Empowering Student Representation: A Recap of Achievements & Future Initiatives

Charan Kaur, the Students' Association Representation Coordinator, shares a recap of recent achievements of and future initiatives for our Student Representative Network.

Developing the Student Representative journey has been an incredibly rewarding venture for the Students’ Association. Over the past few months, our efforts have been dedicated to transforming the representative experience, right from the moment of registering initial interest in the role to the successful completion of it. This article invites you to discover the significant positive changes we’ve implemented. 


Supporting New Student Representatives 

Our commitment to supporting incoming representatives has taken centre stage. We’ve updated the Student Representative Application Form to encourage students to reflect on their motivations and aspirations for joining the Rep Network. Once we receive their submission, we arrange a Zoom call with them to provide a deeper insight into the representative role, its associated responsibilities, and time commitments, therefore allowing them to make informed decisions about their involvement. Once onboard, we facilitate introductions with Heads of Schools, Centre Managers, and the wider Rep Network, ensuring incoming representatives know exactly who to contact for guidance and collaboration. Additionally, we provide them with crucial resources such as a user-friendly ‘Unitu guide for Student Representatives’ as well as expenses guidelines, thereby ensuring a well-supported onboarding journey. 


Fostering Meaningful Communication 

To maintain open and frequent communication with representatives, we’ve established multiple channels for us to connect. These include traditional avenues like emails, as well as contemporary platforms such as our group WhatsApp, Student Rep Network meetings, and the ‘Rep Hub’ on Unitu. The latter serves as a dynamic space for engaging in discussions about student experience, sharing ideas and challenges, seeking support, and providing updates. 

The Student Rep Network meetings, chaired by our passionate Student President, Dace Rozina, have evolved into a vibrant platform for voicing questions, concerns, ideas, and support needs. These meetings have also welcomed special guests and we’re really looking forward to having even more join us in the coming year.  

Senior Lecturer, Lauren Hamilton, has been in attendance sharing valuable insights into the Arden Achieve programme and seeking feedback from representatives. Additionally, Programme Team Leader, Alfred Mbeteh, has come along to discuss the exciting Arden Enterprise Incubator (AEI) project, and some of our representatives have joined his student panel to help contribute to the platform’s launch. Moreover, we’ve had Amy Kasper-Hope, our external consultant from ‘Alkhemy’ - a social impact company supporting organisations representing students - engage with representatives on the development of an independent Students’ Association Advisory Service, seeking their perspectives on what a successful advice service looks like.  

Clearly then, these meetings offer the Rep Network invaluable opportunities to advocate for students’ interests and play a pivotal part in shaping projects that drive positive change at Arden University.  


Enhancing Training Opportunities 

Collaborating with different teams across the university, we’ve developed training sessions specifically tailored for representatives. These have been designed to not only improve their role-related skills, but further their personal and professional development also. One core session led by Senior Lecturer, Dave Harris, from the Leadership and Management team, for example, has delved into important topics like meeting preparation, influencing others, and conflict resolution. Likewise, our excellent Careers team have organised workshops on personal branding and networking, therefore empowering representatives with the ability to effectively articulate their acquired skills on CVs, job applications, and during interviews. As we step into the new year, we’re eagerly anticipating their next workshop on communication. 


Representatives in Action 

Representatives have played an active role in supporting face-to-face inductions across our centres in the UK and Berlin. During these events, they’ve taken the opportunity to inform new students about their role, highlighting their responsibility to gather feedback on all aspects of student experience and underscoring the vital role this feedback plays in becoming a catalyst for change. Their support extends beyond answering questions, ensuring that new students are well-informed about the right places to go as well as assisting centre staff. Their impactful presence was also felt at the November UK Graduation, contributing to the overall success of the day. 


Unitu Engagement 

Following our Student Voice platform’s relaunch in October, representatives have been diligently overseeing the private feedback area, generating meaningful conversations, lending their insights, and offering solutions within their peer community. They’ve also escalated 42 out of 69 posts into the public feedback area, allowing staff members to review and respond with their expertise. And, with an impressive average response time of just two days, their dedication shines through.  


What’s In Store For ’24 

As we gear up for the upcoming year, we’re excited about strengthening our presence in our UK and international centres. Our Student President, supported by representatives, will be conducting drop-ins – an open invitation for you to come along and connect with the Students’ Association. 

Don't forget to explore this page to discover who your representatives are: Your Student Reps (ardenstudents.org) 

Keen on becoming a representative yourself? Click on this link to get started: Becoming A Student Representative (ardenstudents.org)