“Here at Union Southampton, we are run by students for students. Everything we do is informed by our members and we make decisions based on their feedback and involvement with us. We understand that our members’ expectation of student life is evolving: they want fast, personal and effective services. We have responded by reviewing and clarifying our brand, our offering and our decision-making process, making it simpler for students to make the changes they want to see.
“Freshers’ is our biggest event and the busiest time of the year. With over 6,000 Freshers joining us every year, we spend much of the year planning exciting new events, services and offerings to appeal to our ever-changing members. We involve all our staff with meetings to generate ideas, so Freshers’ is a real team effort. Our Freshers’ Board meets regularly to plan and finalise the Freshers’ programme to make every year better than the last. We work closely with the University, Residents’ Association and local partners to organise events and to include the wider community in everything we do.
“Freshers’ has considerably evolved as a concept throughout the UK. We understand that students’ expectation of student life has grown, so we stay ahead of the curve through an innovative and inclusive Freshers’ programme, using student feedback to inform our decisions. Over the years we have widened our offering to cater to our whole student community, including undergraduate, postgraduate, international, mature and student parents. We organise events such as film screenings, food tasting evenings and live music performances. With a combination of our Master Pass and our huge variety of day-time and night-time events across Southampton and Winchester, our members can tailor their own Freshers’ experience.
“One important feature of Freshers’ this year has been our offering and response to their digital expectations. The term ‘Generation Z’ refers to this intake’s fast-paced lifestyles, comfort with ubiquitous technology and need for personal communications. We have responded to our members’ social media habits, using Snapchat to provide personalised updates directly from our Full-Time Officers, posting short (under 40-second) videos and participating in live Twitter chats.