Oxford SU – a short guide

The Oxford Student Union (not to be confused with Oxford Union – which is a debating society) is a democratic, student-led and independent organisation here to represent, support and improve the lives of Oxford students. As a student at Oxford, you automatically become a member of the SU. However, you can choose to opt out of membership either at registration or later using Student Self Service.

At first, it might be a bit difficult to understand the structure of the SU so here is a breakdown of its most important parts:


The Oxford SU is led by the six so-called “Sabbatical Officers”. There is the President and five Vice Presidents, each one with a distinct area of responsibility. They serve for one year (and get paid to do so) and are elected in Hilary term.

Student Council:

Student Council is essentially like the parliament of the SU. Representatives of each ‘constituent organisation’ (i.e. all the JCR/MCRs, academic divisions, SU campaigns…) meet every two weeks during term to debate and vote on issues affecting the student body. In the past, these have ranged from ‘Banning Scholar’s Gowns from examinations’ to issues around the ‘Higher Education Bill’. Any member of Oxford SU (i.e. pretty much any student) has a right to put forward motions, ask questions, participate in debates and run for election. However, only the representatives get to vote. As Wadham SU, we get a total of 5 votes, while 3 of them are reserved for SU President, Vice-President and MCR President. Any Wadham students may fill in the vacant seats. If you would like to attend student council or if you would like to influence how Wadham SU votes on a specific issue or motion, please contact the SU Vice president at su.vicepresident@wadham.ox.ac.uk.

National Union of Students:

The National Union of Students (or NUS for short) is like Oxford SU, but on a bigger, national level. They represent and support student unions nationwide and try to influence higher education policies for the better. Any member of Oxford SU can be elected to become a NUS delegate, and is then sent to the annual NUS conference to represent Oxford SU.


Apart from representing us before the University, Oxford SU also actively leads a lot of different campaigns that reach from improving mental health at the university up to fighting for consistent lecture capture in all departments. They also offer support for students through their Student Advice service. In freshers week, Oxford SU also organises the freshers fair.

If you would like to find out more about what the Oxford SU does, go to https://www.oxfordsu.org or email enquiries@oxfordsu.ox.ac.uk .