Annual Membership Survey – a sneak preview of results!

At the end of last year we sent out our Annual Membership Survey (AMS) to you, our student members, seeking your views and experiences on a large range of topics to do with the Open University and the Students Association.

At the end of last year, we sent out our Annual Membership Survey (AMS) to you, our student members, seeking your views and experiences on a large range of topics to do with The Open University and the Students Association.

A record 4,221 of you participated; the highest turnout we have ever had. The views of so many people take some time to process, but the feedback and experiences that you provided are now being used to inform our new strategy.

We’re currently working on a full survey results document that will be made available shortly, but in the meantime we thought we would share a selection of some of the most interesting statistics and comments with you.

Our core Values

The image shows a hand writing 'Values' on a whiteboard.
The Association prides itself on its commitment to our core values, namely Integrity, Equality and Inclusivity, Openness, Collaboration, Kindness and Compassion. In 2022, on average 50% (4% increase against 2021 figures) of survey respondents gave a positive response to our values (by selecting either ‘strongly agree’ or ’agree’), with all statements registering an increase in positive responses. Whether it is through organising events for the student community, or ensuring that our support services reach as many students as possible, we continue to live these values in our day-to-day running.

Support Groups

The image shows a group of hands touching as a team.
Nearly 69% of you mentioned ‘mental health support advice or signposting’ as being a key offering of the Association’s Support Groups. Mental health and wellbeing are key areas of our work to support students or to signpost them to relevant services.

Having social connections is proven to be beneficial for our mental health. Our student-led Groups, namely the Disabled Students Group, OU Pride (LGBT+ Group) and the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Group, are great spaces to find like-minded people and to connect with fellow students. The Groups offer regular online drop-in sessions as well as one-off events such as quizzes and other social gatherings you can get involved in. If you need more support, the Committees of the Groups are also there to point you to mental health provisions available to you as an OU student such as Shout 85258, the OU Wellbeing app, and TalkCampus.

Linda Aradi, Projects Officer Equality, Diversity & Inclusion.

Supporting students through interaction with the OU

The image shows two students working.
In 2022, we included a new question that asked students about how the Association interacts with the Open University to support students. 38% of respondents were aware of our Central Committee Representative role and how it had been ‘designed to give a voice to students’ academic interests at university committees’. We are continuing our efforts in this direction.

We recently renamed the role ‘Central Committee Representative’ to ‘Student Representative’. Whilst 38% respondents were aware of the role at the time of the AMS, we did identify via an onboarding survey from July 2022 and from the enquiries we received from a smaller recruitment in May 2022 that it was very challenging for those who are new to representation to understand exactly what a Central Committee Representative was, thinking for instance that they belonged to a central committee rather than their board of studies. With this in mind the proposal was accepted to change the name in April 2023, and the bi-laws have been amended to reflect this too. We hope that with renaming the role, it is more aligned to what students can expect the role to involve, which is important when new students are searching for the opportunity in the future.

The Association plays a key role in representing the student voice and we are continuing our efforts in this direction, and are proving Student Representatives (previously Central Committee Representatives) with ongoing support and training. The VP Education and Deputy VP Education have been integral to this. Both are keen to ensure that current Student Representatives have the tools, confidence and resources to fulfil their role. One of the initiatives that supports the development of the students in a representation role is the Monthly Online Student Voice Forum;a platform designed to give space and a voice to students where they can provide feedback, discuss current issues impacting the student community, as well as to get to know each other. We routinely open up communications with the OU and invite them to present in this space to share information about resources and opportunities, as well as consulting students for their feedback. This space is also used to deliver bespoke training aimed at developing and supporting their confidence to be the voice of students.

In an aim to support the OU and continue the promotion of the student voice a Non-Governance Working Group was established by the Association (2023), the purpose of this group is to provide a way for the OU, staff, working groups and non-governance committees to work collaboratively with the Association to reach students that would be interested in getting involved with their work. Student Representatives are getting involved with consultations, driving new initiatives throughout all levels of the university. By inviting requests via this specific working group, we are not only able to see how broad the reach of the student voice is, but we are also able to demonstrate that our students are in the spaces that they were not before. We are able to see that out Student Representatives are involved in initiatives that are designed to not only improve the academic experience, but enhance the student experience on the whole.”
Danielle Cafearo, Volunteer and Representation Officer

We hope you have enjoyed this selection of AMS highlights. Keep a look out for the full results document that will be published soon!

This article was written by Pooja Sinha, Tom Mitchell, Linda Aradi and Danielle Cafearo, who are all staff at the Students Association.

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The Open University Students Association exists to serve the interests of #OUstudents and ensure that the student voice is heard throughout the University. Find out more about what we do at


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