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By Isaac Delestre
Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) is now officially the least popular student union in the country according to new data released by the National Student Survey (NSS).
OUSU finished joint-last in the survey along with Oxford Brookes Student Union. In both cases only 39 per cent of finalists said that they were satisfied with their student union.
Although outperforming OUSU, Cambridge’s student union also performed poorly finishing sixth from bottom, with just 46 per cent of students saying they were happy with the services provided by the union.
OUSU’s president, David J. Townsend, responded to the survey: “OUSU has difficulties with student engagement, and the NSS score reflects that… There are some things about Oxford that won’t be changing any time soon, such as the decentralised collegiate structure and the lack of a central Student Union venue, but OUSU can’t blame these idiosyncrasies for all of its problems.
“Where students have interacted with OUSU and know what it does, the numbers are overwhelmingly positive, so it’s clear that OUSU has to get better at communicating what it does and at supporting students’ Departmental representatives, as you would expect of a Student Union at any other university.
“Ultimately, the NSS score isn’t about a number, it’s about a trend, so the key thing for OUSU is to make sure that the trend over the next few years is upward. Although OUSU has come through a difficult financial history in the last decade, in the last few years OUSU has professionalised its operation significantly, negotiating the most generous undergraduate fee waiver and bursary system in the country and lobbying for increased scholarship provision from the University’s fundraising campaign.”
Topping the table was Sheffield University’s student union which achieved an impressive satisfaction rating of 95 per cent. Other unions which performed well were those of Loughborough and Leeds which achieved satisfaction ratings of 91 and 90 per cent respectively.