For the third consecutive year, the University of Sydney has topped the National Union of Students (NUS) rankings for student experience, thanks largely to the work and commitment of the University of Sydney Union (USU) .
Each year the NUS rank Australian universities in relation to their support of the student experience – in other words, the quality of life on campus.
Since the Voluntary Student Unionism bill was enacted in 2006, student unions such as the USU were denied primary revenue and have had to adjust in order to keep delivering important support programs and activities to the campus community.
The research by the NUS to determine the rankings looked at how universities and their service providers have managed since VSU, and the filter down impact on students themselves.
“Sydney University tops the first category having consistently supported student life and representation since 2006,” said David Barrow, President of the NUS.
Since 2006, the USU, Australia’s oldest and largest student union, was quick to adapt, and since implementing the Access Benefits membership model, has grown to encompass more than 10, 000 members – each with access to a huge range of extra-curricular activities, leadership opportunities, support and development programs, entertainment, food and retail.
According to the report, by topping the list, the University of Sydney’s “student life is healthy and run and organised by the students of the university”.
“This is terrific recognition of the hard work and dedication of the USU in continuing to provide the widest possible range of student services even despite the difficulties of VSU”, said USU CEO, Paul McJannett.
“Students are at the centre of the campus experience and that drives what we do each and every day. “I am thrilled that we have topped the nation yet again when it comes to the student experience and congratulate everyone at the USU for this great achievement”, said Mr McJannett.
The report also stated the University was “extremely supportive of student representation” and consulted students of all types, at every level.
The culture of student involvement in decision-making permeates from governing board level through to student administration units,” read the report. In 2009, the USU launched a number of key initiatives to impact positively on the student experience.
The International Student Lounge, a resource-packed space for international and local students, was opened in July.
The Verge Gallery was unveiled shortly afterwards, offering an accessible, fully equipped gallery space to showcase and enjoy talented student artists.
The USU also completed major redevelopment of food and retail outlets on campus – bringing the standard to such services to a new level for the benefit of the entire campus community.
Following Sydney in the top category were Monash, the University of Melbourne, The University of New South Wales, Australian National University and the University of Western Australia, while Charles Sturt and Southern Cross University were in the bottom category.
”Whilst the post-VSU world has not been easy at times, USU is proud that we have not only continued existing services but also introduced new ones for the benefit of students and the entire campus,” said Pat Bateman,. President of the USU.
“We will continue to meet these challenges and ensure that we provide the best student experience found in any university around Australia”, he said.
Click here to see the full report on the NUS website.