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How to become a student representative

Being a student can be one of the most exciting times of your life. Whether you have just left school and are experiencing your first real taste of freedom or you are returning to education after life in the big wide world, going to university or college can open up a myriad of possibilities. But there are other ways to become involved in campus life than simply attending lectures (which are of course very important!), cramming for exams in the library (also important!) or unwinding in the student union (most important of all!). You can stand for election as a student representative, where you can really have a say about student issues.

On this page:

What does the role involve?
What will I get out of this?
What will I be expected to give back?
What skills or qualities do I need?
How do I get involved?

What does the role involve?

If you want to become active in student life, represent your fellow students and make your college or university a better place then standing for election to the Students’ Representative Council is a good way to do just that.

The Student Representative Council (SRC) or student association (SA) is run by students for students, and is one of the most important decision making bodies at your college or university. They campaign on issues that are important to the student body and represent the views of students to the university or college authorities, the government and the world at large. They are also provide direct services, such as:

  • welfare advice
  • training and development
  • volunteering opportunities

    Elections are normally held annually (as each post only lasts for one year), and there are a number of positions that you could stand for:

  • faculty or department representative
    This role enables you to represent the concerns and interests of your fellow students in your faculty or department, for example as Arts Faculty Rep

  • special interest representative
    Most SRCs have elected officers who represent the interests and campaign on issues of importance to certain groups within the student community. This could include LGBT officer, Women’s officer, Black and Minority Ethnic Students’ Officer. Most of the people who stand for these positions are themselves members of the community that they represent.

  • executive member
    They are the officers who are responsible for the day to day running of the SRC or SA. These roles are normally sabbatical, which means you take a year out of your studies, and are paid for the job. These posts are usually held by students who have previous experience within the SRC.

    What will I get out of this?

    There are lots of reasons why you should consider becoming a student representative. The main reasons for most would probably be that:

  • it looks great on your CV – holding a position of responsibility within such a large organisation, steering the development of facilities and activities on behalf of thousands of students can be very attractive to employers
  • it is a fantastic opportunity for you to develop your personal "transferable skills". You get proven advances in communication skills, time management skills, meeting and negotiation skills, and team building skills. The list is endless, and the job is what you want to make it
  • you get to make decisions, guide, and change things that will affect students and their time at university or college now, and in the long-term future

    What will I be expected to give back?

    You must be committed to doing this job well…and that can take time and energy. You will be expected to attend meetings (usually in the evening) and possibly chair or sit on relevant committees. You may also be required to hold surgeries, giving students a chance to come and talk to you about the issues that they are concerned about.


    What skills or qualities do I need?

    To be an effective student representative you should be:

  • enthusiastic
  • committed to helping others
  • able to manage your time effectively (juggling lectures, studies, part-time job and student rep duties isn’t always easy)

    How do I get involved?

    All students can stand for election to the SRC or SA (unless you have opted – out of membership under the Education Act 1994).

    You can get more information about the nominations process and the dates of elections from the SRC / SA.

    Useful Contacts

    University of Aberdeen

    University of Aberdeen Student Association
    Luthuli House
    50-52 College Bounds
    Old Aberdeen
    AB24 3DS

    tel: 01224 272965

    University of Abertay

    University of Abertay Students Association
    158 Marketgait Building
    DD1 1NJ

    tel: 01382 227 477
    email: president@abertayunion.comweb:

    University of Dundee

    Dundee University Students Association
    Airlie Place
    DD1 4HP

    tel: 01382 221841

    University of Edinburgh

    University of Edinburgh Students’ Association
    The Potterrow
    5/2 Bristo Square
    EH8 9AL

    tel: 0131 650 2656

    University of Glasgow

    University of Glasgow Students’ Representative Council
    John McIntyre Building
    University Avenue

    tel: 0141 339 8541

    Glasgow Caledonian University

    Glasgow Caledonian University Students' Association
    70 Cowcaddens Road
    G4 0BA

    tel: 0141 332 0681

    Heriot Watt University – Edinburgh campus

    Heriot Watt Student Association
    EH14 4AS

    tel: 0131 451 5333

    Heriot Watt University – Scottish Borders campus

    The Union
    Scottish Borders Campus
    TD1 3HF

    tel: 01896 892 170

    Napier University

    Napier University Students Association
    12 Merchiston Place
    EH10 4NR

    tel: 0131 229 8791

    University of Paisley

    University of Paisley Students Association
    17 Hunter Street
    PA1 1DN

    tel: 0141 889 9940

    University of St Andrews

    University of St Andrews Students' Association
    St Mary's Place
    St Andrews
    KY16 9UZ

    tel: 01334 462700

    University of Stirling

    University of Stirling Students’ Association
    FK9 4LA

    tel: 01786 467 166

    University of Strathclyde

    University of Strathclyde Students Association
    90 John St
    G1 1JH

    tel: 0141 5675000


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