committee roles

Committees Explained

Are you on committee and not sure what’s expected of you? Or maybe you’re thinking about running for a role but want to find out more? Let us help you!

Before we get into the specifics of each role, it’s important to consider what is required from every committee member in order to have the best year possible. Keep these things in mind during your time on committee:

  • Communication - You will receive a fortnightly newsletter from the Opportunities team with important information to help you run your club or society, so keep an eye out for these and let the rest of your members know if there’s anything that affects them. Make sure you’re keeping in touch with your members in the ways that work for you all – whether that’s emails, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, or – best of all – a combination!
  • Delegation/sharing the workload - Your studies should always come first, so try to support each other when you’re facing different deadlines and commitments. It’s important you understand the responsibilities of each committee member so that you can help each other out.
  • Remember it should be fun! - You’re a group of students with common aims and interests, looking to experience more outside of your studies. If you start feeling stressed, remember your committee should be there to support you and, similarly, make sure you offer help if you notice any of your committee struggling. Being on committee should be fun, so if you’re not enjoying it please do speak to your fellow committee members or

Your roles

Every club and society is different so your roles will vary depending on what works for you. But in general, this is what each person should get up to:


You’re in charge! As the leader of your student group, you’ll coordinate and manage all your activities and make sure your committee members are happy. Your role involves:

  • Ensuring that the club or society follows its constitution aims and is developing as the members want it to
  • Chairing committee and general meetings for your club or society
  • Taking overall responsibility for your members at your meetings and events
  • Attending meetings when required by the Union


Your job is to help the President on an operational level – while they lead the development of the club or society, you make sure things are operating as they should. Your role involves:

  • Making sure your committee members know what they’re doing
  • Keeping the Union up to date with who’s on your committee and helping us coordinate your elections
  • Liaising with external bodies where needed, such as the University, Sportspark or National Governing Bodies
  • Helping the President with anything they’re up to and stepping in to lead when they’re not available



Treasurers handle your club or society’s money, producing and maintaining your financial records. Your role involves:

  • Creating a budget for the year, so that you don’t overspend
  • Liaising with external bodies when you purchase something and helping the Union organise payment
  • Seeking external sponsorship for your club or society where needed
  • Leading on fundraising ideas
  • Keeping an eye on your ledger (what’s going in and out of your society account)
  • Working with your committee to apply for grant funding from the Union if required
  • Keeping up to date with our finance information


As secretary, you are responsible for the administration needs of your club or society. Your role involves:

  • Maintaining your page on the website, making sure it’s up to date and you’re using it to communicate with your members
  • Booking rooms for your events
  • Telling your members what’s going on in your club or society
  • Taking minutes at your committee meetings and AGM
  • Organising and maintaining storage for your equipment and resources
  • Keeping your social media up to date
  • Circulating your handover document at the end of the year and filling it in with your committee

Health & Safety Officer:

There is a lot of responsibility attached to being Health and Safety Officer, as you are accountable for risk assessing every event and ensuring that the Union is aware of all events you’re putting on. Your role involves:

  • Filling out risk assessments for all your activities
  • Liaising with Union and University staff to ensure your activities and events are well planned and safe
  • Recording details of any accidents or injuries that take place at your events
  • Making sure any food at your events is safely prepared, cooked, stored, transported and served
  • It might be useful for you to do some food hygiene and first aid training while you’re in this role


Union Council Rep:

It is down to the Union Council Rep to represent the interests of your club or society’s members and help shape uea(su) policy. Your role involves:

  • Being aware of Union Council dates and ensuring you attend whenever you can
  • Voting on motions at Union Council in a way which represents your members’ views
  • Reporting back to the committee and your members on issues discussed at Union Council and any changes in policy that might affect you
  • Being an approachable point of contact for your members on matters of Union policy
  • Putting forward motions to Union Council whenever needed

Equality & Diversity Officer:

Every student must have an equal opportunity to participate in activities, and although this seems obvious, it's sometimes hard to be inclusive of everyone when we’re all so different. It's not always easy to know if you are excluding people or even how you might be excluding them. That’s why an Equality & Diversity Officer is such a useful position. Your role involves:

  • Making sure you’re using a range of ways to communicate to your members e.g. e-mail, Facebook, newsletters, posters etc, to try to reach as many of them as possible
  • Ensuring that you put on some alcohol-free events and that there are always options for members who don’t want to drink
  • Ensuring meetings and activities are arranged for different times and days, to include people with different timetables and commitments, e.g. students with caring responsibilities

You might have some other roles to suit your own club or society; for example, you could have a Social Secretary, Trip Secretary, Publicity Officer, Kit Officer or an Academic Rep to name a few. You can have whichever committee positions work best for you!

We run specific training sessions for many of these committee positions, so that you get a chance to learn more about your role and ask us questions. Check out our Training calendar to see when the next session is. We have an ever-growing bank of training resources and the NUS website is also very helpful.

There are just a few things to remember when you’re forming or changing a committee:

  • You must have at least five individual people on your committee

  • The compulsory positions are President, Treasurer, Secretary

  • Within your commitee, we also require you to include the following committee positions:

  1. Health and safety, Union Council and Equality and Diversity; these can be shared with other roles (e.g. you could have a Secretary who is also health and safety officer and a President who is also the Union Council rep, Treasuer who is also Equality and Diversity officer etc) or;
  2. these 3 roles can make up the remaining 2 postitions of your compulsery committee (i.e. President, Treasurer, Secretary, Health and safety, Union Council and Equality and Diversity)
  • One of your 5 committee members must be a first year

  • If your President is male, we recommend you aquire a Vice President who must self- define as woman or non-binary

  • Nobody can be President of more than one group at a time and you cannot hold more than three committee positions across all groups in the same year

Hopefully your committee will all become close friends, but we know that you may not always agree on things and that it can be hard to juggle “personal” and “professional” relationships when you’re in a committee of people who may also be friends, coursemates or housemates.

Remember that the Opportunities team are here to support you when you face issues as a committee. If you are having difficulties, do not hesitate to contact us - we are happy to get discussions going or mediate issues. If you want any advice or assistance, feel free to contact us at