How do I know if my landlord or estate agent is trustworthy?


Where you live is really important it can affect your health and well-being, your academic outcomes and your finances. So choosing where to live, who to live with and who to give your money to are very important decisions. It is a really good idea to think carefully before you sign a contract, make any verbal agreements or handover any money (all of which could be deemed a legally binding agreement).


  • Always get your contract checked before you sign it at the Students’ Union Advice Centre – if the landlord or agent doesn’t want to give you time to do this then you should ask yourself what this says about the landlord/agent for more information contact : email , web
  • Try and speak to students who are already living in a property owned or managed by the landlord/agent and ask what their experience has been – it may be different from the marketing hype



  1. Ask if the landlord is a member of a professional organisation like the NLA.  This shows they are aware of their obligations as a landlord and understand the rules and regulations relating to the letting of private-residential property.
  2. Make sure the landlord provides a proper Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement that both parties sign.  This is the contractual agreement outlining the length of the tenancy, the amount of rent, when it is to be paid, any deposit details, and the obligations of both parties.
  3. Check any deposit is protected.  Landlords are required to protect their tenant’s deposit with a government-authorised scheme such as my|deposits and inform the tenant that they have done so.  If there is a dispute over the return of the deposit, the scheme will help resolve it.
  4. Ensure the landlord provides an inventory, detailing furnishings within the property and their condition.  Both parties should agree to its contents and sign it.
  5. Ask for a gas safety record to show that all gas appliances provided by the landlord have been checked within the past 12 months.  Landlords are required to have a gas safety check carried out annually by a “Gas Safe” registered engineer.
  6. Read the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  This must be provided by the landlord for most lettings and can help when budgeting for energy bills.


Estate Agents

  1. Look for a reputable agent 
    Look for a good, reputable agent to take the stress out of finding a property. Start by researching agents in your area, looking for agents that are members of a registered trade body. Membership of a professional association confirms that they are professionally approved and must adhere to a Code of Practice. Shelter says that Letting Agents must belong to one of three government approved schemes

    • The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
    • The Property Redress Scheme
    • Ombudsman Services Property
  1. Check the agency’s specialism 
    If you’re looking for a studio or one bed flat, you’ll have more luck with some agencies than others. Some agencies will specialize in bigger, family homes and others will let modern flats and apartments. You’ll soon get a feel for the agency’s target market by visiting their website.
  2. Look at the agent’s fees 
    Some letting agents will charge higher fees than others but agents who are members of registered bodies should be transparent and clear about their fees before you sign any agreement. These should be outlined in advance and in a manner that is easily understood. This will allow you to make an informed decision about the agency you choose.
  3. Ask for out-of-hours call out details 
    Even if managing the property, not all agencies offer an out-of-hours service but if the boiler were to break on a cold winter’s evening or the roof were to leak on a wet weekend, you would need someone to call. If the agency doesn’t offer an out-of-hours service, then you may want to look further afield.
  4. Check that the agent protects deposits in a tenancy deposit protection scheme. 
    An agent must protect your deposit in one of three government-authorised schemes and provide you with relevant prescribed documentation. Check that the agent will do this within 30 days of the tenancy starting; if they don’t, they will be breaking the law.
  5. Ask about regular maintenance and safety checks.
    When managing a property on behalf of a landlord, it is essential that the letting agent visits the property at least every six months to check for any maintenance issues. However, they should always seek permission from the tenant first with 24 hours written notice. In addition, the letting agent legally needs to arrange for gas safety checks to be carried out every 12 months to ensure the property conforms to the required gas safety standards and provide the tenant with the certificate.
  6. Check that the staff are knowledgeable
    Good letting agents will train their staff using industry qualifications, such as Continuous Professional Development (CPD) courses. Look to see what training each agency undertakes; if the staff are knowledgeable, they will be able to help with the various hurdles you may experience with your rental arrangements.
  1. Is your deposit protected?

The landlord has overall responsibility for protecting a deposit so something that says –  check who is protecting your deposit the landlord or the letting agent acting on behalf of the landlord


For more information :

2016 NUS Conference Report


nusrepsThe 2016 NUS conference, held this year in Brighton, ran from the 19th-21st April. A team of delegates from Coventry University travelled down to the coast to represent CUSU and all of its students. They attended to vote on motions, discuss proposed actions by the NUS and elect in the new President and Vice Presidents of the NUS. Many of the motions discussed related to huge issues affecting all students, including remaining in the EU, landlords, racism, refugees in universities, student mental health, and the National Student Survey to name a few.

Our delegates did a wonderful job of representing CUSU, voting in the interests of students and looking for ways to improve the NUS, through policies and stances taken at the conference. Our students stood for fairer equality on campuses, greater acceptance and diversity and to fight against rogue landlords and privatization of services.

Motions discussed at the conference included:

  • Boycotting of the NSS
  • Safe social elections
  • Service privatization, or should it be piratisation?
  • Prioritise student mental health now
  • Rogue landlords
  • Refugees: Welcome in universities
  • Stand up to racism
  • The Prevent agenda

The new NUS committee was also voted in, with the following:

  • President: Malia Bouattia
  • Vice President for Education (HE): Sorana Vieru
  • Vice President for Education (FE): Shakira Martins
  • Vice President for Union Development: Richard Brooks
  • Vice President for Society and Citizenship: Robbie Young

Read on to find out what our delegates thought of the conference, and exactly what it means to be an NUS delegate representing CUSU at the NUS conference!

Adebowale Adebiyi - Representation and Welfare Officer

As the lead delegate, it was my responsibility and duty to check up on every delegate, keep everyone together and ensure that every delegate is on the conference floor at the right time. Thanks to my fellow honourable delegates for making these responsibilities easy and smooth for me. Delegates are elected to represent the views and best interests of Coventry University Students, as well as the union, all have to be on our very best behaviour (and we did just that!). The etiquette of all delegates were quite commendable, there was free flow of communication and discussions on very pertinent issues were made, keeping in mind respect for one another.

As your representatives, we voted on some very important motions across the following zones: Priority zone, Welfare zone, Society & citizenship zone, union development, Education zone (that is, HE & FE). Amongst the motions are:

  1. Boycotting of the NSS – unless the Tory government makes a U-turn.
  2. Safe social elections

iii. Service privatization, or should it be piratisation?

  1. Prioritise student mental health now
  2. Rogue landlords
  3. Refugees welcome in universities

vii. Stand up to racism

viii. The Prevent agenda

As regards the election, which was quite a tense one, we voted for the

FTO’s, the block of 15 student trustees, and the democratic procedure committee. The following officers were elected to lead on the leadership of the NUS for the following year;

  1. President: Malia Bouattia
  2. VP Education (HE): Sorana Vieru

iii. VP Education (FE): Shakira Martins

  1. VP Union Development: Richard Brooks
  2. VP Society & Citizenship: Robbie Young

As I have been elected to lead the students’ body for next year, I’ve decided to put some of these ideas at the centre of my plans and part of it is to: make the NUS presence as well as CUSU’s felt on campus thereby utilising to the fullest our affiliation fee; motivate more Coventry University students to be on NUS committee/boards as well as get involved in every of the campaigns run by the liberation and sectional zones. One lesson learnt however from the conference that will be put forward for that of the coming years, is early and adequate preparation of all delegates on issues such as voting, motions, etc.

On a final note, it was such an amazing and transformative experience representing over 24,000 students at the conference, where history was made as the very First Black Woman was elected President. On behalf of my fellow delegates; Neel, Gabriele, Diana, Alex and Naomi, we say Thank You.

For a more detailed overview of the NUS National conference 2016, please see the following links;

Diana Lunca NUS Delegate

The NUS National Conference was a unique experience for me, where I had the chance to meet and to be inspired by other delegates who had vast experience in NUS. Considering the fact that I am just a Student Representative, and not a Sabbatical Officer or part of the Student Council, as my NUS colleagues, I had a different perspective over the conference. From my point of view it was a vibrant and intense event which gave me the opportunity to represent Coventry University, stating opinions and voting on the behalf of the majority of students who are not fully aware of the procedures and laws, therefore who are not taking into consideration the numerous guidelines imposed by some of the student union. I simply voted as a student who wanted the best for the colleagues, for the university and for societies, stating a different perspective in the NUS meeting.

During the first day of the conference the Higher Education and Further Education motions were voted, as well as the ones related to Union Development. Also, in the beginning of the conference a highly useful briefing and training was scheduled for the new delegates in order to understand the voting system and procedures. Furthermore, during the second day were voted the motions for two more zones, the Welfare Zone and the Society and Citizenship Zone, as well as the rules change and the AGM motions. The most important part of the day was the election of the five Vice Presidents for Higher Education, Further Education, Welfare, Society and Citizenship and for Union Development, and of course the election of the NUS National President. The new elected NUS National President is Malia Bouattia. Sorana Vieru, Shelly Asquith and Shakira Martin were re- elected as Vice Presidents for Higher Education, for Further Education, respectively for Welfare, and Rob Young as well as Richard Brooks were elected as Vice Presidents for Society and Citizenship, respectively for Union Development. The last day of the NUS conference was marked by the elections for Block of 15, Democratic Procedures Committee and Student Trustees.

The NUS National Conference was an amazing experience which gave me the opportunity of gaining a better understanding of the Student Union and NUS, and, most important, which allowed me to represent Coventry University and to vote on the behalf of its students.

Alexander Cairns (NUS DELEGATE 2015/16)

This year from Tuesday 19th-Thurdsay 21st April, I was proud to represent Coventry University and Coventry University College at the national NUS Conference in Brighton.

Myself, and 5 other delegates from Coventry attended the conference to vote on motions, and have discussions regarding both HE and FE within the UK, and to of course network with other university delegates.

Although we did not agree on some motions, I can proudly announce that all 6 of us voted for Malia Bouattia to become this year’s NUS National President and I’m happy to announce that she was successful and won against the current president Megan Dunn with 372 votes, with Megan receiving 328.

I’m also happy to announce that Richard, Shelly, Sorana and Shakira all got re-elected as Vice Presidents for the NUS.

During the 3 days of conference, I attended a few fringe sessions on various topics such as:

  • HE-The Green Paper
  • EU- To stay or leave; a student’s view
  • The prevent Agenda

In terms of motions that were discussed and voted on, the areas were the priority Zone, the Education Zone, the union development zone, the welfare zone, the society and citizenship zone and finally the rules revision zone. If students would like to find out which motions I voted for and against, please e- mail or message me and I’ll be happy to explain.

The NUS National Conference was a fantastic experience, and an experience I will never forget, it was an honour representing Coventry on a national scale and it was fantastic to meet and discuss education issues with members such as the current NUS President of both Wales and Scotland, the current members of the national executive committee at the NUS and finally executive officers at Student unions such as Reading, Bournemouth, Warwick, Bradford, and Birmingham to name a few.

Over 750 delegates from across the country attended and it was a great conference with many brilliant speakers and interesting elections. I am happy to say I will definitely be re-standing for NUS Delegate for next year.

Naomi MG Smith – FBL Faculty Chair

Being a first time delegate at one of the largest student democratic gatherings in Europe was a huge learning curve for me personally, especially understanding how Conference works, how to vote, how to participate and figuring out and trying to understand what the NUS is really about. Something that I really liked at conference was the sense of community, the amount of inspiring students and leaders I spoke to was really positive and there are people that I plan to keep in touch with. All in all it was three busy and exhausting days of listening to and debating on motions, voting on the next leadership line up for NUS as well as networking all whilst representing CUSU.

A major part of the conference is the elections. Having read the manifestos and seen the social media campaigns before reaching Brighton, I genuinely didn’t know how it would pan out, which made me ever so nervous as the national student movement needs to be improved and needs to be more representative and inclusive of students like me and you. I am happy that I helped to make history by voting for Malia Bouattia as NUS National President 2016/17, which she won over incumbent Megan Dunn. Malia was the only Presidential candidate to actually make the effort to come to our Union and talk us through her plans a week before conference. In my opinion she is the leader that the NUS desperately needs, someone who will put liberation at the forefront of the NUS agenda rather than to the side as it has been over the past few years. I also extend my congratulations to all those re-elected (Sorana – VP Higher Education, Shakira – VP Further Education, Shelly – VP Welfare & Richard – VP Union Development) and newly elected (Robbie – Society & Citizenship).

Gabrielle Rotaru NUS Delegate/ Activities Officer

The NUS National Conference took place this year in Brighton and I attended it as an elected delegate of CUSU. The conference lasted for three days, with a lot of workshops, sessions, motions discussed and on voted on, reports given by the NUS officers analysed, holding the elected officers to account and electing the representatives that will be running the NUS next year.

The first day of the conference started with the training of the first time delegates, explaining to all first time attendees how the conference works, with rules, regulations, and democratic processes. The conference opened with key note speeches, including the President of The European Students Union, in which the importance of the upcoming referendum as well as its implication and the necessity of having students involved and having a say was emphasized. This speech was followed by another speech given by the Frances O’Grady, the Secretary of TUC, which has given an overview of the current state education and employment, inequalities as well as the way in which the government’s actions and taken throughout the year have an influence on students experience, education sector etc. This was followed by a speech delivered by Megan Dunn, the current President of NUS.

Other activities that took place on the same day were discussing and voting on priority zone motions, education zone reports and motions, and union development report and motions. The education zone was one of the lengthiest in terms of numbers of motions proposed, amendments, and discussion generated. Although the majority of the motions were discussed, unfortunately not all of them were, and as we were running out of time and the proposal to extend the discussion received vote against, all the left motions were left to be discussed and worked on by the NEC. Some of the motions that were discussed as part of this were related to engaging with green paper, not filling in the NSS, and a lot of them related to more support to Further Education.

The other zone that was discussed in the same day was the Union Development. All the motions in this zone have been discussed and voted upon, although this involved extending the discussion of the motions in the following day, when the proposal for that was voted upon by the majority. Some of the motions that have been discussed and passed were related to support and tools to measure better the impact of student opportunities, safer social elections by tackling online bullying towards candidates on different platforms, and better networks to share best practice and build student unions etc.

There were a couple of workshops that took place throughout the day among on different topics ranging from EU referendum, Prevent, current problems faced by the Jewish community etc.

The first day of the conference ended with a very lively and animated Hustings sessions for the VP and President candidates. Delegates came to support and hear the speeches of those running in the elections.

The main activities of the second day of the conference were the discussion of reports and adoption of motions in the welfare zone and society and citizenship and AGM motions, as well as the elections. There were a couple of motions that generated a lot of discussion and attracted a lot of attention around them, among which the Anti-Semitism on campus and the amendment of it with the proposal that NUS should officially commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

The third day was focused on some more elections for the Democratic Process Committee which have seen a lot of candidates and well as the election for the Trustees. All the candidates were strong in all of the NUS elections, with some great speeches being delivered. In the same day, two policies that were about to lapse were discussed and a report was given from the Liberation zone and worked carried out by the officers in different sections. The Conference ended with a very emotional speech delivered by Megan Dunn, who was not re-elected as president.

Overall there was also some criticism referring to the way in which the conference is structured, accessibility, NUS being politicized rather than inclusive and being focused on representing all students’ interests and views, and the way in which voting is being carried out.

Neel's NUS Experience

It was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at conference.

If anyone is wondering what it is like, it is ASM crossed with Student Council but for 3 days, and I mean three long days.

I had a great time debating motions, being loud, passionate and the best version of myself. The days are long and the night outs end quicker than some of you would have liked! If you have a strong left leaning political ideology this is a great conference for you

I would recommend going and putting yourself forward for next year’s NUS delegates and coming in with a strong game of what you want to speak on. Skim read the motions and stick to the first 10 of each section to avoid disappointment like myself. Write a speech (against will get a higher chance of being picked) and practise it down to ninety seconds.


Body found in search for missing Coventry University student Ozi Akerele


It is with deep regret that the elected officers of Coventry University Students’ Union acknowledge the information from the West Midlands Police issued today 25/04/2016.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ozi Akerele as they have been since 31 January 2015.

We are still waiting for confirmation from West Midlands Police and we will keep you informed of any information as soon as it is released and notify you of any arrangements that are made to pay your respects to Ozi.

The elected officers.

West Midlands Police Official Press Release:


West Midlands Police Website

Add+vantage Module Sign Ups


Add+vantage module sign up starts on Monday (for current first years) and Tuesday (for current second years). CUSU has range of different modules that can give you the chance to build on your SU experience!

As well as the opportunities volunteer in the community, in schools or with your sport / society, the Students Union have a new module (Students’ Union Project Placement) that will enable you to gain your add+vantage accreditation through participation in a number of SU areas. We’ve got opportunities to complete projects in areas such as student representation, volunteering, advice, democracy, campaigns, commercial services, student media, sport, societies and other areas of Union life.

Don’t miss out on signing up to a module you’d love to try – courses fill up fast so don’t waste any time!

Check out the full list of modules on the Module Information Directory:


Farewell Phil! CUSU General Manager leaves after 30 years

Phil Pilkington General Manager of CUSU

Phil Pilkington General Manager of CUSU

We are incredibly sad to be saying goodbye to our General Manager this month after 30 amazing years at CUSU!

Phil Pilkington has been with CUSU since the early 1980’s, working in a number of roles over the years, eventually working his way up to the position of General Manager, which he has held for the past five years.

However, as they say, all good things must eventually come to an end, and Phil will be leaving us at the end of April. He will however still be continuing his involvement with the student movement through his other roles as an NUS Quality Auditor, and Vice Chair on the board of trustees at Middlesex University.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Phil for the incredible work he has been a part of, his continued commitment and dedication, and his unwavering passion for the students’ union and its student members! He will be greatly missed but we wish him all the best for the future!

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Watching out for stress this exam season



We all know how stressful exam season can be. With revision piling on, dates getting closer, and often coursework deadlines thrown into the mix, it’s no wonder that people can struggle to cope. Even with the best level of techniques and strategies, dedication, and organisations, it can all sometimes get too much. It’s important to recognise when you’re starting to reach peak level and know when it’s time to get some help.

Signs to watch out for:

  • Feeling overwhelmed. This is normal for most people facing exams and deadlines, but feeling so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start, feeling lost, and frustrated, is one of the first signs of building stress levels.
  • Not studying effectively. You might be pulling all-nighters in the library in an attempt to get that revision down, but when it comes to the next day, can you remember any of it?
  • Getting upset at small things. If you find yourself crying because no one washed the cups up, or becoming furious because someone moved your highlighter, this is a classic sign of being over worked and over stressed.
  • Losing weight (or gaining weight). Stress does funny things to us. Some people lose all appetite and replace it with endless worry. Others eat their way through it. If you find yourself losing or gaining weight, it can be a sign that you’re working too hard.
  • Sleeping too much or not enough. Often, when you’re stressed, tiredness is what gets you the most. Tired of studying, tired of reading, tired of waiting for the exam to be over with. You might find yourself lying awake worrying, or sleeping most of the day away and still feeling exhausted.
  • Procrastinating. While procrastination might seem like the opposite of being stressed, this is often a case of finding anything and everything to distract you from the work that’s causing the stress.

Often, stress can be managed effectively with some solid coping techniques and making effective use of study time and study breaks. However, there are a number of sources you can use to get help for stress levels.

  • The GP. Your doctor might not be an expert in the subject you’re studying, but they are there to make sure you stay well and healthy. If stress is really getting to you, they’ll be happy to provide you with some help and advice, and medication if it’s needed.
  • CUSU offers a counselling service in our Health and Wellbeing centre. Here you can book in to speak to one of our dedicated counsellors. If you just need someone to talk to, or want to try and structure out some techniques and practical advice, they can help.
  • The Samaritans often get labelled as a help service for those feeling suicidal. But they’re actually just a confidential service you can call and talk to, 24 hours a day. Sometimes just talking to someone and setting out the problems in front of you can really help with perspective to get you back on track.
  • Big White Wall. This is a student mental health website where you can get advice and chat to other students going through the same thing. All you need is your university email to sign up.

We hope you’re all handling the exam season well, and good luck with all the exams and deadlines! You can do it!

Feed and clothe the homeless with CUSU and Cyrenians


Feed and clothe the homeless with CUSU and Cyrenians

From now until the end of April, CUSU Student Wardens will be running a food and clothing collection for Coventry homelessness charity Cyrenians.

Cyrenians provides a range of services for homeless and vulnerably housed people in Coventry and Warwickshire, with the aim of improving their quality of life and empowering them to live as independently as possible.

By donating any food and unwanted clothing, you will be helping Cyrenians to feed and clothe some of the most vulnerable people in Coventry and Warwickshire, who often struggle to find help anywhere else.

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Leaving for the end of term?


What will you do with everything you’re leaving behind?

It is ILLEGAL to leave waste in the street! This includes bulky waste like mattresses and furniture! YOU will be prosecuted, NOT your landlord!

You can call Coventry City Council on 02476 834 333 to collect these items for a small fee:

  • White goods and small electrical appliances (e.g. washing machines, fridges, freezers, cookers, microwaves, computers, small electrical items)
  • Furnishings (e.g. sofas, settees, tables, chairs, bed base and mattress, wardrobes)
  • Domestic waste (e.g. excess black bag waste)
  • Other household items such as bikes, exercise equipment, garden furniture

Alternatively, you can call the British Heart Foundation on 08082500030 or book a slot online, and they will collect you’re furniture for FREE!

You must check that all goods are in a good condition, clean and complete, and are working properly.

All upholstered furniture has a fire label attached.

British Heart Foundation will also collect:

  • Clothes
  • Shoes and handbags
  • Jewellery and accessories
  • DVDs, CDs and vinyl
  • Books
  • Bric-a-brac and homeware
  • Children’s toys

Call them on 0808 2500 024

From now until the end of April, CUSU Student Wardens will also be running a food and clothing collection for Coventry homelessness charity Cyrenians. To find out how you can donate, click here.

If you would like any more information, please call Sophie on 024 7765 5289 or email


Your New Sabbatical Officers


meetsabbs1617The CUSU Spring Elections decided who will lead YOUR Students’ Union (SU) for 2016/2017.

Of the 48 candidates that ran this year, 19 went for Sabbatical Officer roles, resulting in six brand new elected Sabbatical Officers who will represent ALL Coventry University students and help to run CUSU next year.

There are a few familiar faces in the newly elected team and a couple of new ones too, but just WHO are the new Sabbatical Officers, and WHAT will they actually be doing next year?!

We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about your new Student Leaders!

Let’s start with a recap…

“What is meant by CUSU Student Leaders?”

CUSU is a democratic organisation, meaning we’re run and led by YOU, our student members. This means that YOU have the power to decide how things are run, and YOU have the power to drive change within both the SU and the university. This all starts with YOU deciding who your Student Leaders are!

Every year we run elections, giving you the opportunity to choose your Student Leaders. Every student can stand for election and every student can vote for election candidates. The elected students then work on the issues that are affecting you, responding to your feedback to bring about positive change for all Coventry University students.

CUSU Student Leaders are made up of Sabbatical Officers, Faculty Chairs, and Student Councillors, with each team having a different role to play. Sabbatical Officers and Faculty Chairs make up the Executive Committee, a body that is given authority from Student Council to manage the day to day affairs of CUSU, represent the wider student body, and ensure that policies are adhered to. It is Student Council’s job to make sure that the Executive Committee are doing their job right, whilst representing specific student interests.

“What are Sabbatical Officers then?”

Sabbatical Officers are the leaders of the Students’ Union. They are full-time, paid officers, elected from students who are in their final year of university or who are going to take a year out of their studies to carry out the role. They can run for a maximum of two years, and once elected, it’s their job to work together as a team to make sure CUSU is the best it can be for ALL Coventry University students. Each officer has a specific area which they look after, and they are all accountable to both the SU and the wider student body, which means they have to be transparent in everything they do and make sure that all the actions they take are supported by the students affected.

“Why are the Sabbatical Officer titles different this year?”

This year there were a few BIG CHANGES for the Sabbatical Officer roles. These changes were voted in by Student Council to ensure that the roles reflect the evolving diversity of the student population here at Coventry University, and ensure effective and widespread representation. There are now SIX roles instead of five, meaning CUSU can work even harder for students and get even more done for a wider range of students.

The six new Sabbatical Officer roles are:

  • President of CUSU
  • Vice President for Activities
  • Vice President for Welfare and Community
  • Vice President for Sports and Wellbeing
  • Vice President for Postgraduate Students
  • Vice President for Education

We now have a President of CUSU! This was voted in as Student Council recognised the need for a figure-head in the executive team who has accountability for the whole Sabbatical Officer team and oversees ALL democracy. The other Sabbatical Officer titles have also changed in line with this decision, and whilst some of the roles will be slightly different, many of the duties and responsibilities themselves will still be very much the same.

With a large increase in postgraduate students predicted, it was also decided to introduce the role of Postgraduate Vice President to make sure that these students are just as well-represented as undergraduate students.

“So WHO are the new Sabbatical Officers, and WHAT will they be doing next year?”

They ran for election and YOU voted them in! During their campaigns, we heard a lot about what each candidate planned to achieve if elected, and they certainly have some big ideas for the future of CUSU and the student experience here at Coventry University! To help you get to know the new team a little better and their plans for 2016/2017, here’s a summary!

President of CUSU – Adebowale Adeboyi


You’ll recognise Adebowale as this year’s Representation & Welfare Officer! He’s been busy this year making sure ALL Coventry students are looked after and represented well. He’s also this year’s Deputy Chair of the Executive Committee and Student Council, as well as being a Governor on the Coventry University’s Board of Governors. He was also recently elected to represent Coventry University at the NUS National Conference, so he’s had a very busy year! Before taking on these roles, he was also a Course Rep and a Student Councillor for 2014/2015, so he has plenty of experience as a CUSU Student Leader, with a long list of achievements to prove it!

As President of CUSU for 2016/2017, Adebowale will lead the entire Executive Committee and be accountable for their actions. As the VOICE OF CUSU, he plans to be an advocate for improved services at CUSU, and quality educational and social experiences for all students, whilst improving COMMUNICATION by being a focal point of contact for CUSU, and a bridge between the university and the wider student body. With a large focus on DEMOCRACY, EQUALITY, DIVERSITY and REPRESENTATION, he plans to ensure that CUSU remains a transparent, student-led organisation, and that every CUSU activity is democratically conducted, with the best interests of ALL students represented. This also means ensuring that EVENTS like the Elections and the All Student Meeting are as engaging and successful as possible. He also plans to work with the Executive Committee to develop a holistic out-of-classroom STUDENT EXPERIENCE for everybody, whilst raising awareness of the STUDENT CHARTER, to make sure students are aware of their responsibilities and what is expected from the university.

Vice President for Activities – Gabriela Rotaru


Gabriela is another familiar face from this year’s team! You’ll recognise her as this year’s Activities Officer! She’s had a very busy year and has helped to deliver a long list of fantastic activities, events, and campaigns, working closely with CUSU societies too! Before taking on this role, she also had a number of roles and responsibilities as a society official, so she has plenty of experience in this area to do another fantastic job this year!

As Vice President for Activities, Gabriela will continue her role for another year, working with all SOCIETIES, supporting them as they develop, whilst planning exciting EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES. As part of this, she also plans to INCREASE RECOGNITION, REWARDS, AND CELEBRATION of success for societies by introducing a ‘Society of the Month’ themed initiative. She’ll also be working with STUDENT MEDIA, helping them to develop and grow, and she has exciting plans to create a platform to promote societies through student media. She also aims to develop new ways to engage with INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS AND STUDENTS OF FAITH, to ensure that CUSU provides enough support in these areas. As part of this, she has plans for even more INTERNATIONAL AND CULTURAL EVENTS, as well as exciting INTER-FAITH SOCIETIES EVENTS.

Vice President for Welfare and Community – Cheryl Kwan Yee Chan

Cheryl [1713088]Unlike a few of the others, this will be Cheryl’s first time as a Sabbatical Officer! Don’t worry though; she’s got plenty of experience as a CUSU Student Leader! She’s currently a Sports Activator Leader, Course Rep, Project Coordinator, a member of the Student Volunteer Team, and a member of Source News! She’s been involved in all sorts of campaigns and projects this year, and has won a number of awards for her volunteer work and her work in the community, which reflects her passion to help and support others!

As Vice President for Welfare and Community, Cheryl will ensure that enough support is available to help students be HAPPY AND HEALTHY during their time at university, whilst also ensuring that EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY are always being pushed for. She plans to work with the student HEALTH AND WELLBEING centre to provide MORE VISIBLE AND REACHABLE SUPPORT for students, and she plans to continue health and wellbeing CAMPAIGNS following the success of this year. She also plans to work with the Advice Centre and Tenants Union to provide more support for students with a HOUSING ADVICE WEEK, and she aims to introduce a BUDDY SCHEME to help new students settle into university, and assist them with any issues. To ensure that Coventry students and locals can feel safe and happy together, she also plans to develop good relationships with the local community. She will also SUPPORT ALL STUDENT VOLUNTEERS, and plans to create MORE VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES by reaching out to new organisations in the community. For this, she also plans to introduce a NEW VOLUNTEERING INITIATIVE that encourages students to engage in volunteering, with rewards, qualifications, and scholarships!

Vice President for Sports and Wellbeing – Alexa Thiel

winner-banners-122Another familiar face from the current team! You’ll recognise Alexa as this year’s Sports and Wellbeing Officer! If you know Alexa, you’ll know how passionate she is when it comes to sport! She’s had a very busy year working with Coventry University sports teams, helping to lead them to success, and she led the way for Varsity this year too, helping to make it one of the most exciting and most successful we’ve ever had!

As Vice President for Sports and Wellbeing, Alexa will continue her role for another year, working with all SPORTS CLUBS, supporting them as they develop, as well as supporting the emergence of NEW CLUBS. As part of this, she plans to develop and expand PERFORMANCE SPORT opportunities, increasing RECOGNITION AND MEDIA COVERAGE of sports clubs, whilst also driving RECREATIONAL AND INCLUSIVITY SPORT for students who are not members of performance teams. She also plans to improve access to EQUIPMENT, TRANSPORT, AND FACILITIES, fostering ties with the local community to help gain access to additional facilities, while amplifying VOLUNTEERING AND FUNDRAISING opportunities. Following the success of this year’s Varsity, Alexa already has plans to make VARSITY 2017 even bigger and better, with maximum engagement and participation from the student body. Additionally, she will support and encourage students to lead HEALTHY AND ACTIVE LIFESTYLES by promoting positive health, wellbeing and student support services, as well as running exciting CAMPAIGNS.

Vice President for Education – Akanimo Enime

winner-banners-120 Our final returning Sabbatical Officer! You’ll recognise Akanimo as this year’s Democracy & Campaigns Officer! He’s been busy this year working on a range of campaigns, whilst also supporting students with a wide variety of issues, ranging from accommodation problems to academic issues, preparing him well for his new role! He’s also a Societies’ Committee Councillor and a society official so he knows what it takes to be a leader at CUSU!

As Vice President for Education, Akanimo will support students with any ACADEMIC ISSUES they may have, whilst SUPPORTING AND PROMOTING THE REP SYSTEM to make sure that the STUDENT VOICE is heard at all levels of the university. He will also SUPPORT COURSE REPS AND FACULTY REPS through training and their own goals. With a real passion for education, he plans to run ACADEMIC CAMPAIGNS and introduce SHOWCASE EVENTS where students can showcase their work. He also plans to ensure more PLACEMENT OPPORTUNITIES are available to students, in order to enhance career prospects! He also aims to work with all faculties to ensure WEDNESDAYS ARE LECTURE-FREE across the university, and he aims to ensure that the LIBRARY IS OPEN 24/7. He will also be involved with the QUALITY ASSURANCE PROCESSES at the university and he plans to liaise with the NUS Vice President for Education, to promote NUS EVENTS AND CAMPAIGNS.

Vice President for Postgraduate Students – Francis Chidiebere Ahanonu

winner-banners-121Francis is another new face to the team, but he’s still got plenty of experience as a Student Leader! He’s currently a Student Councillor, Course Rep, and a society official! He also helped run the SU during his time as an undergraduate at his previous university, where he was responsible for education, policies and strategy, and societies. He’s now a postgraduate student at Coventry University himself, making him perfect for this brand new role!

As Vice President for Postgraduate Students, Francis will ensure successful REPRESENTATION OF POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS in every area of the University, whilst ensuring that the university develops POSTGRADUATE FRIENDLY POLICIES. As part of this, he plans to BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN THE SU AND THE POSTGRADUATE COMMUNITY, with plans for a POSTGRADUATE SOCIAL PLATFORM where postgraduates can communicate and engage with each other and the SU. He also plans to IMPROVE WELFARE SERVICES for postgraduate students, and aims to push for EXTENDED OPENING TIMES FOR THE JAGUAR BUILDING to provide more study spaces. Additionally, Francis will be responsible for putting on fun SOCIAL AND CULTURAL EVENTS for postgraduate students.

“What can I do now?”

The Sabbatical Officer team are here to represent YOU, so it’s your job to keep them busy!

What’s important to you? What changes do you want to see? Do you have any ideas that you would like to see implemented? Whatever it is, they want to know about it!

From the beginning of the new academic year, the team will be based right here at CUSU on the first floor of The Hub and they always want to hear from the students they represent. If you have any issues, questions, general enquiries, or if you just want to meet them, you can come and visit the team or make an appointment, and they will do what they can to help you and help drive change.

Student Reps are also here to represent you! You can speak to them about any issues you might be having and they will be able to represent you at Student Leader meetings. This is another great way to get your voice heard.

Throughout the year we also hold a number of events designed for you to share your issues and ideas with us, like the All Student Meeting. These events are really important so look out for them and make sure you get involved.

We’ll be bringing you plenty more about your Student Leaders and any important events soon, so watch this space. In the meantime, if you need anything at all from the current Student Leaders, you can find them here at CUSU, on the first floor of The Hub!


The EU referendum – HOW TO VOTE


A referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union is to be held on Thursday 23 June.

If you are over 18, a resident in the UK, and are British, Irish or Commonwealth citizens, you are eligible to vote.

It is very similar to voting in the local and national elections. If you registered to vote when you came to study in Coventry, a voting card will be sent to your registered address. It will explain when voting will be taking place and where you should go to vote on the day.

However, if you will be away and not living at your registered address at the time of the referendum vote, you will be able to opt to vote by post or by proxy.

If you are also registered at home, you need to decide where you vote as it is illegal to vote in the same poll more than once. Therefore you would only need to apply for a postal vote if you are not registered at home.

Details about applying for a postal or proxy vote can be found here: