October 1, 2019

Ian Smith sitting on a couch in the Student Union

So, what do you actually do as a School Rep?

I get asked that a fair few times, usually accompanied by either a doubtful or challenging look. Justify your position, Smith! My reply is usually the most tactful and honest: I go to meetings and represent the students. This is the most important thing a rep can do.

If myself, my fellow School Reps in the Student Union, and your Course Reps didn’t do this, then how would things ever change? If those in charge of Cardiff Met, who are making decisions that impact us students on a daily basis, didn’t have that level of interaction and feedback, then how could they know what the students want or need from their university?

I feel it’s important to flag this up, because some students aren’t necessarily aware of why there is a Student Union, or that there is no such thing as an issue that can’t be looked into, no matter how small it may seem. If there is something not sitting right with you about your experience at university, then that’s what the Student Union is here to deal with.

Ian Smith standing in front of the SU banner
Being a School rep gives me the opportunity to get involved with the university at a higher level

I became School of Technologies Rep in my first year, after being a course rep on Foundation year, because I recognised an opportunity to get involved at a higher level; and given how new the School of Technologies is, it seemed like an exciting time to get on board right at the beginning and be part of growing this amazing thing.

I have a team of course reps who feed back to me any issues brought to them, which I can then take to someone who can then take it further. I have a meeting with the Dean twice a month where he updates me on developments and where he needs student input (which I then gather via my reps), especially concerning the new School of Technologies building which is in the pipeline. I have a meeting once a week with the vice president of the SU, who looks after all the school reps. I have a monthly report to submit, detailing meetings I have attended, who was present and what was discussed. I am also expected to have a plan: to have identified areas in my school where improvements can be made and how I plan to affect those changes. I have a responsibility to support my reps, to ensure that they know what is expected of them, keep them updated, and be available to help them with issues they have or that are brought to their attention.

Now that I have done a year and the School will be moving into a new, dedicated space in the near future, I’m excited about the new possibilities there. With a new intake of Foundation and first years just starting uni, I will be looking to recruit course reps. Training is provided by the SU, and you’ll have a lot of support. If you want to make the most of university and embrace the experience, being a course rep is a great step on that path!