have a big event for the first day/evening Avoid scheduling clashes with major religious festivals Have a casual sport event *Pier Party

Mentions 49 43 41 30 24 20 16 15 12 11 10 7 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1

25. Do you have any comments about Students' Union events or suggestions for how to improve them? Comment category Mentions Make events cheaper 23 Events for a diverse range of students, e.g. mature, postgraduate, international, BSMS 20

39


Increase variety/quantity of events, e.g. daytime events, cultural/arts events Improve/increase publicity General praise Incorporate more well known acts/artists Fewer alcohol focused events Freshers Ball – general comments, e.g. venue, artists, atmosphere Reflect what students want Unifest – repeat this event Incorporate more live music Dissertation dash – general comments, e.g. compliments, make it bigger Sports Ball – general comments, e.g. venue, ticket price Organise more events on campus Improve quality of events Work with Brighton Students’ Union to organise joint events Graduation Ball – general comments Organise more events in Brighton (rather than on campus) General suggestions Alter event policies, e.g. allow re-entry and let students bring in their own food Don’t bother competing with events in Brighton

18 16 12 10 8 8 6 6 5 4 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 1

Campaigning, lobbying & services 26. Please name any campaigns you've been aware of at Sussex/BSMS this year Campaign University cuts, e.g. ‘Stop the Cuts’ (232), ‘Sussex Six (40) Referenda & policy, e.g. ‘Boycott Israeli goods (47)’, ‘Ban endangered species’ (22) Societies (including campaigns organised by them), e.g. ‘Palestine’ (17), ‘Shell oil’ (3) Elections (national & USSU) , e.g. ‘Union elections’ (5), ‘Vote Green’ (3)` USSU & University health, welfare & environment campaigns, e.g. ‘Rate Your Landlord’ (4), ‘Chlamydia screening’ (4) Others, e.g. ‘Ban everything’ (7), ‘Save linguistics’ (3)

Mentions 322 78 53 17 15 30

27. What do you think of the balance of campaigns USSU is involved in? Answer Options University issues, e.g. access to the library, course closures Local student issues, e.g. quality of housing Local other issues, e.g. parking in Brighton National student issues, e.g. top-up fees, student visas National other issues, e.g. national environmental policy International issues, e.g. international human rights

28. Which of the following statements do you agree with?

40

Too much 64 11 32 41 111 152

Just Too right little 388 109 275 266 328 188 355 156 332 107 315 85 answered question skipped question

Response Count 561 552 548 552 550 552 563 166


Answer Options I would know where to go or who to contact if I had a concern about a decision being made by the Students' Union I can influence my education at Sussex/BSMS The Students' Union lobbies the University on my behalf The Students' Union runs campaigns that are relevant to me

I agree

I disagree

Response Count

241

328

569

245 318 379 184 328 239 answered question skipped question

563 563 567 572 157

29. How important are these issues to you as a student? Answer Options

Very important (1)

(2)

Quite important (3)

(4)

Not important (5)

Doesn't apply to me

Rating Average

Academic issues, e.g. quality of 501 57 15 2 0 4 1.16 teaching Academic facililties on campus, 449 89 35 2 0 3 1.29 e.g. library, lecture theatre Non-academic facilities on 189 182 138 46 19 4 2.17 campus, e.g. sports centre, cafes Childcare 30 23 35 16 37 435 3.05 Crime 111 133 174 86 44 29 2.67 Debt/money issues 147 171 154 63 22 23 2.36 Health and wellbeing 198 179 158 33 8 2 2.09 Housing 199 183 119 24 15 35 2.02 Socialising 210 195 108 36 23 6 2.07 Feeling part of the local 109 159 166 79 53 11 2.66 community Balancing study and other 266 150 133 17 9 5 1.87 commitments The environment 148 152 159 61 45 2 2.47 International politics 71 102 126 121 128 25 3.24 Other (please specify)  Feeling part of the student community is very important but not a lot of outreach is done for postgrads and part time students!  My sports team and it's success, both at tournaments and as a unit etc.  National politics!  These issues are very important to me outside of Uni. I take my politics very seriously BUT I am a mature student - my focus is my degree - I have and will again be involved in politics.  State of the Union's finances  events for international students and more organised structure for us. To me this is very important, especially when one is new to the country, no family etc. International students ambassadors/representatives could be useful. i.e east anglia university  Vegetarianism; options in cafes etc  lack of common rooms  societies  international politics- very important. the but the way USSU assumes they know whats right, make an opinion, and speak about it as if they are representing the entire body when relly its representing the few that cared enought o vote because the rest feel unprepresented - i rather have no part in it because soemtimes being 'represented' under this 'voted' agenda disgusts me.

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Respons e Count 579 578 578 576 577 580 578 575 578 577 580 567 573

10


answered question skipped question 30. Do you have any suggestions for issues that you'd like to see USSU campaigning on in the future? Suggestion category [Criticism of current campaign activity] [Should be more local/fewer international campaigns] Campus food & drink, e.g. choice, late night access, prices Sport, e.g. access to facilities/cost Environment, e.g. recycling facilities, awareness, animal rights Support for disabled students, e.g. access, mental health awareness Opposing cuts, e.g. course closures Library, e.g. building works, access to resources Tuition fees & funding, e.g. limiting fees, reducing fees Student welfare, e.g. Nightline service, pastoral system, health Campus housing, e.g. cost Specific international issues, e.g. Darfur, Israel Education quality, e.g. more contact time Improvements to USSU, e.g. governance, publicity, The Badger Other campus issues, e.g. contractor behaviour, flyering, student jobs, drug use Campus events, e.g. more bands, more events Support for female students, e.g. work with NUS, officer position Improve students’ reputation with the community Campus facilities, e.g. lecture theatres, common rooms University policies, e.g. assessment submission, complaints process, drug research ethics Safety Transport, e.g. campus parking, bus prices [Supportive of existing campaigns] Anti-discrimination, e.g. sexism, homophobia, classism Human rights ‘Non-traditional’ students, e.g. mature, postgraduate, part-time Widening access to Higher Education

Mentions 29 16 13 10 10 7 6 6 7 6 5 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 1

31. Which of these services have you heard of? Which of them have you used? Answer Options

Heard of

Used

Student reps Advice Centre (Falmer House) Sports clubs, e.g. football, frisbee Societies, e.g. choir, environmental Volunteering through Project V UNISEX drop-in

550 (523) 104 569 (450) 75 564 (495) 160 538 (454) 217 488 (461) 47 488 (489) 95 answered question skipped question

Response Count 564 488 569 550 488 538 578 151

This table (and report) uses adjusted figures to add in people who said they’d used a service but had not also indicated that they’d heard of a service. The figures in brackets are the actual results from the questionnaire.

42

580 149


32. Do you have any comments about these services either generally or specifically (e.g. a particular club/society)? If you answered no to some or all of the questions above we're interested in why you think you have not heard of and/or used them Suggestion category UNISEX – compliments, e.g. shouldn’t be closed down, useful service Societies – criticism, e.g. specific societies, publicity throughout the year Sport – criticism, e.g. inaccessible, access to facilities Not needed them/not interested Societies – compliments, e.g. specific societies, variety Sport – compliments, e.g. specific clubs General lack of awareness General compliments Too busy to use them, e.g. family commitments, BSMS lecture clashes Advice – compliments, e.g. useful service Advice – criticism, e.g. opening hours Advice – lack of awareness Student reps – lack of awareness Project V – lack of awareness Student Reps – criticism, e.g. access to student reps UNISEX – criticism, e.g. not necessary Project V – compliments, e.g. good opportunity for students Societies – lack of awareness Student Reps – compliments, e.g. important pastoral service UNISEX – lack of awareness

Tone

Mentions 21 15 13 12 7 6 5 4 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 1

                   

Union democracy 33. Which of these statements apply to you? Response Percent I voted in this year's full-time officer (sabbatical) elections in February 79.7% I have considered running for a full-time officer position 14.6% I have considered running for a part-time officer position 9.0% I have considered running for a Union Councillor position 5.4% I understand what a full-time officer does 62.8% I understand what a part-time officer does 41.7% I understand how decisions are made in the Students' Union 39.4% I would like to be more involved in USSU decision-making 25.9% I know how to get involved in USSU decision-making 25.0% I attended the AGM (Annual General Meeting) in November 27.0% I attended the EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) in March 24.8% I voted in the referendum on boycotting Israeli goods in October 41.9% answered question skipped question Answer Options

Response Count 354 65 40 24 279 185 175 115 111 120 110 186 444 285

34. What affected your decision whether or not to vote in the full time officer elections in February?

43


46 39 33 22 18 18 16 16 5 5 4 3

Students who DID vote (202) It is important to vote Publicity (USSU & candidates) To have my say To vote for particular candidate(s) Knew candidate(s) It was easy To vote against particular candidate(s) To influence USSU Experience of current officers Member of a campaign team My friends told me to To get more involved

22 14 14 12 12 11 6 4 4 3 2 2

Students who DIDN’T vote (102) Not interested Didn't know about it Wasn't on campus I am leaving soon It wouldn't make a difference Didn't know about candidates/policies Too busy Don't understand how it works Forgot Candidates hassled me too much Didn't know how Couldn't be bothered

35. What affected your decision whether or not to attend the AGM in November? 24 8 7 4 4 4 3 3 2 1 1 1

Students who DID attend (63) To have my say/it is important To vote AGAINST the motions To shape USSU To represent ‘the silent majority’ To ensure enough people attended To know what is going on Friends The issues on the agenda To vote FOR motions I am a student rep It is fun To make a difference

57 45 26 20 14 14 12 12 10 8 4 2 1 1 1

Students who DIDN’T attend (215) Didn’t know what it was/about it Too busy Not interested/relevant Lecture commitments Coursework Not on campus/in Brighton It is pointless Prior (negative) experience Others are intolerant/intimidating Work commitments The issues on the agenda Ill Childcare problems Find out outcomes later No disabled access

Communications 36. During this academic year, how often have you read/used the following? Answer Options The Badger newspaper The Pulse magazine Our website - www.ussu.info The Badger Online URF (University Radio Falmer)

Regularly

A few times

Once

231 23 54 14 12

208 63 344 111 68

62 98 76 73 60

I haven't heard of it 60 8 249 132 80 12 247 118 303 121 answered question skipped question

Not at all

37. Do you have any suggestions for improving any of the above services?

44

Response Count 569 565 566 563 564 569 160


Suggestion category Improve/support URF, e.g. play URF in campus shops, improve reliability Advertise them all better and make them more accessible Improve/support The Badger, e.g. improve distribution on campus, reduce text errors Improve/support The Pulse, e.g. promote it more effectively Improve/support The Badger Online, e.g. update it regularly, use video Make The Badger more politically neutral Improve www.ussu.info, e.g. make it easier to use Scrap one or all of these outlets Integrate the different outlets better Use email/social networking as well/instead

Mentions 59 26 19 18 18 17 9 4 3 3

38. Do you feel that you are well informed about Students' Union activities and services? Response Response Answer Options Percent Count Yes 62.4% 349 No 37.6% 210 answered question 559 skipped question 170 39. We're planning to launch an email newsletter. What sort of content should we include in it... Response Response Answer Options Percent Count Upcoming USSU events 90.6% 502 Upcoming events in Brighton 67.9% 376 News from USSU 82.5% 457 News from Brighton 41.0% 227 Updates on USSU campaigns 68.8% 381 Information about decisions made by USSU committees 73.5% 407 Information on what full-time officers have been doing 60.3% 334 Special offers/discounts 78.3% 434 Competitions 48.2% 267 Random stuff like silly YouTube clips 29.1% 161 Other (please specify) (see below) 48 answered question 554 skipped question 175 Other comments for email newsletter content Not ‘random stuff’ Information about clubs and societies, e.g. fixture details, updates on activities [This is a good idea] [This is a bad idea] USSU updates, e.g. opening times, information on full-time officers’ activities Jobs University events Other suggestions;  National student news

45

Mentions 9 8 6 6 4 2 2


     

Opt-in to different sections Fun/less political than other media Information on Brighton-based events Classified ads, e.g. book sales Tips and information, e.g. recipes How to get involved in USSU

Information relevant to USSU campaigns, e.g. UCU updates Customised for undergraduates/postgraduates

40. ... and hypothetically how often would you like to receive an email newsletter from us? Response Response Answer Options Percent Count Weekly 13.6% 78 Fortnightly 43.0% 247 Monthly 37.8% 217 Never 5.6% 32 answered question 574 skipped question 155 41. We're also planning to redo our website, www.ussu.info. Have you got any suggestions? Are there any things you'd like to be able to do online through our website that you can't currently? How can we make our website easier to use? Suggestion category Mentions Navigation, e.g. make it easier to find things, improve search, improve menu layout 37 Improve design, e.g. lighter design, more coherent layout & colours 21 Update content more regularly and fix broken links 15 Improve membership system, e.g. make it easier 5 No changes necessary 4 More information for people running clubs and societies 3 Make the site easier for clubs and societies to edit 2 Accessibility, e.g. less reliance on images, larger font 2 Integrate with Facebook, e.g. events listings, memberships 2 Improve ticket sales system, e.g. don’t request demographic data, easier to log-in 2 Other new/improved content suggestions;  Surveys/petitions  Comments  Forums  Opening times  Online room bookings  Sports results  Offers & deals  Minutes from USSU meetings (3)  Events listing & calendar  Information on officers’ decisions (3)  Integrate The Badger  Change web address  More interactivity  Jobs  Make it easier to contact societies & reps  Campaign updates  Increase loading speed  Online TV  Link to Sussex Direct  Online chat/help  Shops & bars information  Updates on NUS & University VCEG The Union

46


42. Overall, what do you think should be the main purpose of the Students' Union? Suggestion category Represent students, e.g. to University management, local community, nationally Support students, e.g. welfare services, advice Improve the student experience Organise events and social activities Reflect all students, e.g. involve postgraduates, be less partisan Provide activities, e.g. sports clubs, societies Provide services for students, e.g. shops, bars Make university life fun Make student life affordable, e.g. offer discounts, special offers with local companies Connect students, e.g. build a sense of community Listen to students Be democratic/student-led Serve students Provide skill and career development opportunities

Mentions 208 91 64 52 40 30 22 13 12 11 7 6 5 2

43. Is there anything you feel the Student's Union could do to improve your experience as a student at Sussex/BSMS? Suggestion category Mentions Improve events 36 Focus less on international politics/banning things 28 Increase publicity, involvement and participation 18 Represent all students 16 Improve campus and Falmer House facilities 13 Work to stop cuts at the University 12 Support/improve sports clubs and societies 9 Support/include postgraduate students more 8 Improve USSU democracy and openness 7 Work for cheaper food/drink on campus 7 [Compliments about USSU] 6 Improve USSU bars 6 Support/include BSMS students more 5 Organise more non alcohol focused events 4 Work to integrate the University community 4 Campaign on student issues, e.g. fees, education quality 3 Decrease Library Square flyering/aggressive publicity methods 3 Encourage USSU officers to be more politically neutral 3 Focus on mental health and disabilities 3 Support students living off campus 3 Support/include mature students more 3 Support/include part-time students more 3 Support/include international students more 2 Other suggestions;  Improve transport for students  Don’t get involved with education  Don’t send emails  Organise more activities  Improve everything  Focus on housing  Get sponsorship (to generate more income)  Focus less on events  Support campaigns more

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44. Is the Union contributing positively to your experience at University? Response Percent 72.6% 27.4% answered question skipped question

Answer Options Yes No

Response Count 403 152 555 174

45. What is your overall rating of the Students Union? Answer Options Excellent Good Average Poor Terrible

Response Percent 10.7% 47.8% 27.4% 8.4% 5.7% answered question skipped question

Response Count 60 267 153 47 32 559 170

46. Did the services and/or facilities provided by the Students’ Union play any part in your decision to study at Sussex/BSMS? Response Response Answer Options Percent Count Yes 15.6% 87 No 84.4% 469 answered question 556 skipped question 173 47. Are there any other comments you would like to make on any of the issues raised in this questionnaire? Comment category Mentions General – compliment 12 USSU should be more politically neutral 10 General – criticism 7 Comments on the questionnaire, e.g. length 6 More publicity/communications from USSU 6 Events – criticism 5 USSU should be more representative of all students 4 Societies – criticism 3 USSU is not relevant to me 3 Bars – compliment 2 Bars – criticism 2 Sport – criticism 2 Societies – compliment 2 UNISEX – compliment 2 Other comments;

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  

Don’t send emails Media – compliment Officers should be more accountable

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Reduce external flyering on campus Project V – compliment Improve food on campus

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Big Questionnaire 2010 Report