As a student representative your contributions to meetings with staff should be representative, informed, relevant and accurate so that issues can be resolved and taken seriously by the institution.
It’s important that you know which forums your issues should be raised in and where your concerns will be most relevant.
Training you receive should incorporate information about what meetings you will attend and how to approach problem solving in a formal and diplomatic manner.
At UWESU, for example, issues that would be of relevance to all students are brought to the Faculty.
Course and module related issues are raised at staff/student committees. Key staff are also invited to talk on specific issues.
It’s also important that reps close the feedback loop and report back to students on their contributions and the outcomes.
Below are some tips you might find useful for meetings:
- Make sure you feedback after meetings, with online or paper-based feedback forms or meeting de-briefs.
- Make sure that you are fully prepared with research, statistics or information to support your arguments in meetings
- Consult with students before meetings and feedback afterward
- Try to engender good relationships with staff, by talking to staff informally outside meetings to solve problems, and by sending apologies for meetings that you cannot attend
- Do some research into meetings – how regular are they? What are the rep attendance rates? How far do reps feel that their concerns are listened to or acted upon?