The Durham Students' Union is the representative body for all Durham students. As the primary student body independent from the University, the Union's main role is to voice student concerns to the University. It also provides a student bar and café in Dunelm House, vital welfare support, over 150 societies to get involved in and several other student support services (e.g. the 'Housing Service' who will check though your contract before you sign it).
In a similar manner to the JCR, the Durham SU is a democratic organisation run by students for students. It’s managed by its Student Representative Council, which meets every 2 or 3 weeks. Anyone is welcome to attend and voice their opinion there. When it comes to a poll, Aidan’s is allowed an amount of voting cards that is proportional to its students. The Union has a team of Sabbatical Officers elected at the end of February whose job is to make sure the Union is carrying out what the student body at Durham needs. This team consists of:
Durham Students' Union President
The President is responsible for getting more students involved with, and participating in, the Union. They are the lead student representative; chief spokesperson and figurehead of the Union. They are the primary liaison with the University, Common Rooms, and the National Union of Students.
Academic Affairs Officer
The Academic Affairs Officer represents students on education-related matters to ensure that their education is meeting their expectations. This can range from the quality of the teaching or research itself to learning support services such as the library. They also support the Academic Reps, making sure that the course and faculty representative system is running successfully. Finally, the Academic Affairs Officer oversees academic evaluation projects including the National Student Survey and Quality Assurance Agency audits.
The Activities Officer makes sure that student groups (societies, fundraising groups, volunteering groups and student media) run effectively. They support student groups in the organisation of certain events and activities, ensuring that student groups have the resources that they need. They also campaign for more resources where it is necessary and make certain that resources are allocated fairly. Activities Officer generally helps student groups measure how effective they are, offering advice and support to help them become more successful.
The Community Officer promotes student health and wellbeing. They work to improve non-academic facilities within the University for students and champion equality and diversity. They also support and coordinate associations, liberation and rights campaigns. The final role of the Community Officer is to help make student accommodation (college and private) better, and to champion the Union’s work in the community, which includes student charity fundraising.
The Development Officer develops programmes and initiatives designed to enhance the skills of students and their graduate qualities. This is done through the development of relevant training for officers, student group leaders, course and faculty reps, other volunteers, and the common rooms. The Development Officer also delivers training in conjunction with certain student groups and student media, as well as charity fundraising, volunteering and other student organisations. They liaise with the University on issues regarding personal development and employability.
The Senior Students’ Union Rep is in charge of gathering the opinion of the JCR and coordinating it with other colleges SU Reps at Assembly (the highest governing body of the Durham Students’ Union). They are also the main advertisers of Union referenda and elections in college and sit on the Executive Committee as the main link for information from Durham SU to the JCR on University-wide issues. The Senior SU Rep also selects the Aidan’s University Challenge team.