I went to a student council meeting and here is a rundown of what actually happened
The motion about getting timetables to be released earlier passed
It’s a Thursday afternoon, I still have my fishies stamp on my hand and getting out of bed is the last thing on my mind but student democracy is taking place and women did not fight for the vote for me not to go.
The promise of free pizza was also a contributing factor to my attendance so I put on my best not-hungover clothes and went to the meeting.
The student council happens twice a year and course reps get to vote on motions; anyone is allowed to propose a motion and all students can attend the meeting. Anyone who doesn’t get to vote is quickly put into the observer category.
The motions are proposed with a for (and against if anyone opposes) and those that pass will be worked on for the next three years by the seven full-time SU officers.
Things kicked off with each of the elected officers getting up and telling us all the cool stuff they’ve been up to since they started. Highlights included the new delicious £1 soup, free period products in most uni bathrooms and the shuttle buses to Coombe Dingle.
For the athletes among you, there was also good news for the ‘She can, They can’ campaign encouraging women and non-binary people to take up sport. Plenty of progress and lots of new opportunities created for taking up sports in spaces without men including body combat, yoga and carnival fitness.
We also got updates on the Reclaim the Night movement, which has been paused since Covid, making a comeback with their first march on 24th November from Queen’s square.
After that, it was time for voting on the motions and they had four exciting new possibilities.
The first was to get the Bristol SU to endorse the Bristol Student Housing Cooperative, which is a group for students to collectively own their houses and avoid problems associated with landlords. Similar groups have been very successful in Glasgow and Manchester, and the motion passed so looking forward to seeing it develop in Bristol!
The next motion put forward was about getting timetables to be released earlier which passed! Start planning exactly what seminars you can miss next year with plenty of time to spare (rip everyone with a Thursday 9am x).
This motion is particularly important for international students who need to be able to plan ahead their travel to and from the UK. It also solves the problem of changing timetables in the first week of term which results in many students missing their important early seminars and lectures due to uncertainty.
They then had a vote on Entrepreneurial Student Initiatives to help students make industry contacts and more assistance with projects they may struggle with on their own.
There have always been similar options in the SU and other student groups to help out budding entrepreneurs, but more opportunities never hurt, so it’ll be exciting to see this new resource in action.
Sadly the last motion did not get so lucky, the poor lad was getting eaten alive by people opposing him. Exactly what societies do with the money they get from members probably may need more regulation but, after many rounds of debate and some beautiful democracy in action, the group voted to block the motion.
The representative for this motion seemed to be very passionate and I am interested to see him come back to the next meeting with another approach to solving a real problem.
It was great to see so many students engaging with the formal process and voicing their opinions in respectful debate in order to make Bristol Uni something to be proud of.
If you want to get involved with the student council next time, make sure you watch the SU website and social media for the announcement of the date, so you can have your voice heard and make the impact you want on shaping how students are represented.
PS: the pizza arrived right at the end and made it all worth it.