Log in

What is a Students’ Union?

The Students’ Union supports student life in so many different ways. Our purpose is to improve the experience students have while studying at Sussex University. Most universities have a students' union - and each and every student is automatically a member.

How it works

The Students’ Union is a charity, separate to the University.

Students’ unions work with the university senior management, schools and departments to ensure that students’ issues and concerns are raised and dealt with in regard to contact time, assessment feedback, resources, access, support, welfare, accommodation and employability. 

Working at a students' union, you will find a mix of students and permanent staff who collectively:

  • represent students' needs to the University
  • lobby the University for a better education
  • support and improve student wellbeing
  • create a better student experience
  • run bars and shops on campus
  • run societies, sports, groups
  • host events and social activities

Union members agree a common aim of what they want to achieve. This might be about, for example, welfare support, contact time, assessment feedback or housing. Representatives for the Students’ Union gather evidence about the issues and present it to the University. They discuss the matter with the University management and/or departments to reach an agreement. 

If the University refuses to reach an agreement, Union members can broaden their campaign to win wider support from the student body. This may be in the form of referenda, awareness raising campaigns, challenges to departments and boycotts or strikes. 

Representing students  

The Students’ Union leads on student representation throughout the university, ensuring the voices of the most vulnerable students are heard and responded to. Each year, six full-time elected representatives, called Officers, are voted for by students to represent students' needs and views to the University.

Everything you get as a member

Services and benefits:

  • Sports Clubs, Student Groups (Societies, campaigning groups and co-ops) and Student Media (The Badger - Student Newspaper, Uni-TV - the television and video channel and University Radio Falmer (URF) - the radio station)
  • Bars and shops (Falmer Bar, Room 76 Café, Northfield Bar, The Clubhouse, Students’ Union Shop (Falmer House) and the Co-operative Store (Bramber House))
  • Events and activities to socialise with fellow students 
  • Volunteering opportunities in the local community
  • The Buddy Scheme – peer support from current students for new students
  • The Language Café - peer-led service to practice different languages with native speakers
  • Sussex Student Lettings - offering a supportive and helpful housing service for moving into the city
  • NUS (National Union of Students) discount card – Totum (for an annual fee of £12)

A wide range of help and support:

  • Student representative scheme to help you address academic issues on your course 
  • Independent advice and advocacy service for academic appeals, complaints and disciplinary procedures
  • Housing advice

Making a Difference | Some Sussex Students’ Union Successes

  • BAME Student Ambassador Programme 
  • 24/7 Library – open all hours access to the library
  • Buddy Scheme – 1500 students involved in peer support from current students to new students
  • Keep Wednesdays for Sports Club to compete in fixtures
  • Role Models – students running workshops on PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) subjects for local college students and school children, winner of the 2019 Better World Education Award 
  • Rent Guarantor Scheme – where the university acts as a rent guarantor for (predominantly) International students to remove the need for them to pay 6-12 months’ rent in advance
  • Free Period Wednesday – free sanitary and contraception products for students
  • Good Night Owls – safety patrols of students assisting other students on nights out in Brighton
  • Food Waste Café – taking food that would otherwise have been thrown away and turning into delicious pay as much as you can afford food
  • New student bar in Northfield near new residences
  • As well as many cases of support and advocacy for students as they negotiate the complexity of higher education and university life 

What else do we do?

We provide representation for students going through appeals, complaints or disciplinary procedures (for example, students who want to challenge the circumstances surrounding their grade, or raising a complaint about a member of staff). Many students’ unions also provide other benefits and discounts on services for their members, such as access to students’ union venues and events as well as facilitating student discount cards and schemes, such as Totum (the discount card run in conjunction with the National Union of Students, the overarching representative body for students’ unions). 

You can think of students’ unions as your friendly support and voice for your concerns throughout your time at university, a facilitator for social life through student groups, sports and events and somewhere to turn in times of need. 

What we at Sussex Students' Union believe in and stand for:

  • Your Employability - Enhancing student employability
  • Your Education - Defending an inclusive, quality education
  • Your World - Building communities and benefiting society
  • Your Wellbeing - Improving student life and wellbeing
  • Your Activities - Supporting student activities and events
  • Your Social Enterprise - Providing outstanding, student-led commercial services

See our Strategic Plan