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Society Rep role description

This role description outlines the key responsibilities of being a Society Rep volunteer.

Purpose of role

Society Reps support and represent societies at Sussex, using a seat on the committee to make democratic decisions on matters affecting societies, including new society applications and funding applications, shortlisting for Student Awards and society development at the Students’ Union. Reps also gather feedback from other societies about their experiences with the intention of facilitating positive change. There are 6 Society Rep positions and Reps hold their post for one Academic year. Elections are held near the end of the Spring Term with existing Reps handing over in the last couple of weeks of the Spring Term and new Reps officially taking up their role in the following Autumn Term.

Term of office

One academic year, commencing post the election period in April each year.

Volunteer Coordinator

The Societies & Student Media Coordinator is responsible for the recruitment, training, ongoing support and supervision of the Society Reps.

You can book a meeting with your volunteer coordinator in person via: https://societies-coordinator.youcanbook.me/

Eligibility for the role

Must be a current student at the University of Sussex or Brighton & Sussex Medical School and be a full member of the Students’ Union.

We remind any person considering becoming a volunteer to check whether they are allowed to volunteer under the terms of their visa or entry clearance conditions. If your visa does not permit you to volunteer, this may have implications for your future ability to work/study/remain in the UK. If you require further advice or information, contact UK Visas and Immigration, visit www.gov.uk, or contact Sussex University's Immigration Advisers: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/internationalsupport/immigration.

Main tasks & responsibilities

  • Attend a weekly meeting (usually in Falmer House) lasting 1-2 hours during Autumn and Spring Term from Week 1 onwards
  • Make decisions on applications to the Societies Fund in accordance with the Union Governance, Decision-making and Committees and the Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Vote on applications from new groups to become affiliated Sussex societies
  • Act as a Rep for students who run societies
    • Make sure students know who you are and how to contact you
    • Communicate with students in societies and feed back issues to the Societies Committee for discussion
    • Offer support and advice to societies with funding applications, events and inter-society collaborations
    • Share information and decisions made in Societies Committee to raise awareness of the Committee among societies
    • Optional attendance at the societies training sessions and the opportunity to develop and deliver training sessions for new committee members
  • Shortlist the Societies category for the annual Student Awards
  • 2 Society Reps will also be elected to represent societies at Union Council

Time commitment

Society Reps are expected to attend weekly committee meetings during term time throughout the autumn and spring term. Meetings usually last 1-2 hours and it is vital that you make every effort to attend these. Meeting dates and times will be decided by the group once all Reps are elected and arranged to fit around your academic timetables.

Without your presence at these meetings, effective representation and student-led decision making cannot happen and the credibility of the committee suffers.

Being a Society Rep needn’t take over your life but it is essential that you are able to give a certain amount of time to the role. We recommend that to be an effective Rep you will need to be available for around 2-3 hours per week during the autumn and spring term.

Representation and communication

Reps are expected to offer support and advice to societies with funding applications, events and inter-society collaborations. Society Reps are also expected to become aware of issues of concern amongst the societies they represent and to communicate these issues via the Societies Committee to the Activities Officer and Students’ Union Societies and Student Media Team.

Training and Support

  • Training session with the Societies & Student Media Coordinator
    • Training will cover: Your role and expectations, decision making, Ultra Vires, active listening, chairing meetings, SU policies and procedures
  • Ongoing support from the Students’ Union Societies & Student Media team, including termly socials
  • A personal Society Rep email address and google drive account

Reasonable adjustments and access information

  • Meetings are usually held in Falmer House Committee Room (2nd floor of Falmer House) or in one of the meeting rooms (1st & 2nd floor of Falmer House). Locations can be changed if needed.
  • Time commitment: 1-2 hour meeting per week, plus 30 mins - 1 hour to read through the papers, provide support to societies with their applications in person or via email/Facebook. For any absences contact: charlie.t@sussexstudent.com
  • Information is usually shared with Reps via a closed Facebook group
  • Contact the Societies & Student Media Coordinator to discuss any adjustments or assistance that you may require
  • You can book a meeting with the Societies & Student Media Coordinator in person via: https://societies-coordinator.youcanbook.me/ or email them on charlie.t@sussexstudent.com

You would suit this role if you:

  • Want to make a difference to societies at Sussex
  • Want to find out more about the Students’ Union and how it runs
  • Are interested in the democratic structures at the Students’ Union
  • Want to know how funding is spent and decisions are made
  • Are interested in finding out what event and activities the 200+ societies at Sussex organise
  • Want to find out what the Activities Officer does
  • Are after experience that would contribute to your CV
  • Want to improve your communication and interpersonal skills
  • Would like to improve your team working
  • Want to be part of a community at Sussex
  • Are thinking about being a full-time Officer

Transferable skills gained:

  • Teamwork
  • Verbal and Written Communication
  • Negotiation
  • Organisation/Planning
  • Chairing meetings/discussions
  • Leadership
  • Time management
  • Communicating with stakeholders
  • Initiative
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision making
  • Public Speaking
  • Active Listening
  • Confidentiality
  • Cultural Awareness

Union Council

The Societies Committee will have two Reps on the Students' Union council. Council meets three times a term, and is the main place where Society Reps, Sports Reps, Media Reps and Student Reps from each school meet with the Elected Officers of the Union. Council is able to hold the officers to account, to raise issues members have come across as reps, and give policy direction to the Officers on academic and non-academic issues to be campaigned on.


Students at Union Council.

Society Reps, Hal and Matt, hosting a presntation for Students' Union Officers and staff about the Societies Committee in December 2018.

Society Reps 2018/19.

Society Reps Christmas social 2018.

Society Reps Christmas social 2017.

Society Reps delivering training to new committee members at the Societies Conference.

Society Reps 2016/17.

Committee news

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The Society Reps have approved 40 new and returning societies so far this term. The Society Reps meet every week during term time to decide on matters affecting societies, including applications to start and re-affiliate societies.