Chester Student’s Union (CSU) is an independent organisation focused on supporting students to love their student life and have a strong voice during their time at the University. While we’re independent, we work closely with the University and have great knowledge of its policies and processes which means we can provide students with effective help, support and representation on a wide range of issues, from social opportunities to academic struggles and disciplinary issues.
Our core values are:
- Brave – We respectfully challenge ourselves and each other to stand up for our student communities and act in their best interests. We strive for all students to feel a sense of belonging and know that CSU is a positive force for change, driven by the collective interests of students.
- Aspiring – We will grow our services, presence and people. We develop students through representative roles and training, and provide opportunities that develop our staff skills and confidence
- Student-led – From elected officers to society leads and wider student community, our Union is led by students, for students. Your voice is represented and amplified at all levels of CSU.
- Equitable – At CSU we value, respect and celebrate difference, and will break down barriers for participation for all students. We will enhance the voice and opportunities for marginalised and disadvantaged groups, with a focus on liberation and justice.
Every year, you can vote for your Elected Officers in the CSU elections. These elected officer roles are full-time, paid student leadership roles with a one-year term in office. Any University of Chester student can run for an Officer position – elections usually take place in March and your term in office starts on 1 July.
Elected officers bring the voice of students to CSU and the University to bring about change and improve your student experience. It’s a diverse role as Officers keep in touch with students’ views, launch key social and justice related campaigns, sit on various University committees and are also Trustees of CSU as a registered charity. The elected officers are based at Exton Park in Chester but represent all University of Chester students, and work across Chester, Warrington, Shrewsbury and Birkenhead campuses.
Meet your current officer team:
Lauren Friel – @laurenfrielpres
The President is responsible for Union development, as well as taking the lead on representing you to the University’s Senior Management Team. Lauren’s priority this year is to look at how we can support and campaign for students around the cost-of-living crisis.
Vice President Student Life
Jordanne Farley-Moss @jordannevpsl
The VP Student Life supports student clubs and societies and represents sports teams at the Athletics’ Union. They work to improve your student experience by providing tonnes of opportunities and events! Jordanne’s priority this year is to improve student safety, and address issues such as spiking. She has already made progress by getting Chester’s licensing committee to agree to implement changes to their policies to combat spiking.
Vice President Education
Lois Garnett @lois.garnettvpe
The VP Education is responsible for academic issues, supporting you to provide feedback through the Student Voice Representation (SVR) system, as well as addressing any issues which impact your studies such as the University’s Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) process, marking policies and library access. Lois’s focus this year is to look at wellbeing and mental health support, including the University’s interruption of studies process.
Our Student Engagement team support student societies and coordinate loads of social and student community events throughout the year.
With academic, faith and interest-based societies ranging from Archaeology to Anime and Policing to Pokemon, there’s something for everyone. Any University of Chester student can join a society and get involved throughout the year, and you can also run to lead an existing society. Nothing there take your fancy? You can even start your own society and access funding from CSU to run activities! If you volunteer on a society committee, your volunteer hours and activity are even added to your Higher Education Academic Record (HEAR) and are counted towards the Chester Difference Award! You can find out more about our societies on our website here and by visiting the Sports and Societies fair during Welcome Week in September where you can meet the societies and sports clubs and sign up for trial sessions.
You might have heard about the kind of events we run during Welcome Week when a lot of new students start at the University, including the popular Freshers’ Fair. This event is always really well attended, and lots of University departments, charities and local businesses join us to give you information about their services, student jobs and volunteering opportunities as well as tonnes of freebies!
We also offer a whole host of social opportunities during Welcome Week and throughout the year, ranging from craft sessions, outdoor cinemas, pizza parties and site-based breakfast mixers. You can find out about what’s coming up by following us on Instagram and on our website here.
We want you to love your time at the University of Chester and have positive social and academic experiences, but we know that sometimes things don’t go to plan.
CSU offer a free, independent and impartial advice service to help you if things aren’t going to plan. We can support you with a range of issues including:
- Academic processes
- Appealing marking decisions
- Dealing with academic integrity concerns
- Applying for an extension because of mitigating circumstances
- How to submit a complaint to the University
- Disciplinary issues
Our Advice team work across all University sites and the best way to contact them is to fill in this contact form or email email@example.com. One of the team will then get back in touch and answer your query or arrange a time to talk it through in more detail.
The Advice team usually work Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm. We try and respond to queries as quickly as possible, but when we’re really busy it might take us a couple of working days to get back to you so it’s a good idea to get in touch with us as soon as a problem comes up.
Student Voice and Representation
We work hard to live by our core value of being student-led and to ensure you are represented and your voice heard in a variety of ways:
- Student Voice Reps (SVRs)
- SVRs are volunteers who provide an invaluable role by working with other students and staff to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. The main job of a SVR is to gather feedback from students on a variety of themes. These can be academic and non-academic, as well as positive and negative. They share this feedback at meetings with University staff and the Students’ Union.
- Course Reps are appointed in class during the induction period in September/October, and Department Reps are appointed via online elections in the same period.
- Student Insight Committee appointment by CSU
- The Student Insight Committee is a group of at least seven students appointed by CSU to represent all University sites and the demographics of our students. Committee members are paid for the time they spend contributing to the Committee, including preparing for and attending meetings, and writing up reports and minutes of meetings. The Committee explore issues that affect the student experience, create reports which inform our work and make sure the student voice is heard by the University and provide feedback to CSU’s elected officers. You can read more about the Student Insight Committee on our website here.
- Student Insight Advocates appointment by CSU
- The Student Insight Advocates are part-time, paid student staff roles. They are hired by CSU to manage and coordinate the Student Insight Committee and ensure that we can effectively reach out to students at all sites, collect survey responses to inform our work, and let students know about the work we are doing.
- Big ideas
- Big Ideas are a way to suggest changes that you would like to see at the University and the Students’ Union. They can cover anything from large scale academic improvements to policy changes, like boycotting Amazon. Each idea is presented to Student Council and passed or declined based on what you and your student leaders think is needed. You can find out more and submit a Big Idea on our website here.
- Student networks
- #ProudtoBe Postgrad – Our postgraduate network is here to create a community of postgrad students who study at the University of Chester. We are here to provide support, community, motivation, and opportunities to socialise. You can join the Postgrad network on our website here.
- Cultural Heritage network – Our Cultural Heritage Network is a place for BAME and international students to share their culture with other students and start conversations around everyone’s diverse heritages and experiences. We run events such as laid-back chai and samosa mornings where you can make friends and start building communities, and provide a place for you to share your culture. We listen to your student voice and make sure the University and Union work well for you. We also work with the University and local community to host events that encourage all students to share their cultures so that everybody feels welcomed. You can join the Cultural Heritage Network on our website here.
- Reclaim the night
- Our annual Reclaim the Night march empowers everyone who studies at the University of Chester. We are inclusive and intersectional and welcome everyone to our marches. We are here to provide support, community, opportunities to socialise, and resources where necessary. You can read more about and sign up for our next march on our website here.
How to contact us?