Become a Student Trustee

We are looking for enthusiastic, responsible and reliable students to fill the role of Student Trustee and join our board of trustees in October 2021 until end of academic year. This is a voluntary role which you will be able to undertake alongside your studies.

If you have an interest in getting involved your Students’ Union, making key decisions on what your Students’ Union should focus on and learn more about how a charity operates, then this role is perfect for you.

You'll develop invaluable skills to increase your employability whilst ensuring students are represented at a trustee level.

What is RUSU's Trustee Board?

RUSU is a registered charity which is governed and led by a board of trustees.

The Trustee Board is a friendly and supportive group, made up of a mix of 9 students (some of whom may be recent graduates), and up to 5 non-students, who have specific experience, knowledge or skills that can help support the group.

The overall role of the Board is to ensure that the union is well run, meeting its aims and working within the law and the RUSU constitution.

The board provides RUSU with direction on major issues; approves the RUSU strategic plan and continues to monitor progress against the plan. The board is the highest decision maker of the union and board members share a collective responsibility for all union activities, ensuring they identify and manage any risks to the organisation. The board has specific responsibilities and they must ensure proper and prudent administration of the organisation and ensure the organisation meets any legal requirements and manages its finances and resources effectively and appropriately.

What is a Student Trustee?

Student Trustees sit on the Trustee Board for RUSU and have the same rights and responsibilities as the other members of the Trustee Board (including full-time officers). Student Trustees are not involved in the day to day running of the Students' Union, but take an overview of how the Union is performing, both financially and in delivering services to students.

As a Student Trustee you will work alongside the rest of the board of trustees. You will be expected to:

  • Attend approximately 5 Trustee Board meetings across the academic year.
  • Attend any sub-committee meetings to which you are appointed.
  • Read through materials and papers in advance of Trustee Board meetings.
  • Keep in regular contact by email and phone with the Chair of the Trustee Board (RUSU President) and other Trustees to be able to provide real-time feedback when queries and issues arise.
  • Participate in Trustee Board meeting debate and discussion, using your knowledge and experience to represent the views of the student body. At these meetings you will;
    • Contribute to the strategic leadership of the union.
    • Ensure RUSU is operating in the best interests of students.
    • Monitor RUSU's progress against strategic aims and objectives.
    • Monitor the financial performance of RUSU to ensure it remains financially secure and accountable.
    • Monitor the performance of Full Time Officers and hold them to account.
  • Attend the RUSU Annual General Meeting (AGM), where an annual report will be presented and to the student body.
  • Promote the role of Student Trustee throughout the year and elections period.

Being a member of a charity board of trustees is an excellent opportunity to have oversight of the organisation and to take on some key responsibilities. As a Trustee, you must ensure RUSU is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit.

The objects of RUSU are the advancement of education of students at the University of Reading for the public benefit by:

  • • Promoting the interests and welfare of students during their course of study and representing, supporting and advising students
  • • Being the recognised representative channel between students and the University and any other external bodies
  • • Providing social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities and forums for discussions and debate for the personal development of its students

Trustees must ensure that RUSU complies with its governing document (Articles of Association), and any regulations and laws that apply, such as Charity Law.

Trustees must always act in the best interests of RUSU, they need to ensure that:

  • They make balanced and adequately informed decisions
  • They avoid putting themselves in positions where there is a conflict of interest
  • They do not receive any benefit from the charity unless it is properly authorised and clearly in the interests of the charity

Trustees must act responsibly, reasonably and honestly to ensure that:

  • RUSU’s assets are only used to support the work of the charity
  • No inappropriate risks are taken that may negatively affect RUSU’s assets or reputation
  • RUSU is not over committed in terms of resources
  • RUSU carefully considers any investment or borrowing
  • RUSU complies with any restrictions attached to its funds

RUSU Trustees should use their skills and experience and take appropriate advice where necessary. The should also ensure that they dedicate enough time, thought and energy to the role.

RUSU Trustees must ensure that RUSU is accountable:

  • Be able to demonstrate that RUSU is complying with the law, that it is well run and effective
  • Ensure that it is accountable to its members
  • Maintain responsibility for any authority delegated to staff, volunteers or sub committees

Although a key role within a charitable organisation, being a Student Trustee won’t take up too much of your time. We estimate that you’ll need to commit around 30-40 hours throughout the year.

The role lasts for one academic year. A Student Trustee may be re-appointed (or re-elected) for a maximum further term of one year. A student may serve a maximum of two years as Student Trustee which may be consecutive or non-consecutive.

The successful candidate will have an interest in getting involved in the higher education sector or student union movement. They will also have the following skills and outlook:

  • High level of integrity and a thorough understanding of confidentiality – at times you will have access to confidential information that cannot be shared beyond the board
  • Ability to put your own views aside and a willingness to put the charity’s interests above any other interest
  • Excellent verbal communication skills – you will need to be able to share your ideas/views when discussing issues in a small group.
  • Strong inter-personal skills; be friendly and willing to listen to views of others, take expert advice when appropriate
  • Remain professional and able to work well with others
  • Willing to deliberate and able to come to a shared understanding and agreement even at times when there are differing views at the outset
  • Reliable and well organised with meeting skills
  • Chairing skills or a desire to develop these skills

This role may be of particular interest to students who hope to work in the charity sector as you will gain invaluable understanding of charity law and issues affecting charitable organisations. It may also be of interest to students who are interested in representation; or thinking of standing for a role in the RUSU Leadership Elections as you will gain insight into the work of Full-time Officers.

It is a career-enhancing opportunity to oversee a multi-million-pound charity representing around 20000+ students.

Amazing experience for any career, but especially for management, law, politics, finance, business, consultancy, accountancy, human resources and public relations.

You’ll develop invaluable skills to increase your employability whilst working with students and other professionals. It is a unique opportunity to gain experience within a charitable organisation. You will also;

  • Make a positive impact in RUSU and contribute to decisions that will create a better experience for Reading students.
  • Develop and improve your transferable skills such as time management, communication, chairing, & meeting skills
  • Demonstrable your ability to understand complex information and take responsibility for key decisions affecting the organisation
  • Have the opportunity for personal development and training and receive support from the senior management team
  • Develop an excellent understanding and knowledge of the organisation’s work and an insight into the work undertake by each department
  • Understand and learn about organisational governance, such as strategic planning, account management and Charity law.
  • Opportunity to network and work with RUSU staff, elected representatives and students

This role is open to all students, but you must be a registered at the University of Reading during the 2021/22 academic year whilst undertaking this role.

We welcome applications from all students, undergraduate, postgraduate, home, international, full-time or part-time members and from students with a diverse background or have experience of or identify with under-represented and liberation groups.

Apply now for a position

To apply for this role please send your CV (as Pdf) and a statement of NO MORE than 500-words supporting your application for the role of Student Trustee. Send this to k.davey@reading.ac.uk.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an interview.

Deadline for applications is Thursday 7th October 2021.

Any questions about the roles?

If you are interested and want to discuss the role, speak to Kath Davey, Head of Student Voice & Engagement or Ben Knowles, RUSU President. You can contact Kath by email at k.davey@reading.ac.uk or Ben at president@rusu.co.uk.

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