The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

Roles up for Election

This term we will be electing a wide range of roles:

  • Full-Time Officers
  • Chairs of Networks  
  • Faculty Reps for undergraduate and postgraduate research courses
  • Course Reps for continuing students
  • Student Trustees

Nominations are open from 1st February and close at 9pm on 25th February. Voting takes place 9th - 11th March, with results on 12th March. 

+ Full Time Officers

Every year, 7 students are elected to work full-time to improve the lives of students at Bristol. They are the voice of Bristol students, play a key role in shaping education and services at the University, and lead the SU as an organisation to make sure it is doing everything it can for its members.

What would I be doing?

It's a big role, but a rewarding one. You'll try your hand at lots of different things and each day will feel a bit different. That said, we can say there are probably 5 key things you'll be doing:

  • You'll be representing students by being the student voice on University committees, gathering student views throguh forums, consultations and research projects, and speaking for Bristol students in local and national media
  • You'll campaign for change, lobbying the University and local or national government to change what they are doing in the interests of Bristol students, and working in collaboration to implement the changes students are asking for
  • You'll support and inspire all the amazing student leaders we work with, from Sports Club Captians to Faculty Representatives and, of course, our amazing Chairs of Networks. Every Full-Time Officer has at least 2 student Chairs assigned to them and at least one type of student leader/volunteers that they work with and support
  • You'll help to organise and deliver events and community building activities related to your area, from the Varsity Series to the Richmond lectures, and everything in between
  • You'll be part of Bristol SU's Leadership Team, working with other Officers and experienced SU staff to keep the organisation heading in the right direction. You'll also take on the important responsibility of being a Trustee on the SU's Trustee Board, helping to ensure the Bristol SU is complying with the law, financially sound and continuing to deliver for students.

Don’t worry if that sounds like a big step up - you’ll get plenty of support along the way! Bristol SU has a staff team with professional skills in everything from research to events planning. Most importantly, they are experts in helping students like you to learn and develop so you can be as effective as possible in your role.

Click here to see what the current officer team has been up to this year, and scroll down for full descriptions of the roles.

Why should I run?

Make a lasting change to students’ lives - This is the big one: no matter how good your time at Bristol might have been, we imagine there are things you wish were different or aspects you think could be improved. As an Officer you can make that change happen - slashing the price of sport, designing a £1 million wellbeing service, . If you want to keep making change, you’ll leave with the skills and experience to do it effectively for the rest of your life. If you don’t, you’ll leave Bristol knowing you helped make things better for the students coming after you. Both sound great to us!

Get to know the University like you never have before - Officers are a vital part of University decision-making, sitting on committees at every level and working with senior staff from every Faculty and Service. You’ll gain understanding of how things can change and improve at a University, and be able to go straight to decision-makers to make that change happen.

Be part of a vibrant community  - With 5 other full-time officers, 50+ staff  and 100s of student leaders and volunteers, you’ll get to know some pretty amazing people. We’re not overstating it when we say that Bristol SU is one of the most social, inclusive and energising places to work we’ve ever seen.

Think of it as the most unique grad scheme out there - Where else could you step straight into the top leadership role of a £4 million organisation? We’ll invest time and money developing you as a leader, and help you build skills in your areas of focus - marketing, journalism, policy, research, events and much more. Previous Officers have used their experience to do some pretty amazing things and we’re excited to see where you will be in 5 years time!


Full Time Roles

International Students' Officer: represents international students on all aspects of the international student experience

Undergraduate Education Officer:  represents undergraduate students on learning and teaching experience and academic and welfare-related support matters

Postgraduate Education Officer:  represents postgraduate taught and research students on academic and welfare matters 

Union Affairs Officer:  represents students in terms of how they interact with Bristol SU through democracy, communications and services, and leads on support for societies, volunteering and RAG

Equality, Liberation and Access Officer:  represents students on equality, diversity and widening participation issues, and ensures that all students’ voices are represented within the SU and University

Student Living Officer:  represents students on accommodation, finance, and wellbeing issues, as well as on their interaction with the local community

Sport and Student Development Officer:  represents students on sport, exercise and health issues, as well as on issues relating to students' personal development.

+ Chairs of Networks

Networks are the grassroots of representation and campaigning at Bristol SU, bringing students together to work on different issues, like Wellbeing and Sport, or representing different types of students, like LGBT+ or international students. Networks work closely with Full-Time Officers to run campaigns, hold events, and to get things changed at the SU or University.

As Chair, you would be the lead representative for your Network or area, working with a committee or volunteers to run its activities. As a key voice in the SU, you’ll also be a part of Student Council and Standing Committee, where you’ll speak up for students in your Network and make sure the Full-Time Officers are acting in their interests.

We make sure you’ve got the resources and support to do all of this. You’ll be able to bid for money from the SU’s Campaigns Fund, and can get professional support in planning campaigns, holding events and marketing your activities. And remember: you won’t be by yourself with the role. You’ll have at least one Full-Time Officer working to support you, a committee or volunteers from your Network, and you can always drop into the SU for a chat with Officers or staff. 

Click here to find out more about what Networks got up to last year, and scroll down for descriptions of of each Chair role up for election


Why should I run?

Make a real difference - You will genuinely improve students’ lives - whether it’s a policy that gets changed because of your campaign, or a student who finds their feet through the Network community you’ve built. You’ll learn how to maximise the impact of your work and pass this knowledge on to your successor so that we can keep making progress.

Meet some amazing people - One of the best parts of Networks is the way they bring students together to work on the issues they care about. You’ll inspire and support each other, and hopefully have a lot of fun along the way.

Build skills that make a difference - You’ll develop the skills you need to be an effective campaigner, community organiser and leader. Depending on your focus, you can also get hands-on experience with marketing, events planning or policy development. At the end of your year, you might even think about running to be a Full-Time Officer!

Click on the links below to find out more about each specific Network Chair role

Chairs of Networks roles:

Chairs of Liberation and Identity Networks:

Mature Students, Parents and Carers Network

Care Leavers and Estranged Students Network

Women's Network

Disabled Students Network

Black Students' Network

BAME Network

LGBT+ Network

Trans Network

International Students Network

Widening Participation Network 

Multifaith Network

Chairs of Interests and Opportunites Networks:​

Societies Network

Sports Network

Chair of Student Council 

Chairs of Student Living Networks:​

Wellbeing Network

Sustainability Network

Volunteering and Fundraising Network

+ Faculty Reps

Currently electing: Postgraduate Research Faculty Reps and Undergraduate Faculty Reps for all Faculties..

Faculty Reps are the lead academic reps for their Faculty, working together with the Full-Time Education Officers to form the Education Network Committee. As a leader in your Faculty, you will play a vital role in supporting, consulting with and building community amongst other academic reps in your Faculty (course reps or PGR reps). As a leader in the Education Network, you will be a key voice on educational issues at the University and help to shape our campaigning on higher-education policy nationally too.

With full membership of Student Council and Standing Committee, you’ll also be a valuable voice in our democratic structures. You’ll make sure that SU policies and campaigns take into account the needs of students in your faculty, and that other representatives are aware of the issues facing them.


Why should I run?

Be part of the big conversations - Faculty Reps look beyond the experiences on individual courses. From the redesign of all curricula at Bristol, to the future of Higher Education funding, you’ll often be working on the big picture and helping to make some really big changes to the student experience.

Develop your skills - You’ll be invited to our residential development programme and a range of training opportunities through the year, growing your leadership, policy and campaigning skills. You’ll also learn to chair meetings and improve your public speaking!

A great step in your career - If you are interested in a career in academia, this role will be particularly beneficial, as it will give you meaningful committee experience and insight into decision-making and policy-setting processes in Higher Education.


Roles Available

There are 18 Faculty Rep positions in total, with each Faculty having a rep for Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research students. 

Find out more about the Undergraduate Faculty Rep role here

Find out more about the Postgraduate Research Faculty Rep role here

+ Course Reps

Course Reps are elected by students to represent them on academic issues. There is usually at least one rep for each year of every course at the University. As a course rep you’ll be a direct link between your coursemates, academic staff and Bristol SU. You’ll help tackle issues like problems with units or assessments on your course, and you’ll be part of the conversation of how to improve education across the University.

You’ll automatically become a member of the Education Network, which brings together course reps and academic societies to work together to tackle education issues. You’ll also become a full voting member of Student Council, ensuring students on your course have a voice in key SU decisions.

What will I do as a course rep?

The main responsibilities of a course rep are to:

  • Gather feedback from other students in your year about their experiences
  • Work with staff and students to help find solutions by:
    • bringing your findings to meetings with academic staff
    • providing a student perspective in decision-making
    • working with other reps on your course or in your department
  • Communicating outcomes and updates back to your coursemates


Why should I run?

Ensure students get a great education - There are always things that could be improved about your course. As an effective rep you will work with staff to identify issues and make change happen, meaning your course gets better every year.

Gain new insights into your course - You’ll work closely with the staff who lead and deliver your course, and see the context for how and why they teach or asses it in a certain way. Not only will this help you find better solutions to issues with the course, it will also give you a new perspective that might help your studies!

Be part of the Education Network community - You’ll be invited to Education Network events and socials where you can meet other reps and students involved in education campaigning. Along with free food and drink, you’ll be able to pick up some freebies, like tote bags and laptop stickers that might help you spot other reps when you’re on campus. 

Experience that boosts your employability - We know you’re going to develop great skills through your role, and we want to make sure that you benefit from this experience when you’re moving on from your studies. You’ll gain experience and receive training in skills such as public speaking, communication and chairing meetings - and we can help you make the most of this when applying for jobs. Also, if you complete our online training module, attend Student Council/AMM and an Education Network event during your year, we’ll give you a LinkedIn recommendation to show what you’ve achieved!

Find out more about this role here.

+ Student Trustees

Student Trustees are a key part of Bristol SU’s Board of Trustees. But what does the Trustee Board do? 

Basically, the role of the Board is to ensure that we comply with the law, with our charitable objects (what the SU’s purpose is), and to make decisions which are in the best interest of the SU and students. All Trustees are collectively responsible for safeguarding the financial stability, good name, culture and ethos of the Union, and actively contributing to developing the strategic direction and future of Bristol SU.  

Trustees are also members of Student Council and Standing Committee. Read more about the role here 

We know most students will never have taken on a role like this before, so we provide plenty of support and guidance to help you be effective. 

Why should I run? 

Keep the SU heading in the right direction - Bristol SU exists for its members - that’s students like you! - and it is important that it develops and grows to keep supporting the student body. Your insight into the student experience at Bristol will help ensure that decisions the Board makes are in the best interests of our members. 

Use your skills to give back to the student community - Whether it's something you’ve picked up through your studies, extracurriculars, or working life, we know that Bristol students have some amazing expertise to share. Your insights could be invaluable and help us succeed in our mission of delivering the best student life. 

Incredible leadership experience - Few people at the start of their careers can say they have been a Director of a charity with an annual turnover of £4m. Our Trustees gain hands on experience with the strategic, financial and legal aspects of Bristol SU, which will translate well to any sector you want to work in! 

Learn from the experts - The Board also includes Co-opted Trustees, who generally have significant professional experience in fields like higher education, charity management, finance, law, communications and more. They, like you, will share their expertise with the Board, and help you to develop further.