WHAT IS A CLASS REP?
Your Class Rep (Class Representative) is the spokesperson for your class within the Institute. The Class Rep is the first point of contact for all Institute authorities with your class. The Class Reps are collectively responsible for deciding the policy of the Students’ Union. The Class Reps also hold the elected full-time and part-time officers of the Students’ Union to account.
Why become a class rep
- You’ll make new friends, meet like-minded students and work with other motivated and enthusiastic people
- Gain skills such as leadership, negotiation, advocacy and negotiation skills
- Employers regard class reps very highly and the skill you gain are crucial to furthering your career.
- You can earn tangible rewards such as gold, silver and bronze award depending on completion of class rep duties.
Role of a class rep
- Leader – If there is a problem, your class will turn to you for guidance. If your class want to do something, they will look to you to help organise it.
- Spokesperson – If your class has something to say, it sis up to you to say it.
- Lobbyist – If a decision needs to be influenced in a student’s favour, then it’s up to you to try
- Advocate – if your class needs someone to stand up for them, then they will look to you.
- Organiser – If your class wants to get together and have fun outside of class then it’s up to you to plan an event
- Communicator – if something important needs to be said, you must ensure that your class listens to you.
- Listener – If someone wants to talk about something, they are going to want you to listen.
- Carer – if someone in your class is having personal issues, they might ask you for advice.
Duties of a class rep
The most important part of your job is to represent your classmates. You are the voice of your class and it’s up to you to make us Executive officers aware of problems you’re facing, and bring us ideas for how to make the Students’ Union more effective for students. It’s important to realise you are representing your class, and not yourself when you’re in a class rep meeting. So if you know your classmates are opposed to an idea that’s being discussed, you must reflect that in your vote at the meeting, regardless of your own personal views. Try to get the support of your classmates if there’s a contentious issue up for discussion at a later class rep meeting
As well as having a representative role between your class and the Students’ Union, you also have a role between your class and your lecturers, Heads of department and the Institute as a whole. Why not meet up with the Head of Department for a chat, this is a great way of getting your classmates views put across to the people who can best address problems with courses, whatever they may be (timetabling, tutorials, individual lecturers, exams etc.)
Occasionally class reps may find that a member of their class will approach them with a personal issue that is causing them some distress. The best advice is to listen to the student as best you can and then depending on the issue come talk to either the President, Education officer or Welfare Officer who will be able to deal with the matter. Always remember you are NOT a trained counsellor, so try not to take cases on, instead seek help and advice from the Students’ Union.
Attending class rep meetings
You are the voice of your class. If all class reps actively get involved in the class reps meetings, and propose new ideas and raise issues, the Union can be very effective at bringing about positive changes that will help all students here in GMIT.
It can’t be taken for granted that the full-time officers will know about all the issues that affect students unless you tell us. We simply don’t have the time or the resources to be checking up on every class to make sure things are going okay, and that’s the whole reason we have class reps, so you can bring the issues to us. In order to improve we need feedback. We need to know how we are being perceived by our students. Is there anything they think we need to concentrate on to improve? Similarly your classmates need to know what actions the union is taking on a local and national level. They are the ones who voted, we report to them.
Many class reps focus on bringing their class together as a group. Although your primary task is representative, there’s no harm bringing a bit of fun to the job and organising some extra services. These extra services can be anything you think your class might enjoy, such as organising class parties or trips away or arranging for branded class hoodies. Contact the Students’ Union as we can help you and tell you what’s available and on offer.
Get involved in SU campaigns
In the SU we run various campaigns throughout the year to bring awareness to pressing issues in society from mental health week to sexual health awareness week. It is important as a union that we bring these issues to the forefront of our minds. We are always looking for volunteers so if you know anyone who is in your class and who would be interested let us know.