Rep Elections vs Rep Recruitment- Which is more effective to drive engagement?

“What’s the best way to recruit student reps?” Antony Catt and Georgina Newham will be answering this question in our next webinar by sharing valuable insights from their research and experience.
Antony Catt
Georgina Newham

Event Overview

The question of “What’s the best way to select student reps?” frequently arises within the Higher Education community. Universities and student unions utilise a variety of methods, depending on their specific needs and objectives, to select student representatives. Some opt for traditional elections, either manually or via technology, while others favour a more voluntary approach, recruiting students based on their skills and willingness to champion their peers.

Like many institutions, you might be re-evaluating your current selection process to bolster both rep and student engagement. To shed light on this, we hosted a webinar that explored the advantages and disadvantages of rep elections versus voluntary recruitment methods.

Our guest speakers, Antony Catt, Academic Representation Project Analyst at Nottingham SU, and Georgina Newham, Student Voice Coordinator at SU Bath, shared invaluable insights based on their research and experience, covering:

  • Popular selection methods
  • Their functionality
  • Advantages and disadvantages of each system
  • Student perspectives
  • Implementation and improvement strategies


Antony discussed his institution’s transition from an election-based system to a voluntary recruitment model, detailing both the positive and negative aspects of each. He also provided advice on how to implement significant changes and gain the support of key stakeholders. Georgina explored the different tactics for hiring student reps, factors affecting their success or failure, the role of rewards, how different student types affect the recruitment process and the impact of the pandemic on student behaviour in this regard.

Both speakers encouraged attendees to reframe their understanding of what ‘engagement’ in the student voice truly means.

By watching the webinar replay, you’ll gain:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the merits and shortcomings of election vs. recruitment methods
  • Lessons learnt from both successful and unsuccessful selection methods
  • A fresh perspective on ‘engagement’ in the academic voice
  • The opportunity to reconsider your current recruitment or election strategy
  • The chance to share best practices or experiences with peers in the field


Don’t miss this opportunity to revisit the conversation and discover new ways to select your reps. Watch the webinar replay today!


Antony Catt

Antony Catt

Academic Representation Project Specialist University of Nottingham SU
Georgina Newham

Georgina Newham

Student Voice Coordinator for Academic Representation at The SU Bath


Ashley Storer-Smith

Student Voice Manager at the University of Nottingham SU

Speaker Profile

Antony Catt

Academic Representation Project Specialist University of Nottingham SU

Antony Catt has honed his expertise in the Students' Union (SU) sector for several years, with his career path starting in Student Groups and now focusing on Student Voice. He currently holds the pivotal role of Academic Representation Project Specialist at the University of Nottingham Students' Union. Antony has spent the past 18 months dedicated to the overhaul of the Academic Voice/Representative system.

Together with a committed team of SU and University staff, Antony is at the forefront of launching a revitalised Academic Voice system for the academic year 2023/2024. This initiative aims to boost student engagement and representation significantly.

Thanks to effective onboarding and a series of progressive successes, Antony and his team have gleaned valuable insights. They are now ready to share these findings with the wider community, aiming to inspire impactful change within the sector.

Georgina Newham

Student Voice Coordinator for Academic Representation at The SU Bath

Georgina Newham serves as the Student Voice Coordinator at the University of Bath's SU. In this role, she has enhanced recruitment and training methods and played a key role in improving democratic procedures through research. Before this, she spent over a year at Bath Spa University Students' Union, where she managed SU Officer elections and was deeply involved in promoting equality, even organising the Pride at Bath Spa event. Georgina's leadership qualities shone during her time as a Senior Academic Rep and Co-Chair of Democracy & Scrutiny, among other significant roles at Bath Spa.

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