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At uni there are some great opportunities to get involved in volunteering, societies and ways of getting involved with other students who may not be on your course. Birmingham City University student vlogger Caitlin has made this video about some of the things she has done between studies.

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[00:00:04] Caitlin Hello, everyone, I'm going to be talking to you about getting involved in student life. Today you're going to find out what it's like to be a course representative or a student academic leader.

[00:00:18] Caitlin You are a figurehead and representative of your course. So, for example, I'm a second year criminology and security studies student, so I represent that group of students and go back and feed back the improvements to the staff and what is going well within that course to make sure that everybody on my course knows to talk to me if they're unhappy or happy about something. And I relay this back in meetings.

[00:00:44] Caitlin A student academic leader at BCU is somebody that is a representative to the model student. It's normally achieved through the academic awards scheme, which means you get an average of a 2:1 on your course and at the end of the academic year you are given this student academic award scheme. Some people use this to go on to be an academic leader, which means they help students in their studies to be able to achieve the maximum grades that they want to be your role model student on how you do your studies and you're a body between the staff and students on making sure that everyone understands what they're doing academically.

[00:01:23] Caitlin So I am a course representative, and this means that once a month I attend a group meeting along with a lot of staff, course reps and school reps. A school rep is somebody that leads the team of course representatives which you have to get elected into and you can run at the end of each year for the beginning of the next academic year. A course rep entails going out and collecting feedback from all of the staff and students to find out what they like about university and our course and what would they like to be improved. This is then discussed within the meeting and we feedback to the people above us who can actually implement those changes. Once those changes have been implemented we let the students know; I personally feedback to them. We also put it on social media. We have a BCU course reps social media to feedback to students what's being done to help them.

[00:02:14] Caitlin Being a course rep has led me on to many opportunities, such as we've started a podcast now for students because everyone's feeling pretty alone in these times. I've also helped create a student survey and we now run the BCU Film Club for the Criminology Students, we watch Netflix, something related to crime and then discuss it. I'm also working for university, which is why I'm doing this vlog for you now. I'm also an ambassador, so there's plenty of opportunities at BCU. I also run the BCU Criminology Society, which is part of the BCUSU. There's plenty volunteering opportunities for you.

[00:02:53] Caitlin The best place to start is the BCUSU website, so our Student Union's website, and there is a list of all the societies there and you can sign up. But If you want to be a school rep or course rep that is the place to go as well, there's a section, you put in an application and you get invited to a training session, which I think is about three hours, and you learn how to do the process, how to get the feedback, how to communicate to students in the correct way. And then from that training, you're invited to attend the feedback meetings and then you keep attending. And the more meetings you attend, the more confident you become. There can be more than one course rep for each course, so me and two of the girls do my course from different years. But the more the better, really, because it means you can reach out to more students that are in different seminars.