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Students Union celebrates ‘Union of the Year’ award

A Students’ Union which set out as an independent entity just under two years ago is celebrating being crowned Wales’ best.

Wrexham Glyndwr Students’ Union was recognised as Wales Higher Education Students’ Union of the Year at a ceremony at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. The award recognised the work the Union has undertaken since September 2015, when it was a Guild and a department of the University.

Since then, the Guild became an independent students’ union, registered as a charity and become a company in its own right. It now employs seven members of staff and two sabbatical officers.

Students’ Union CEO Sarah Ellis said: “It’s been an incredibly busy few years, we’re now a charity, we have more staff working on representation and communication, more staff dedicated to advice, better support for our officers and we even managed a massive refurb and brightening up of the building whilst we were at it”

Employees at the Union have been reflecting on last week’s win but are not resting on their laurels, with new campaigns already underway and elections taking place this week.

Students’ Union President Travis Davies said: “It was great to win the award. It’s good to know all the work that we have done was recognised – it’s amazing because it shows we are doing something right and helping student’s voices to be heard in different ways.”

Students can let their views be known via the bespoke ‘Tell Glyn’ system, which allows them to tell the Union what they are and are not happy with and any changes they would like to see. Feedback is sent on to appropriate departments and the union also reports issues back to the University’s Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee for discussion and action – and from there to the Academic Board and the Board of Governors for noting.

Digital and Communications Coordinator Codie Wright said: “We can take what the students are voicing and show the University directly – so they know that it is their students saying it and not just us. It is incredibly useful for a University like ours, which has a number of different campuses – our distance learners can make their views known about things as easily as Wrexham students can.”

The award was also given for the significant work the Union has done on their strategy; they released their first ever strategic plan which takes them through to 2021. The University tells us the plan was entirely based on feedback from students during a research exercise; as part of this students said that two priority areas for the Students’ Union should be representation and advice.

Finance and retail Manager Lowri Hiles added: “Students really value the advice centre and support we can give. We cater to what the students really want, which is giving them that support and allowing their voice to be heard. The award shows how far we have come in a short space of time.”

A range of advice and support is available from the Union, with subjects covered from housing and accommodation to academic issues.

From September 2018, all qualifying Welsh undergraduates at Wrexham Glyndwr University will be eligible for a new student finance package which can provide up to £9,000 as a mixture of grants and loans – more information is available at: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Feesandstudentfinance/WelshStudents/

Top Picture: The Students’ Union team with their award – back row, from left: Codie Wright, Kim Lloyd, Will Medforth, Angus Hamill-Stewart, Cath Clark and Marc Caldecott and front row: Lowri Hiles, Sarah Ellis and Travis Davies.

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