Have you heard of functionalities of student unions? You probably did because you pay around £200 during your degree towards the cost of the union. However, the majority of students have no slightest idea of what student union does. If this question is arose, this may seriously undermine their reputation.
Unions get accustomed to blaming students' apathy for ignoring their function. Is that a real excuse for poor finctionality of student union?
The real problem is that many unions have just a symbolic number of student's respresentative and they have little power to influence the union's decisions. A vivid example is to be found in Nottingham where students' community of 60,000 members was ignored by council authorities in the queston regarding students' place to live.
Nottingham student union has conducted debates on many controversial and crucial issues such as " should bottled water be banned from the union shop" and 'should we lobby the university for transexual toilets?" No wonder students got bored – it's obvious that these issues are not of any average student's concern.
If there ever was the right time to discuss student union functions and it's respesentation, it would have been during the tuition fee debate. However, it woudn't have probably brought any results taking into account the fact that the battle was lost anyway.
But there is one exeption to student union's malaise – it's the Leeds. It is more than interested in students' ideas and has a system that allows the union to appeal to students on many issues.
The question is: should students really pay around £130-£190 to student union through tuition fees if it does not work well.