Your Idea's, Forums and Preferenda

At SOAS Students’ Union, representing students' views is at the heart of everything we do. Students get to have their say over what the SU works on by voting for a Co-President that is passionate about the same things as them and by setting Union Priorities, which are objectives the SU is mandated to deliver. These priorities are decided by students and can cover a range of different things.

How it works:

Your Ideas

Your Ideas are an opportunity for students to propose anything, from big structure changes, or quick wins. They can call for changes within SOAS SU, SOAS, and beyond. They can be used as a call for action on a particular issue, or relate to communicating an ideological standpoint.


Ideas must answer the following questions:

Facts: What is the issue you're trying to address and what do we already know about the issue?

Impact: How does this issue affect students and in what way?

Response: What would you like the students' union to do to address the issue and how can we take it forward?


Ideas for change must be no longer than 600 words. 


Once an idea for change is submitted it will be reviewed and published for up to one month. Students can then vote for the ideas that they think are most important. Once an idea reaches 25 votes it will be taken to a Union Forum. If it is decided that the idea falls within ordinary business the idea can be actioned without moving forward to a Union Forum. 


Ideas Portal

Ideas will be marked as 'passed' if they fall within ordinary course of business and will be actioned straight away, or if they have been taken forward to a Union Forum. You can find out which ideas have become SU mandates here. 


Union Forums

Union Forums are an opportunity for students to discuss and develop ideas for change. Once an idea reaches the threshold it will be taken to the next termly Union Forum. There are three Union Forums, each looking at a different types of ideas for change. 

  1. Influencing SOAS – for ideas that relate to the Institution and its provision
  2. SU Operations – for ideas that relate to the services of the Union, including clubs, societies and commercial services.
  3. SU Campaigns – for ideas that relate to the wider campaigning role of the Union and its membership, to influence the world beyond SOAS.

During a Union Forum students can suggest amendments to the idea and propose alternative solutions. Once discussed at a Union Forum the ideas will move forward to Preferenda.

In order for an idea to be discussed at a Union Forum the student who submitted the idea must attend, or nominate someone to attend in their place. If they do not attend the idea will be referred to the next Union Forum.


A preferenda allows all students to vote for which solutions they would like to see become a Union Priority. During a preferenda students can vote in order of preference. There are three preferenda per year, with the first being used to decide the remits of the Preferenda Portfolio Officer roles. The remaining two referendums – one held in the spring term and one in the summer term – will decide the priorities that the SU will campaign on.

During a preferenda there is an opportunity for students to campaign for a particular idea/solution, they can do this by asking their friends to vote for a specific option. There will also be an opportunity for students to submit a manifesto, a document outlining why students should vote for one of the solutions. These manifesto's will then be published for students to view when deciding which option to vote for. 

Preferenda's are regulated by the Preferenda Rules, these are published prior to a Preferenda taking place and are overseen by the Governance Sub-Committee and Union Deputy Returning Officer. 

Your Ideas

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  • 37 score
    37 voters

    Discount on Bring Your Own bowl at on-campus catering & cut down waste

      SOAS has resumed its on campus catering which is absolutely great! However, everything used in the food stall (bowl, fork, spoon, etc) are single used which is very bad for the environment. I have been bringing my own container and tableware if I know I am going to have lunch on campus. But I noticed not many people are doing it. Paper bowls are dumped in the bin after only one single use, causing also the bin on lower ground floor of Paul Webley Wing always at the edge of overflowing. I want to advocate for this idea of BYOB (bring your own bowl) at SOAS food stall. I think not only should them have posters around the catering area advocating for bringing your own container and cutlery, but also offering discount for it will be a very effective way to encourage it. Besides, I feel we also need a food waste bin in the lower ground floor of Paul Webley Wing, since food waste is sometime evitable (say, for example, when the chicken thigh comes with bones).






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