EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about CHANGEABER

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1 EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about CHANGEABER

2 Welcome from the Chair Here at AberSU we believe that every student s voice is equal and this is the driving principle behind ChangeAber. You, our members, have the power to decide our priorities for the year, tell us what we can do to improve the student experience and create lasting change on campus and beyond. Your voice is important and should be heard at all levels of the university community but we realise not everyone is able to attend meetings. This is why we developed Change Aber to provide you with as many platforms as possible to transform and shape your experience. From Union Council to an All Student Vote, there are so many channels for you to shape your time at Aberystwyth. We strongly believe in the power of collective action and students transforming their campus, their community and their world. Change Aber is a core part of working to make that belief a reality and we strongly encourage you to take that opportunity to enhance your experience. This guide has been written to help you understand Change Aber s processes and structures and how you can get involved and shape our work. If you have any questions about how you can make a change, don t hesitate to get in touch. Yours Democratically, Gareth Edwards Union Chairperson Lewis Donnelly President Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 2

3 KEY CONTACTS Democracy is a core principle of AberSU but it isn t always the easiest thing to understand. Whether you want to submit an Idea but don t know how or have a suggestion about how to make meetings more inclusive, we re here for you. Feel free to contact one of the Team and we ll be happy to help you however we can. Lewis Donnelly President As President, Lewis is responsible for ensuring that Change Aber is working in the interests of our members. Working with the Officer Team and others, the role of the President is to make sure you have as many options to change Aber for the better. Gareth Edwards Union Chairperson Gareth is responsible for the running of Union Council, leading the Democracy Committee and making sure meetings run effectively and fairly. His primary goal is to make sure the democratic structures of AberSU are working for you. Daniel Meehan Campaigns & Democracy Coordinator As well as providing training, Dan is responsible for the secretarial support aspect for Union Council, preparing the agendas, minutes and reports. He also coordinates with key members of the team to ensure you get the information you need and that meetings are accessible as possible. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 3

4 Union council Union Council is the key decision making body in AberSU, with elected student representatives setting the direction of our work, creating policies to make lasting change and ensuring we work for you. The job of Union Council can be summed up in 5 points: 1. Discuss and decide the policy of AberSU 2. Determine the direction of AberSU Campaigns 3. Keep the Officer Team to account on their work 4. Raise issues that affect students on and off campus 5. Review, amend and approve AberSU s governing documents Unlike an All Student Vote or All Student Meeting, only people who are members of Council are allowed to vote at meetings. If you want to find out more about who is a member of Union Council contact us or check out the below infographic. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 4

5 Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 5

6 Before the Meeting Before every meeting, the team at AberSU will inform all of our members when and where upcoming meeting will take place and the deadlines for submitting your ideas. A full schedule detailing when each meeting is to take place can be found online. The team will ensure that you are given all the information you need by using every platform we have to communicate with you. The below steps detail each step we take to ensure that you have the information you need to take part: 1. We want to hear your Ideas With 21 days to go until the next Council meeting, at AberSU we want to hear your ideas about making Aber even greater. All you have to do is submit your idea online. 2. Deadline for Ideas 10 days before the meeting is the last day you can submit your Idea for Council. Don t worry if you miss the deadline, there s always the next meeting! 3. What s on the Agenda 7 days before the Council meeting the Democracy Team will make sure everything you need is uploaded on the website and contact you direct. 4. The Actual Meeting On the night of the meeting members of the team will be on hand to help you to make the most of Council. 5. Minutes We ll make sure the minutes are written, translated and uploaded to the website no later than 7 days after the meeting. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 6

7 In the MEETING This is the part of the process that you take the lead, setting the direction of our work and holding the Officer Team to account. Throughout every meeting the Democracy Team will be on hand to help you to make the most of Council. We strongly advise that you read the agenda, reports and ideas before the meeting so you know what is going to be discussed. You can find everything you need online. There are several stages of the meeting we follow to make sure Council is as effective as possible and ensuring your experience is the best it can be. 1. Arrival Upon arrival you will be welcomed and asked to sign in by our Democracy Team and will be given all the necessary documents including your voting card. 2. Making Ideas a Reality Once the Chair has welcomed everyone we ll get straight to business and talk about the ideas people have to change Aber. 3. Asking what your Officers have done for You After a quick break the meeting will focus on what the Officer Team have been doing since the last meeting and what they can do to improve the Aber experience. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 7

8 Making Ideas a Reality The Debate When any idea is put forward to Council to discuss and decide upon the person who submitted the idea (also known as the proposer) will be asked to present their idea. If they are not able to attend the meeting or don t wish to speak, they can ask another student or Officer to speak on their behalf. The person proposing the idea speaks for their idea and why Council should support it and they answer any questions people have. If someone doesn t agree with the Idea they are invited to speak against it and present their reasons why it shouldn t be supported by Council. If it is felt that further discussion is needed to clarify what the Idea wants to achieve, the Chair will ask for a second round of speeches, one supporting the idea and one against the idea. Once all the arguments have been made the proposer provides a summary of the idea and it goes to a vote. Amendments If you think that one of the Ideas on the agenda is missing an important action or contains some misinformation, then you can suggest an amendment. If an amendment is submitted the person suggesting it will be asked to speak about why the amendment should be made. This is then followed by someone speaking against the amendment and then a summary of what the proposed amendment is. Just like an Idea, Council votes on the amendment and if it passes it s added to the Idea, if not it the Idea goes ahead as it was. Voting Voting at Council is simple. The majority of the time it s done by those who can vote raising their voting cards when they are either for the idea or against the idea. A third option is also available whereby if you re not sure you can abstain from the vote. There is also a fourth option which is known as deferring the vote. If this happens, the Idea will no longer be discussed and will go to an All Student Vote. More information about All Student Votes can be found online. Depending on what is being voted upon, you usually need a simple majority or in some cases a 2/3s majority. The Chair and Democracy Team will make sure to inform you what majority is needed. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 8

9 Making Ideas a Reality Keep the Meeting Moving Sometimes in meetings some Ideas end up taking more time then they need or other times people in the meeting feel that the vote was too close to call and we need to recount the vote. In any of these situations there are a various options for people to take to ensure the meeting is as effective as possible. These are known as procedural motions and will require the person suggesting the motion to tell Council why they should support it. A vote will be held and needs either a simple majority or 2/3s, whichever is greater. The procedural motions include the following: 1. No Confidence in the Chair The chair will step down and Council will appoint an acting Chair 2. A Democracy Team member acts as Chair Council will choose a member of the Democracy Team to serve as Chair for the rest of the meeting. 3. Remove a person from the Meeting The Council shall vote to have someone removed from the meeting for disorderly or offensive behaviour. 4. The Idea should be taken into Parts The Idea will be split into smaller parts for Council to discuss and vote on separately from the rest of the Idea 5. We should Vote Now The vote will immediately take place 6. We should re-count the Vote A recount of the vote will be held immediately 7. Change the order of the Agenda Council votes to bring forward items on the agenda. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 9

10 Asking Your Officers W h at They Have Done for You Keeping Full-Time Officers to Account Passing policy is an important part of Council s role but holding the Officer Team to account is also a major role too. Each meeting of Union Council is an opportunity for you to ask your Officers what they have been doing to enhance the student experience at Aber. To make this easier for everyone, each of the Full-Time Officers manifesto pledges are graded according to a traffic light system. The idea of this system is to ensure Officers keep to their election promises and show where they are in achieving their objectives. However, Officers cannot change the colour of the traffic light for any of their pledges unless Council approves it. The system has been made to keep it as simple as possible following these guidelines: 1. Red 2. Yellow 3. Green Red is the starting point whereby the Officer has not begun to work on this pledge and will still be on their list of objectives. If an Officer s pledge is marked Yellow, this is an indication that they are currently in the process of making it happen. When a pledge is marked Green this represents a stamp of approval and means that the Officer has successfully achieved their goal. The Democracy Team will be sure to inform you of which election pledges will need your approval before the meeting. Unfortunately, we are not able to extend this to the Part- Time Officers as well but we strongly encourage you to ask them what they have been doing and we will include regular updates on their work. Keeping Liberation & Section Officers to Account Although we believe that it is important for the Officer Team to be held account on their work, not all of the Officer Team can be held to account at Council. Instead of Council, these Officers are held to account on their work by their members at Zone meetings which you can find out more about online. Our Liberation and Section Officers can only be held to account by those students who self-define into the specific liberation or section. For example only Women students are able to keep the Women s Office to account on their actions. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 10

11 After the MEETING After each Council meeting the Democracy Team will work on ensuring the minutes are written, translated and uploaded to the website within 7 days. We ll also upload the successful ideas (amended or not) to the policies section of our website and will be AberSU policy for either 3 years or until the change has been made. All of the ideas that passed will be assigned to the relevant member(s) of the Officer Team and they will take the necessary action to achieve them. We ll be sure to keep you updated on the progress of these ideas by communicating with our members across our various platforms. If you have any questions, concerns or comments about the minutes or ideas, you can raise these either at the next meeting or with the Democracy Team beforehand. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 11

12 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the most important meeting of the year as it is an opportunity for our members to ensure AberSU is spending in the right areas and that we are continuing to enhance the student experience. AGMs run in the same order as any ordinary Council meeting with the only difference being several topics are discussed before any Ideas or Officer Reports. It is down to all those present at the AGM to discuss and decide upon the following: 1. Trustees Report The Chair of the Trustees, who is the President, will provide a report on the activities of the Trustees since the last AGM. 2. Accounts Either the President or another full-time officer will present the accounts for AberSU to make sure you know where and how we re spending the money. 3. Appointing the Auditors To make sure every penny AberSU is spent correctly we need to appoint external auditors. The AGM is our way of making sure you re happy with the people we choose to check the books! 4. Approving our Affiliations Every year AberSU pays to be part of larger national organisations like NUS and BUCS and the AGM is your chance to let us know you re happy to be affiliated to them. What makes an AGM different from a Union Council is that we need at least 100 members to attend so that any decisions made are valid. The only other difference between an AGM and a Union Council meeting is that at an AGM every student can attend and have their say. Once the above 4 points have been discussed and voted upon, the rest of the meeting continues as a Union Council meeting. If you re a member of Union Council you will be required to stay for the rest of the meeting as only you can vote on Ideas and the Officers work. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 12

13 All Student Vote The All Student Vote is the channel you should choose if your Idea has an impact the affects every student at Aberystwyth. This process allows every student an opportunity to vote on the issue at hand and play a direct part in shaping the direction of AberSU. Ideas that would typically go through an All Student Vote include whether or not we should have a full-time paid International Officer or if we should have a Starbucks in our Union. The All Student Vote is a platform to discuss those big issues that we need everyone s opinion on. Unlike Council or All Student Meetings, All Student Votes are about asking our members a question about one issue. How that Idea is then implemented is down to the Officer Team and staff at AberSU to find the most effective way. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 13

14 Before the Vote Before any All Student Vote, the team at AberSU will inform all of our members of that a vote has been called, the reasons why, and when it is being held. Like Council meetings, there will be a deadline for submitting your Ideas which are detailed online. The team will use every platform we have to ensure that you are given all the information you need. The below steps highlight what actions we ll take to ensure you have the information you need to know: 1. We want to hear your Ideas With 21 days to go until the next democratic event we want to hear your ideas for change. All you have to do is submit your idea online. 2. Deadline for Ideas 10 days before the Council meeting is the last day you can submit your Idea for an All Student Vote. Don t worry if you miss the deadline, there s always another opportunity! 3. What s on the Agenda At the next meeting of Union Council, the Chair will announce all of the Ideas that have been submitted to an All Student Vote and when the vote will take place. 4. We Need You! After the meeting, AberSU will be looking for people who are interested in running the Yes and No campaign on the Ideas submitted to the All Student Vote. 5. Vote, Vote, Vote! This stage of the process is where we ask our members to vote on the Idea being proposed. If the Idea gets voted in by the members then the team AberSU will work on making it a reality. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 14

15 During the Vote How to Get Involved Once the Chair has announced all of the Ideas that have been submitted to an All Student Vote, the team will be looking for people who will be interested in running the Yes and No campaigns. Just like any referendum, there is the opportunity for students to gain come together and campaign either for the Idea or against it. Usually, the person who submitted the Idea would be the individual leading the Yes campaign, but this isn t always the case. Any student can put themselves forward to run either the Yes or No campaign; all you have to do it follow these very simple steps: 1. Put Yourself Forward If you re interested in running either the Yes or No campaign, all you need to do is let us know by ing 2. Get a Team Together You re probably not the only person who thinks the way you do about the Idea being proposed, so why not campaign with them? We strongly recommend getting a team together to help you campaign. 3. Making your Voices Heard In the lead up to the voting day, speak to students telling them about the vote, why it s important and your reasons why they should vote Yes or No. When a student has put themselves forward to run either the Yes or No campaign, AberSU will provide them with as much guidance and support as possible. Each All Student Vote AberSU holds must follow the same rules as our elections which you can find online. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 15

16 During the Vote Campaigning All Student Votes follow the same rules we use for our annual elections which you can find ar-lein. To ensure fairness and openness, we ask that everyone who takes part in the All Student Vote abide by these rules and the general principle that any vote should be open, fair and honest. As part of the campaigning period we ll be sure to offer both the Yes and No campaigns an opportunity to debate on the Idea. It will also be an opportunity for our members to question each campaign on their reasons why they should vote Yes or No. AberSU will also provide a publicity budget for both campaigns that they can use to buy materials for their campaigns. This amount will be the same as full-time officer elections. In any of our All Student Vote, the Returning Officer or the Deputy Returning Officer will have the final say on any rulings. For any All Student Vote, the Deputy Returning Officer will be the Membership Services Manager, Andrew Morwood. Voting Any All Student Vote will be carried out electronically on our website, which will include details of the Idea and arguments from both the Yes and No campaigns. Like our elections, every one of our members has the right to vote, but unlike our elections there is a quota. For any Idea that is voted for to be valid we need at least 250 members to vote and then it s as a simple majority to win. In the event that the quota is not reached, the Idea will be referred to the next Council meeting. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 16

17 AFTER THE VOTE What happens next? Once the vote has closed the Team at AberSU will ensure the results are shared with our members no later than 3 days afterwards. We ll use every communication platform we have to let you know the outcome. What happens after the vote depends entirely on the outcome. 1. If it s a Yes Then the team at AberSU will begin on finding ways to make your Idea a reality and ensure to update Council on our progress. 2. If it s a No Then the Idea, just like in Union Council, doesn t become AberSU policy. If you still think that the Idea is something we need to be working on, come and speak to us. Everything you need to know about Change Aber Page 17

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