News

RHSU Shortlisted For Students’ Union Of The Year

We have some exciting news to share with you – we’ve been shortlisted for NUS Students’ Union of the Year!

The Students’ Union of the Year award recognises the achievements of Students’ Unions in shaping education and empowering individuals over the past 12 months. The winner will be announced at the 2018 NUS Awards, being held at Birmingham NEC on Wednesday 4 July 2018.

The nomination reflects the tremendous results achieved since our trustees identified the need to radically transform the organisation back in 2015.

View The 2018 NUS Awards Shortlist

What’s the story?

Three years ago, our student engagement and student satisfaction levels were dropping, and it was clear we were not fulfilling our role as a Students’ Union to the best of our ability.

We knew things needed to change, so we undertook a huge research project which culminated in the creation of our four-year Strategic Plan. Launched in 2016, the strategy set out a vision for the future which had students at its core.

While there is still a long way to go, we are positive that we are on the right track to achieving our goals and ultimately delivering on our mission to make student life better at Royal Holloway.

What’s been achieved?

Too much to mention if we’re being honest, but we’ll try to keep it as short as possible.

HELPDESK

We established a single helpdesk for the entire organisation making it easier for students to get the help they need. This replaced the multiple reception points that previously existed and has seen over 50,000 visits since opening.  

DIGITAL FIRST

Realising we were out of touch and poor at communicating with you, we also took a digital first approach where we rebranded the organisation, launched a new website, and rolled out our 'Union Upgrade' website, to keep you updated on our progress.

REPRESENTATION AND CAMPAIGNING

Officers have been able to secure significant changes on issues such as:

  • Easier access to campus out of hours
  • Allocation of free printing
  • A review of the campus health centre
  • Transformation of academic representation
  • Students have also been supported to make their own changes via our Bright Ideas platform, with 127 ideas submitted and 2933 unique engagements.

PARTICIPATION LEVELS

We have seen significant increases in our participation levels within the Union’s activities, which has included voter turnout jumping up to 28% from below 20%, the number of student groups and members rising by 20%, and the number of students accessing our Advice Centre up 10%. Not to mention the huge increase in the number of election candidates and students voting each year.

RATE YOUR UNION

Our annual survey satisfaction scores for two key areas have been improving year on year with fantastic results for 2017/18:

  • 88.0% of students agree they are satisfied with the Students' Union (69.7% strongly agree).
  • 80.0% of students agree we have a positive impact on their life at Royal Holloway (61.6% strongly agree).

TRADING

We took over three additional trading outlets: the Union Shop, The Packhorse and HouseSearch.

  • The Union Shop’s relocation to the Emily Wilding Davison Building last year has enabled us to offer a wider range of food and other necessities, with improved accessibility and convenience.
  • The Packhorse is serving the whole community, with premium spirits at student prices, a great food offering that caters for all, and a venue that is perfect for watching live sport.
  • Meanwhile, the creation of HouseSearch – our dedicated lettings portal - has given students free access to hundreds of local properties, helping you to find high quality private accommodation that's the perfect fit for you.

The opening of The Packhorse in May 2017.

Our work isn’t done yet

Despite all of the great things which have been achieved, we know we still have a long way to go. As we alluded to in our Rate Your Union headline results, we know there are a number of key areas where we still need to make improvements and we are putting the plans in place to make the positive changes that you want to see.

Thank you

Finally, we want to say a big thank you to the most important people in this organisation – you, our fantastic students. Whether you’re a course rep, member of our student staff team, committee member for one of our sports clubs and societies, or perhaps you engage with the campaigns and elections processes that are central to the working of the SU, this nomination would not have been received without all of your hard work, passion and enthusiasm.

No matter how you interact with us, you are playing a part in our journey and we can’t wait to do more to ensure your university experience is the best it possibly can be. Regardless of whether we win the Students' Union of the Year award or not, thanks again for making 2017/18 a fantastic year!