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WELCOME TO THE FAMILY


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WELCOME TO THE FAMILY


HEY YOU, THANKS FOR STOPPING BY.

we're the University of Essex Students' Union AND We've made this site to shARE some of THE THINGS WE'VE BEEN UP TO OVER THE LAST 18 MONTHS.

We hope you like iT.

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Powered BY STUDENTS


Powered BY STUDENTS


Eighteen months ago we tore up the rule book and completely started again - we're an SU, but with the culture of a start-up.

Together we're on a mission to become the world's most student-centred organisation and we've started by finding new ways of putting our members in control of everything we do. 

They choose what we stock in our supermarket by writing on a tag and pinning it to the wall. They decide our position on key issues by dropping off a token in our vote boxes while they're grabbing lunch.  

And by creating new, super accessible methods of representation we're giving members the chance to use the SU as a platform to achieve real change. 

Because at Essex, you're not just a member of a Students' Union, you're part of a family:

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Shoulder to shoulder


Shoulder to shoulder


We've made a public promise to help our members get an amazing degree and job and we won't rest until we've made this happen.  

Take exams as an example - we can’t sit them for our members, but we can do everything in our power to make them less stressful.

For our #inthistogether campaign we set up a secret revision garden with deckchairs and free water, handed out energy-boosting fruit outside exams and gave students a platform to share messages of support for each other on our electronic poster boards.

To celebrate the final exam we set up a special surprise that’s worth sharing.

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SU Heirloom


SU Heirloom


We're reinventing membership of Essex SU as something relevant and tangible - the SU heirloom.

The heirloom is your unique, customisable symbol of belonging to the SU family. It's available in six handmade shapes with a choice of attachments, all presented in a box to treasure. 

Individually numbered and yours for life - when you graduate, your number is passed down to a new student, and you get the chance to hand down your stories, tips and experiences.

Over time we’ll create generations of connected Essex students that can help each other get jobs, start businesses, do research and change the world.

We built a special house to give students their heirloom and take them on a journey through the SU, here’s what happened:

 
 
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Make your mark


Make your mark


Students own this Union. We're a platform for ideas and dreams, where nothing’s too big or too small. 

Grab a Sharpie and find a frame on the walls of the SU Bar to scribble words of inspiration or post a photo.

Watch what students wrote on the walls:

Or write on a mug in The Kitchen and add it to our mug wall.  On your graduation day, come and take it away as a souvenir of Essex - we'll even fill it with free coffee for you.

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BENEFITTING ALL MEMBERS


BENEFITTING ALL MEMBERS


One of our promises is to benefit all members, not just the ones that are easiest to reach.

Whoever you are, wherever you're from and whatever you believe, you have an equal stake in our future.

You can see this promise in action throughout this year, especially in the work of our international students. By working together we've helped scale up events like Holi from something that 35 students came to last year, to something that attracted over 800 this year.

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Our Tattoos


Our Tattoos


All of our work is underpinned by a radical 'anti-strategy' - because life's too short to spend it writing a long-winded strategy that no-one understands, let alone follows.

We believe our strength is our ability to be quick and nimble, so we're keeping it simple, bold and avoiding any traditional jargon.

One example is our tattoos.  If the SU was a person, these are the things that we’d care about enough to get tattooed on our body.

They're memorable and direct and give everything we do a sense of purpose. 

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Our 50th Birthday


Our 50th Birthday


I know we don't look it, but this year we're celebrating our 50th birthday.

We've taken this opportunity to re-connect our members with our proud history of challenging inequality and to celebrate in style with a huge fireworks display, an enormous Street Party, even a student bake off competition on the theme of our 50th.

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A NEW PARTNERSHIP


A NEW PARTNERSHIP


We're really proud of the way that we've worked with the University this year to make great things happen. Things like Open Days and Chinese New Year have only been successful because of the incredible collaboration between the Union and the University.

Together we're driving each other forward like never before and our members are seeing the benefits.

Essex SU have had an amazing year, which is the culmination of incredible hard work, a willingness to think differently and take risks in innovating.

From persuading the University to offer free sport for students to the #inthistogether campaign supporting students through their exams, Essex SU is breaking new ground in delivering a great experience for students.
— Anthony Forster - Vice Chancellor, University of Essex

The SU even wrote the University's manifesto, setting out what the Essex stands for (and what it stands against), all through the eyes of students.

The manifesto has been used as the centre-piece of a recruitment campaign that has increased applications by a staggering 18%, featuring on videos, billboards and the front cover of the prospectus:

 

For a Students’ Union to succeed for their members, they need to be effective advocates. On occasions, that advocacy can feel, and may need to feel, uncomfortable for the university concerned.

To be effective on a sustainable basis, however, advocacy needs to be more than strident. It needs to reflect a trusting and valued partnership focused on meeting and exceeding the needs and expectations of students.

That is the relationship that, together, we have built with Essex Students’ Union. We challenge each other to be the best that we can and, as a result, have achieved things for students individually and collectively that we couldn’t otherwise have contemplated.
— Bryn Morris - Registrar & Secretary, University of Essex
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The Numbers


The Numbers


This isn't all just a fad - we're deadly serious about our mission to become the world's most student-centred organisation.

To measure how we're doing against this and our four promises we created our 'Vital Stats' - a twice termly review where we speak to over 1,000 members and get their honest opinion on how we're doing.  

In keeping with our no-bullshit mentality we then publish these as a beautiful infographic, so that all members, staff and stakeholders can see how we're getting on so far. 

In the past year and a half the SU at Essex has been completely reborn.

As a result we've seen...

  • Our highest ever levels of membership engagement - a doubling of the number of students involved in sport, record numbers of society members and more students involved in volunteering than ever before
  • Active rather than passive members - we've moved from a position where most students didn't realise they were a member to one where the majority aren't just aware but are genuinely using the SU as a platform for making change happen
  • A new, open, student-centred democracy - from a position where a minority of students voted once or twice a year to a system where more than 5,000 students shape the direction of the SU every week
  • A kick-ass membership - a transformation of services to deliver more directly against our members needs - free sport for all, student street markets every Thursday, a pioneering social study space in Southend - the list goes on
  • A family that celebrates its diversity - identifying previously underrepresented groups and helping them take centre-stage through major events like International Week, Holi festival, and the SU's Chinese New Year celebrations 
  • A Union that is visibly owned by its members - from students' personalised frames on the walls of the SU Bar, to giant hanging photos of our members dominating the entrance to our new space in Southend, or the hundreds of products we've stocked in our supermarket because our members asked for it - wherever you look it's clear that students run this union

THANKS FOR LOOKING


YOU'RE A BUSY PERSON, YET YOU STILL TOOK TIME TO READ THIS, SO THANKS - WE APPRECIATE IT.

HOPEFULLY IT'S GIVEN YOU A SENSE OF WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO ACHIEVE AND HOW WE'RE GETTING ON SO FAR.

NOW GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY THE SUN.

LOVE ESSEX SU x

THANKS FOR LOOKING


YOU'RE A BUSY PERSON, YET YOU STILL TOOK TIME TO READ THIS, SO THANKS - WE APPRECIATE IT.

HOPEFULLY IT'S GIVEN YOU A SENSE OF WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO ACHIEVE AND HOW WE'RE GETTING ON SO FAR.

NOW GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY THE SUN.

LOVE ESSEX SU x