A guide to Kent Union

A Students’ Union is a central part of university life. From running the on-campus nightclub, to tackling sexual harassment. InQuire explains everything that you need to know about Kent Union – the voice of students.

What is Kent Union?

Student-led and independent of the university itself, Kent Union aims to represent the the views and needs of all 20,000 students across Kent’s Canterbury and Medway campuses. Their aim is to provide an inclusive range of activities and services that enrich student life. Operating as the democratic voice of students at the University of Kent, Kent Union seeks to make sure students have “one of the best student experiences on the planet.”

What does Kent Union do?

Amplify the voice of students - Kent Union ensures that the student voice is heard across the University, within the local community and in wider society. They do this by supporting a broad range of student representatives within the Union. As the recognised voice of students at the University, Kent Union campaigns regularly for the issues important to students, such as financial support or sexual harassment.

Facilitate and support a wide range of student activities - Kent Union provides the support, facilities, and other resources to enable students to set up and develop their own societies, sports clubs, volunteering projects, and other student interest groups. Kent Union supports over 150 student societies and 50 sports clubs that boast nearly 6,000 members.

Provide services and facilities for students - Kent Union delivers a wide range of services that supports students whilst they study, preparing them for their future careers and helping them enjoy their time at university. All the money spent by students across the various outlets on campus—like Essentials retail outlet and the Venue nightclub—get reinvested by Kent Union, helping to fund all the different services offered to students across campus, like the Student Advice Centre and Job Shop.

Who runs Kent Union?

Full Time Officers - The organisation is run by a team of full-time, paid sabbatical officers (pictured right) who are elected annually by students for a one-year term to support your academic interests whilst you study. Sabbatical years are either taken in between years of study or else immediately after graduation.

Part-Time Officers - As well as five Full-Time Officers, you also elect various Part-Time Officers who work alongside them. Part-Time officer roles include a Women’s Officer, an Environmental Officer, and more.

Board of Trustees - Registered charities in England and Wales like Kent Union are governed by a Board of Trustees. Made up of the 5 elected Full-Time officers, 4 external trustees and 4 student trustees, Kent Union’s Board of Trustees ultimately has responsibility for directing the affairs of Kent Union, ensuring that the organisation is solvent, well-run, and delivering on its objectives.

Representatives - Student Reps act as the link between the student body, Kent Union and the University. They are volunteers which are elected into the position by their peers to represent them and act as the first port of call for any suggestions, comments, or queries about the course or courses they represent.

In addition to your Student Reps, there are also elected School Reps. Their role is to represent all students in their academic school and work closely with Student Reps within their school to get opinions from all years and all courses.

And Finally...you - As a membership organisation, YOU have a say in the way Kent Unions runs. Get involved and help shape your University experience for the better. Change It, is a website students can use for changes they want to see made during their University experience. Alongside Change it, there is Digital Rep, a feedback tool which Student Representatives use to improve student academic experience. You could also run for a Part-Time or Full-Time officer role during the academic year.

To find out more visit www.kentunion.co.uk