In my first year, the course organiser sent out an email: Who wants to be a class representative for Linguistics and English Language 1? As a compulsive volunteer, I immediately replied to the message; and a few weeks later I was sitting at my first SSLC, Staff-Student Liaison Committee meeting. I’ve been a class rep ever since, representing my classmates throughout pre-honours linguistics and now in honours, and boosting my CV in the process!
So what does a Class Rep do?
The most important job of a class rep is to attend SSLC meetings and give reports on how students in the course/year they represent are doing. You can obtain these reports however you like – for example, collecting things people have said to you over the semester, sending out a survey, asking for informal feedback, or chatting to classmates. At the SSLC, reps report to the course organisers in their field, and staff and students discuss the possible issues raised and try to find solutions.
For example, one of the things my co-rep and I achieved in our first year was to stop the department from displaying assignment grades publicly on Learn, listed by student number – which others could easily find out.
Why be a Class Rep?
I originally signed up to be a class rep because I like to volunteer for things, but that’s definitely not why I’ve stayed. In terms of personal development, it gives you a chance to boost your CV, as representing your peers looks really impressive!
Being a class rep gives you more opportunities to talk to department staff than you might normally get. This has two advantages – obviously, you get to network more, and you have a larger pool of staff who know you to go to for help should you need it, or, for example, references for applications to graduate school. Secondly, it gives you more experience interacting with professors and lecturers, which helps you see them as people you can speak naturally to instead of scary higher beings.
Class reps are also more known to the school in general. This gives you opportunities to work with your department more, should you want to do that. For example, over the past two and a half years I have spoken to prospective students at Post-Offer Visit Days, helped new students during Welcome Week as a Student Helper, and gotten the chance to help out at the PPLS Guide Dog fundraiser (and meet real guide dogs!)
Finally, let’s not forget the most important thing: SSLC meetings (as well as Post-Offer Visit Days and the like) usually come with lunch.