What is a Rep?

Who Reps are and why you should become one!
Your Voice at SOAS.

Representatives join a long history of proactive and engaged members of the SOAS community volunteering to ensure that the student voice is raised at various institutional forums. Reps activities have led to many initiatives in teaching and learning development at SOAS and have helped achieve enhancements to the student experience of their peers.


New Course Reps and Department Reps will be elected in October. Check back in September for information on how to become a Rep, and take part in the election.


Understanding the Role

Representatives are the essential link between students, academic and professional services teams, and the Students' Union. In becoming a rep you will coordinate with other reps in your department to divide and undertake various responsibilities and duties, including:


  • Gathering student views, thoughts and opinions and raising these with relevant members of staff within your academic department and/or at various institutional forums across the School, such as Students' Union forums and S.U consultative processes;
  • Regularly liaising with departments to ensure that the student voice of your community informs review and enhancement processes;
  • Highlighting issues you are passionate about, such as sustainability or inclusion, and working with individuals from across SOAS to support School-wide initiatives in these areas;
  • Attending department meetings (for Department Reps) and department feedback committees (for Course Reps and Department Reps).



Benefits of the Role

Gain skills and contribute to the community

Reps who participate in the training and attend meetings will gain the most from the role. As a Rep you will:

  • Affect positive change.
  • Strengthen your C.V and develop transferable professional skills via the Student Representative training programme.
  • Develop meaningful connections with members of the SOAS community, both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Expand and enrich your experience as part of the SOAS community.
  • Gain an insight into how higher education institutions function.
  • Receive a Personal Reference Letter on successful completion of your role.


Gaining influence and insight

Representatives can affect real, lasting positive change and through doing so in a supportive and inclusive environment, develop a whole range of transferable skills and experiences for the future workplace while working with and on behalf of your academic community to enhance the student experience.

Representatives help build a strong sense of community with fellow students, whether by getting immediate issues dealt with, campaigning for change in HE, or, by organising events that bring students together. Being a Representative is not just about solving problems. You have a platform to do something special with peers who share your interests and passion for change.


Professional training - transferable skills

All Representatives will receive a training session from the Students’ Union, provided at the start of Term 1, which prepares students for the role and provides an opportunity for Representatives to meet one another and form connections early in the academic year. All Representatives are also provided with the option to undertake a selection of Professional Skills training workshops provided by SOAS’ Staff Development team. While useful to Representatives, these sessions provide skills and training opportunities that are useful beyond the work you undertake as a Representative.


Professional Personal Reference

At the end of the academic year, on successful completion of your role, all Representatives will receive an individual Personal Reference Letter from the Representation and Research Coordinator within the Students’ Union. The reference will outline the training sessions you have completed and any official additional responsibilities you undertook throughout the academic year.


Role Descriptions, Volunteer Agreement and Handbook

The Course and Department Rep Role Description

Link to the Course Rep and Department Rep role descriptions in .pdf format. Word Version available here. 


The College Student Voice Assistant role

Student Voice Officers attend the Student Feedback Panel (SFP). See the SFP Membership and Terms of Reference in pdf. Word Version here.



The Volunteer Agreement

The Agreement has been drawn up to establish what student volunteers can expect in becoming Course or Department Representatives (Reps), and how the Representative Network operates within SOAS.


Read the Volunteer Agreement in pdf and Accessible Word Version Here.


Outlined are the commitments of the School and Students’ Union (S.U) in running the Rep system and the reasonable expectations of what volunteers agree to do by volunteering to undertake the role. The underlying principle of the Rep system and this Volunteer Agreement is to strengthen the student voice in the decision-making around and the monitoring of the quality of teaching and learning, curriculum, accessibility and the student experience at SOAS.



The Handbook covers all the essential information for students considering the role that want detailed information and for elected Reps once in the role.

Link to the Handbook as a .pdf document and as an accessible word version here.



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