Who Reps are - and why you should consider becoming one

photographs of three smiling students in green pink and orange
Student 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.
Find out wh your Rep is for 2021/22 using the 'Find My Rep' page. New elections for the 2022/23 cohort will take place at the start of the academic year.

Understanding the Role

Student 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 Student Union General Meetings and SU consultative processes;
  • Regularly liaising with SOAS’ Professional Services teams (such as the Library and SOAS Careers Service) to ensure that the student voice of your community informs review and enhancement processes within these service areas;
  • 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 and the Student Feedback Panel.

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 Descriptors and Terms of Reference

The Core Student Representatives Role Description

Link to the Student Representative Role Description as a pdf.


The School-level Representatives Role Description

Link to the School-level role description as pdf.

School-level Reps attent the monthly Student Feedback Panel (SFP). See the SFP Membership and Terms of Reference in pdf.


Making The Role Your Own - Student Liaison Roles

Each year there are Representatives who want to pursue a particular initiative, or who identify a particular aspect of the School that they would like to further support, or that needs more focus. To help Representatives effectively pursue these interests there are a range of optional Student Liaison roles that can be undertaken that connect to different parts of the School and the broader student experience.


These optional roles allow Reps to create links with staff who run other services, and work with them to enhance student experience in response to student feedback and support needs. If there is something that needs to be addressed which is outside of your departments control, Rep liaisons have a channel to form relationships with other parts of the School and address things directly.


The services that Rep Liaison will link to this year, and the corresponding Terms of Reference are:


Accessible Word Versions

Downloadable Role Descriptions and Liaison Terms of References are available as Word documents at this link.


Volunteer Agreement

Student Representative - Volunteer Agreement

This Agreement has been drawn up to establish what student volunteers can expect in becoming Student Representatives (Reps), and how the Student Representative System operates within SOAS.


Read the Volunteer Agreement in pdf.

Accessible versions of all the documents are set out on the Word documents page.


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

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.


Link to the accessible word version of the Handbook and all other key documents


Page last updated: 03 Mar 2022 17:21