If you're a student at the University of Bristol, congratulations! You're officially a member of Bristol Students' Union!
Your students' union is for all Bristol students, led by elected representatives working to get you the best from your time at university.
Want to see what we mean by that? Click here to see what we've done for students recently.
Whether you're looking to pursue your hobbies, improve your employability, make a difference or just blaze your own trail. If there’s anything you want or think needs to change, we’re here to listen to and support you, so get in touch.
The University of Bristol Students' Union is a membership organisation democratically led by students, supported by a staff team who run the day to day activities and services provided by the organisation. The Students' Union provides the infrastructure for enabling the Bristol SU strategy, vision, mission and values. Improving the student experience and ensuring that the organisation meets the needs of its members is at the core of our purpose.
One of our core values is sustainable futures. As such we've put together this document to summarise the key aspects of activity within Bristol SU, their relative environmental impact and steps being taken to mitigate their negative impact.
Twice a year we elect over 600 students like you who represent students on issues around course quality, cost of accommodation and improving the experience at the University of Bristol.
Our elections take place in October and March.
The Annual Members Meeting (AMM) is the SU’s biggest democratic event and any student can attend and vote on new policy.
You can also submit a motion in advance of the meeting that if passed, will become SU policy for the next three years.
Student Council is the primary representative forum of the Students’ Union. It creates policy which directs the focus of the elected officers.
Members discuss and vote on motions submitted by students and any that pass become active SU policy.
Why Bristol SU exists - our charitable purposes (or objects)
We are not for profit, so any income we make from our commercial services goes straight back into providing services for students. We are governed by charity law, which affects what we can spend money on and we work with other Students’ Unions and affiliated bodies to help us achieve this. Our purposes are about advancing the education of students at the University by:
Our purposes, also known as the objects of the Union, are stated on page 4 of the Union's Articles, our governing document.
Charities, Donations & Ultra Vires
Student groups are legally part of the Students’ Union, and so the laws regarding charitable companies also apply to student groups, and affect what the Union and societies can spend their money on.
The purposes (objects) for which Bristol SU may spend its funds are defined on page 4 of the Union’s Articles. Any expenditure other than for those purposes stated is classed as Ultra Vires and is therefore illegal.
The Golden Rules
Ultra Vires is a phrase used legally to mean anything beyond our stated aim. Legally we are not allowed to make any ‘ultra vires’ payments, so we cannot spend money on things that are not achieving the stated purpose/object of the Union or the society. Any donations are also affected by the legal rules on charitable companies – in their most basic form, this means Bristol SU cannot donate union money to other charities, political parties, campaigns or trade unions.
When considering Ultra Vires we use the following three ‘golden rules’.
The most common examples of Ultra Vires are:
We are not for profit, so any income we make from our commercial services goes straight back into providing services for students.
Opting out of Union membership
If you decide you no longer want to benefit from your free membership to your students’ union, you can opt out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, addressing the Chief Executive with your request. It will only apply to that academic year and if you wish to remain opted out in future years you will need to send an email each year,
If you are just looking to receive fewer emails from us, you don’t need to opt out of membership, you can change your communication preferences here, however there are still some emails that we're required to send you regardless of opt in status.
Please note that only full members get to vote in elections for your student representatives.