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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  • 0 score
    0 voters

    Make SU election harassment in the library illegal

      Repeated and disruptive campaigning in the library demonstrates a lack of concern for student studies, which should be candidates' number one priority.


      During the SU election campaign this year certain candidates went around the silent study areas of the library tapping on people's shoulders and requesting their votes. This disrupted individual study but the noise and chatter continued to disrupt whole levels of the library. Though requested to stop targeting students in the library, the library campaigning continued.


      The library is a silent study area, where students do the work that is the reason for their place at university. To infringe on this for personal gain shows a blatant disregard for student work and welfare. Furthermore, it is an insult to democratic processes as other candidates were respectful enough not to enter the library out of common courtesy. The library campaigning definitely swayed peoples votes and this enabled an unfair and undemocratic advantage. This harassment also took place addition to other campaign rule breaks (campaigning must be on campus but posters were all over SOAS student accommodation).


      This is largely an SU election enforcement issue. -> The rules should be updated to explicitly exclude the library. -> The means of complaining about campaign harassment should be published more widely in SU communications.
    Charlotte Soas Su
    1:07pm on 14 Apr 23 This idea has been reviewed by the Sabbatical Officers and it is considered to fall within the course of ordinary business, this means that your idea will be actioned automatically.

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