Student Groups Committee (15th October 2014)


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Name of Committee Student Groups Committee
Date and time 15th October 2014, 14:00
Place Meeting Room 2
Present Members
Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries Megan Downing
Student Life Zone Representative Charlotte Pollins
Clubs and Societies Officer Chris McGeehan
Creative Industries Zone Representative Jamie Hanna
Education Zone Representative Michael Sims
Performing Arts Officer Anna Kent - Muller
External Engagement Zone Representative Catriona Rawlins
Sustainability Zone Representative Natalie Rowell
Student Communities Zone Representative Jithin Mullappillil
In Attendance
(non-voting officers and staff)
Student Activities Manager Nic Eldred
Democracy Assistant Katie Ng
Democracy Coordinator Guy Drury

Actions and Decisions

Action Anna to send Nic PA Bunfight feedback Anna Kent - Muller
Decision The committee voted for temporarily allowing Winchester-based student groups to affiliate even if they might duplicate the activities of a Southampton-based student group.
Action Create shared googledoc for committee to add all events happening in groups in their zone Megan Downing, Chris McGeehan
1. Apologies and Attendance

The Chair welcomed everyone to the first Committee meeting of the new academic year. 

  • Evan Whyte, AU Officer, had sent his apologies,
  • Jade Head was also in attendance.
2. Approval of Minutes from last meeting (Friday 9th May)

Chris noted three errors in the last minutes:

  • Item 2 - It should read that the Democracy Zone Committee voted against the Student Enterprise Officer becoming a full voting member of the Student Groups Committee.
  • Item 3.6 - Aspiring Consultants Society were affiliated under the name of Consulting Society.
  • Item 3.18 - UNA Southampton were affiliated under the name of UNA Youth Southampton. 

On the condition that the above changes were made, the committee voted to appove the minutes from the last meeting.

3. Bunfight feedback

Chris asked everyone to give feedback on how groups found the Bunfight.

  • Jamie Hanna began discussion and said that the 3 person rule was a difficult to enforce. Some committees are much bigger than others and so this caused problems amongst some groups. Anna explained that the 3 person rule was instigated by PA as there is so little room in the cube to fit all PA groups as well as 4/5 members of each committee, which in previous years had been the rule.
  • Michael Sims reported that his groups were happy with their position however, they did miss being outside, like in previous years.
  • Similarly, Catriona Rawlins reported that groups were happy where they were situated. However, there had been confusion when the flow of students had stopped; groups had not been told that the line had been closed off and so in future, this should be communicated straight away to everyone.  
  • Anna Kent-Muller reported that groups believe it ran more smoothly this year. However, she said that if anymore PA societies are affiliated this year, they will not be able to use the Cube in future as it has already reached full capacity. She has already gained feedback from her societies and she will forward this to Nic Eldred. There were complaints that some of the newer groups had left their stands unattended for long periods which is unfair for those students who have queued to see them. She added that groups would like longer to prepare the stage and music e.g. the night before Bunfight. Nic explained that this depends on other events that are happening the night before. Chris suggested putting PA in the tent outside, but the possibility of that is weather dependent.
  • Jithin Mullapilil asked if water was being handed out to groups at stands. Nic responded that he went around and gave staff water but not groups; he will look into water availability in future.
  • Natalie Rowell reported that there were no major problems and that feedback was mainly positive. Groups had hoped that more people would visit the tent and, whilst staff do their best to direct students there, it has been a problem in previous years.
  • Charlotte Pollins reported that the groups liked being on the concourse; a few groups didn’t turn up for the event. Nic added that the Atheist Society had asked previously not to be put with the faith groups. Charlotte wasn’t aware of this. Although this was allowed, Megan did add that this sets a bad precedent as other groups may then start requesting to move elsewhere.

Anna added that the staff designated to direct and guide students through the Bunfight had not been helpful and some were directing groups incorrectly; there were also too many in such a small space. Catriona agreed with Anna; they had been badly placed, particularly in the old sports hall. Nic thanked them for their feedback. The committee discussed ways to improve the Bunfight for next year. Suggestions included holding the event over two days, introducing a ticket system (done through JCRs) or finding a new, larger space to hold it.   

Action Anna to send Nic PA Bunfight feedback (Anna Kent - Muller)
4. Funding

Chris explained that he would like to address the inconsistencies he has seen in how money is allocated to groups across the different Zones. Introducing a funding policy would solve this. He asked the committee’s opinions on how and who should allocate funding to groups. Guy added that there is a separate project looking into the economy of student groups which will inform this policy, which this group would then have to approve. Additionally, another project, the Student Leader Review, is starting this term, the outcome of which will affect how funding is done in the future.

Regarding who should be allocating funds, it was generally agreed that committee members of Zones had the best knowledge and understanding of their Zone, and are therefore the appropriate bodies to do this task. Chris noted an exception; he felt PA should be treated like the AU committee and deal with their own funding.

The group briefly looked at the figures outlined in the Funding Policy Consultation paper which outlines the stark differences in amount of funding each Zone, and groups within Zones, receive. Chris then ran through some examples where funding has, in his view, been inconsistent and asked members for their input (see paper for details).   

The Student Leader Review is scheduled to be completed by the end of December; Chris said he would like a policy created in time for it to apply to Funding round 3 of this year.

5. Groups at Winchester

Some committee members and staff have been contacted by students at the Winchester School of Arts (WSA) who are interested in setting up student groups in Winchester. Travelling to and from Southampton can be difficult and SUSU are keen to encourage participation from WSA students. Chris explained that some groups based on Highfield campus may not make the effort to visit Winchester and a possible solution would be to allow students there to create replica groups. The committee were generally in favour for this. Anna added that the WSA groups should not be seen as separate to the Highfield based group; they should be connected.  

The committee voted on whether to temporarily allowing Winchester-based student groups to affiliate even if they might duplicate the activities of a Southampton-based student group. Eight voted for, none voted against and one abstained.

Decision The committee voted for temporarily allowing Winchester-based student groups to affiliate even if they might duplicate the activities of a Southampton-based student group.
6. Zones

There have been a number of requests from student groups to change the Zone that they have been allocated. Chris explained that he would like to create guidelines that will prevent this in future; he asked members for their opinions on this. Charlotte explained that in her Zone, she is better informed on some groups more than others which can prove problematic. There is also the problem of cross-zonal groups e.g. conservation groups. Charlotte asked if we could ask groups which Zone they would like to be under; Anna responded saying that not many students understand the Zone system enough to make an informed decision, which itself is a wider problem that should be addressed. The general consensus was that guidelines should be created; they should explain what areas/topics come under which Zone so as to better inform groups and the committee when making their decision.   


7. Disciplinary procedure - penalty guidance

Guy presented this paper to the committee. He asked committee members to discuss this paper with the groups in their Zone and email any feedback to, before 5th November. Anna asked if references to 'students' is correct; Guy replied no, it should read members and he will make these changes.

8. Plans for this year

Chris invited the committee to share plans they have for the year. Charlotte mentioned that she hoped to help the faith groups in her Zone colloborate more. Similarly, Jamie was planning on helping groups, particularly music societies, work together more.

Chris then outlined his plan in detail (see attached paper).

Megan asked members to get in touch with groups who they know would be interested in being in a video blog.

As there was no more time left, Chris asked the committee to think about obejectives for the year and he will go through them during 1:1s with the committee.

Action Create shared googledoc for committee to add all events happening in groups in their zone (Megan Downing, Chris McGeehan)
Any other business
9. Date of the next meeting

Michael asked if reps could be given access to previous funding rounds; Megan said she will bring this up with IT.

There was no other AOB and so the meeting was closed at 4pm. The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 29th October, Meeting Room 1. This will be an affiliation meeting.

Key: P (Papers Provided), PF (Papers to Follow)