SU Strategy 2020-23

We believe that students can and want to shape the communities they are part of for the better.

Our Cause

We believe that students can and want to shape the communities they are part of for the better. Through our student leaders and elected representatives, we create opportunities for students to come together and inspire them to make change and shape the world around them.

The SU is more than an independent charity or a building; The SU is the body of students at the University of Bath. Together The SU:

  • Promotes student interest and welfare,
  • Provides support and advice,
  • Represents the student community with the University and others,
  • Provides social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities.

Our values

Our student communities unite through the following values:

  • [To follow through project work]
  • [To follow through project work]
  • [To follow through project work]
  • [To follow through project work]

Our context

  • Many of the traditional forms of students’ union participation are in decline, and students have told us that The SU has become too bureaucratic. We need to address these fundamental issues if we are to engage all students with our cause
  • Pressure on students continues to grow, particularly around finances and academic achievement. Social norms, technology and the political landscape are changing rapidly, and will continue to do so. The climate emergency will affect everything we do, and we need to take urgent action and play our part in combatting this crisis.
  • Whilst the higher education sector enters an unprecedented period of uncertainty, the University of Bath is also embarking on a new chapter under a new Vice-Chancellor and an emerging new strategy.
  • Locally, Bath’s housing and transport infrastructure is under strain. Bath’s students are often at the forefront of negative experiences linked to these issues.

Our vision for 2023

We are re-inventing the students’ union for the 21st Century. Our vision is one where students take part in The SU as active citizens within their communities, not just as consumers of services. We need to do this so we can deliver our cause and rise flexibly to the challenges ahead, marking a shift from delivering things for students, to working with students to develop and deliver things. Our focus as a community is therefore about facilitating opportunities to come together and inspiring each other to take an active role in shaping our world for the better.

Our impact

The more we advance our cause, the more personal growth, learning and development that we achieve, making the communities we are part of even better. This helps improve the student experience, enhances wellbeing, and strengthens our impact as representatives for change.

The SU will focus its performance measures on supporting our cause, using survey and participation data alongside staff and financial measures to monitor the impact of the plans outlined below. Our annual planning process will direct business as usual activity towards the delivery of the same goals and KPIs, linking our operational plan with the delivery of strategic goals.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)


Key Performance Indicators

How we will measure them


Students DO things as part of a community

Overall % of students who are taking part in SU groups or community activities (measured through online and physical participation monitoring).

Students FEEL part of something

Average % of student pulse survey questions:

  • I feel that my contribution to The SU matters
  • I feel a sense of belonging
  • I feel part of a community


Students DO things that shape their communities**

Overall % of students who are taking part in SU activities where they are shaping the community around them (measured through online and physical participation monitoring).


Students KNOW how to make change

Average % of student pulse survey questions:

  • I know how to influence the decisions and actions of The SU
  • I know how to contribute more to the community I am part of
  • I know how students are making the community better

Students FEEL they can make change

Average % of student pulse survey questions:

  • I can influence the decisions and actions of The SU
  • By contributing to my community I’m also gaining from it
  • Everyone can make a contribution to the community



Average % of staff survey questions:

  • High motivation at work
  • Satisfaction with support from manager
  • Satisfaction with current role and level of responsibility
  • Satisfaction with current level of learning & development

Staff are ENGAGED

Average % of staff survey questions:

  • Work gives a sense of personal achievement
  • Clear understanding about expected standards of performance
  • Undertaken training, learning or development
  • Good co-operation between different departments


The SU makes a positive FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION each year

Our year-end financial contribution (operating) is better than budget.

**This measure will draw from activities where students playing an active role in shaping their communities:

  • Standing in any election for a student leader or rep role
  • Supporting a campaign or being part of a group that is campaigning
  • Submitting a view or an idea through any participatory platform
  • Taking part in any event or activity designed to shape a community
  • Voting in any election, referendum or policy round
  • Being part of Nightline,  V-Team or RAG (or supporting in any way)
  • Fundraising for a community event through a club or society
  • Volunteering for a community event through a club or society
  • Peer mentors or PAL leaders
  • Diversity and Support groups
  • Event/activity organisers and delivery teams (including FWEMs and Captains)

Our original plan

Following workshops with students and staff, we have developed four key programmes of work:

  • Citizen-shift – To facilitate opportunities for students to come together and encourage everyday participation in our cause
  • Culture-shift – To strengthen our distinctive culture and working practices and create a culture that helps deliver our cause
  • Content-shift – To shift our communications, activities and spaces to better reflect and celebrate our cause
  • Climate-shift – To prioritise how we together respond to the climate emergency

Through workshops we have identified a number of specific projects that fall within these programmes. These will be developed and delivered using the new project management framework.






PHASE I (STARTS 2020-21)

  • Develop a platform which allows students to easily shape decisions in The SU
  • Develop a representative citizens’ assembly to monitor SU progress and gather feedback on SU activity
  • Trial ways to use collective intelligence to tackle complex student issues
  • Review and simplify processes to streamline how we do things (including our approach to student groups)
  • Update our values and behaviours framework, embedding across all student and staff activity
  • Update and implement our people strategy to improve staff satisfaction and engagement
  • Develop resources for staff and student leaders to talk about The SU and our cause
  • Focus our efforts around The SU’s annual programmes of activity – welcome and awards – to improve impact
  • Begin refreshing SU spaces to better reflect our cause


  • Achieve the Green Impact award
  • Coordinate student-led activity and partnerships across the University and within the local community


PHASE II (21-22)

  • Identify and implement ways to encourage everyday participation with The SU cause
  • Identify students who are not participating and develop new ways to reach and engage them
  • Complete the ‘employer branding’ process to ensure that the employee experience matches our cause


  • Implement our digital content strategy to put the website at the heart of integrated communications


  • To be developed through student engagement


PHASE III (22-23)

  • Review the role of The SU officers, to focus on cause and engaging with student communities




  • Establish an SU-wide coaching network amongst staff