Most freshers will have never come across the concept of a Students’ Union. An ambiguous term, one could imagine it encompasses a number of things and the reality it does. You will be given a lot of information about the institution over the next few weeks, however this is the quickest, most digestible guide to the cornerstone of student experience.
1. Bath SU is all about saying ‘yes’
Have you ever wanted to learn how to bake properly? Do you want to play tennis but not competitively? Want to jump out of an aeroplane? Me neither but you can at the SU. There are groups for everything, whether you want to do it seriously or not. I’ve seen people write plays and win championships and raise thousands of pounds for charity all through these groups. You can join any of them at www.bathstudent.com so have a look around. They are all run entirely by students so if you want to try managing something then you can do that as well. Most important to point out is that in your brief time here you’re going to be able to do more and have access to more than at any other point in your life. Most societies cost less than a fiver to join so say ‘yes’ and try a bunch of stuff. Far be it my place to tell you what to try but you’d be out of your mind not to join Media (£6
gives you access to bathimpact, CTV and 1449AM URB).
2. They represent you
Every year of every course elects representatives. You’ll elect yours in a couple of weeks. You may well end up being on of them. Every month or so these Academic Reps sit down with a few staff in your department and decide things. Are you getting enough feedback on that coursework? Is this module asking an unreasonable amount of prerequisite knowledge? How come my department’s computer lab doesn’t have a printer? Past that every Faculty elects Reps and they sit on an Executive Committee. A similar structure is employed in Societies and Sports and all areas of the Union. Representation of you to higher powers. At the top of the SU are the SU Officers. Each with their own remit they negotiate on your behalf with the University and all manner of organisations. Anybody can be elected as an SU Officer, once a year.
3. You are definitely not alone
If you are wondering if there is anyone else under the age of 40 at the Uni who loves ale as much as you do then you’ll discover the Bath Real Ale Society. If you’re wondering if anyone else is already married, or has kids, or has been depressed or is gay and hasn’t told their parents then you may be surprised to know that all that is covered as well. There are a large number of groups that are both support mechanisms and social groups at the same time. With 15,000 students you won’t be alone and if you have questions then there are people with answers. They can talk to you about day-care or tell you what the best gay bar in Bath is (it’s Mandalyns).
Overall half of all students are in some way involved in the SU and that ignores those who drink in the bar the SU runs, or go to its club nights or read this paper. I can only assume that the other half are certifiably insane. Go to www.bathstudent.com and do things. Then brag to your new roommates about all the stuff you’re doing and get them to do stuff to. Also join Media. Seriously.