The Big Plan.




Our vision.

With you to make the most of your journey at Greenwich

Our mission.

We empower students to have life changing experiences, which help them shape their futures and the world around them.

Our values.

Empowering, Courageous, Dedicated, Trusted and Approachable.




I am incredibly excited to have been elected as President of the Students’ Union at such a great point in time as we are launching our Big Plan for the next three years! We’ve spoken to loads of students and based on what they’ve said, our two main aims are ensuring that you have a great time at uni and that you are equipped to make change in the world after your time here! It’s that simple really and you can help us to achieve those aims as we’ll be asking you how we’re doing…so don’t be shy and tell us what you think, we want to hear it and make sure we get it right!

Meike Imberg
SU President 2017-19


Greenwich Students’ Union set out its mission three years ago to empower students to change the world and have a great time at university. We still truly believe in these principles and aim to keep these at the heart of everything we do. As a Students’ Union we run by our members, for our members and The Big Plan was created by students to guide our activity. Getting involved with GSU can enrich your time while you are studying and can help you meet friends for life. We welcome everyone to come and get involved, we hope to see you soon!

Henry Setter
SU President 2019/20

I’m extremely proud of the passion and drive in our Students Union. Our existing relationship with the University of Greenwich is strong and we support their own vision, Making Greenwich Great. We have been on a journey over the past year, investing heavily in consultation and developing this strategy for the next three years. We worked with the NUS to assess our current membership offer and to find out what our members wanted. We also worked with Icarus to help us shape our strategy and detail the way we will assess our impact.

We asked our members, stakeholders and selves “What change do we want to see?” We had two answers to this question, the first was that our members report that they have affected change and the second was that members report that they have had a positive student experience.

This result has reinforced our vision, in full recognition of our diverse student population, that all students make the most of their journey at Greenwich. To realise this, we have set a series of activities that have been informed, not by what we have done in the past but by what the future should look like. It’s a future in which we have empowered students to have life changing experiences that have helped them shape their futures and the world around them.

As a team we live and breathe our values. We are empowering, we are courageous, we are dedicated, trusted and approachable. This strategy holds these values at its heart and we know you will recognise this in our work as we move forward together, guided with the Big Plan!

John Schless
Chief Executive



In 2016/17 we worked with you, our members, to plan out what we should be doing as an SU over the next few years. Based on this work we have two goals:

Empower you to change the world.

Make sure you have a great time at Greenwich!


That’s it, simple as. What that will look like is a little more complicated but we’ve broken it down into eight areas. This gives you an idea of how we’ll reach our following goals.

We've recently rebranded our Big Plan document - click here to see the new version!

You can discover how successful we have been so far here.



Influencing the Uni 

We will work in partnership with the University of Greenwich, becoming a trusted source of information on what you need from them to make the most of your journey at Greenwich.

With measures like the Teaching Excellence Framework and National Student Survey now defining the quality of education, you have consistently mentioned a concern of the quality of teaching at Greenwich*. In a way, the one defining characteristic that all students here share is a desire for a good degree. We are here to ensure that the University is aware of your needs and are meeting their obligations. We are dedicated to developing the existing program representative network and see building a strong partnership with the University as key. We also believe that being a trusted source of information on what students need is the best way to evidence the benefits of good change.

Your Employability 

You have told us that you want a degree at Greenwich to get the best job and future, we’ll ensure that you can recognise how getting involved in your SU will make you stand out from the crowd and be more employable.

Career and employability are the two key areas impacting your decision to come to Greenwich*. While the SU continues to be a major employer of students, we saw that there is a need to emphasise that every level of engagement in the SU contributes toward a members employability.
The experiences gathered in being a member of a society and sports club, in representing a programme or faculty or in volunteering, if given their proper recognition, give graduates a competitive edge in the job market. Couple these existing programmes with investment in further, broader training for students and staff and we believe we'll be able to assist with this area you care about.

Managing Your Money 

When you’re a student you invest a lot more than just your time, so we’ll help you make money, save money and learn how to manage the money you have.

You told us that 'Finance' as one of your biggest concerns*. There is plenty of evidence on the national scene that money matters most to students. We're a not-for-profit organisation that aims to put as much money back into students pockets as possible and to be transparent in that process. This is so we can provide positive examples of how best to manage finances. We will further invest in our advice service, helping you manage your money matters.

Representing You 

We will speak for every one of you, learning what it is you need then empowering you and your student leadership team to deliver it.

Our independent member research showed that a large number of our members don't consider themselves to be 'Typical Students'. We get that, Greenwich has commuting students, students with caring responsibilities, disabled students, diverse sexual orientation, age, ethnicity and gender. We are proud of our diversity. The research also showed us that our representation on your behalf is a service not as widely known of as it should be. There are so many challenges to achieving success at university.
We want to be sure that the challenges are overcome and that students and their needs are at the heart of decision and change making at the University. Our staff and trustees all agreed and wanted to ensure that time and effort would go into learning as much about who our members are and what they need as possible.

Your Health and Wellbeing 

You know you need to take care of yourself at Uni and we can help, with advice services, healthy food & drink options and by making it easier to keep fit with our sports clubs and activities and have fun in our societies.

Being a student is a whole lot of fun, but we know it's important to you to have a steady study/social life balance*. In support of this Mind UK state that mental well being is currently the biggest challenge facing students, leading to resitting exams and even dropping out. Further consultation with students and staff has given us a number of ways of ensuring that the SU continues to design its activities, services, campaigns and student spaces that provide a platform for our members happiness. We believe that healthy bodies lead to healthy minds and this is all the impetus we need to keep up our investment in competitive and participatory sport.

Your Community 

We will continue to develop safe spaces that support you in having fun, working comfortably, getting help and making change.

The main reason given by those of you that have considered leaving university is a feeling of not belonging*. Add this to the desire for a balanced study/social life and it becomes clear that we should be aiming to create a positive community, in which you can work, have fun, relax and make change. We believe that developing a strong community should be the foundation of everything we do here.

Giving You a Wider Influence 

We will work with you to ensure that your voice is heard on the local, London and National stage, putting your SU at the heart of the student movement.
That’s it, simple as. What that will look like is a little more complicated but we’ve broken it down into 8 areas. This gives you an idea of how we’ll reach our goals.

Demanding quality from the university might be the unifying factor for all our members at Greenwich but that does not mean your time here is only influenced by the University. What happens locally, in London and on the National stage has longer broader impacts on student life. Fees, costs of living, teaching quality and the potential marketisation of your degree are all wider issues that you need to have a voice in. Our ability to represent you and influence the university goes beyond Greenwich campuses. This is the background that has informed our activities under this outcome.

Your Local Community 

Students are the life blood of Greenwich, Avery Hill and Medway campuses, we will ensure that this is celebrated through a healthy, productive partnership with the local community.

Our power to develop a great student experience extends beyond our buildings, services and campuses. We have a responsibility to reinforce the positive role students play in the local community. Developing productive partnerships with the local community leads to increased opportunities for you.



How did it come to this?

Below is the step by step journey we took over the last year to ensure that every move we make in the next three is as informed and 

*We commissioned NUS Insight to produce a Strategic Planning Research Report, looking at our membership and services and aiming to provide recommendations on the creation of a new strategy.Download the NUS Report



Guided by this report we started a year long programme of consultation with students, staff and trustees gathering opinions and formulating a framework to build our Big Plan on. You can see what this consultation led to in this presentation which maps the aspects of the NUS survey onto reaction and consultation with our staff to create two solid goals: Represent our members and help them effect change and Ensure our members had the best student experience.Download the Consultation Presentation



So we had a direction, a series of aims that combined what we had done before, what was successful and what we could do better. It was time to look at how we could implement and measure the change we wanted to see. This is when we called Icarus who assessed the work we had done, interviewed the team and helped us both visualise and organise the strategy with a new 'Theory of Change' for our organisation.Download the Theory of Change



We now have 8 definable outcomes that we know we need to recognise to succeed in our goals. These outcomes are visions of the change we want to see and when you know the destination it becomes much easier to plan the route. From these outcomes we planned our activities and from our activities we planned our measures. Icarus gave us a way to plan our activities and then highlighted the multiple ways that we can measure our impact and gather feedback to further inform our strategy.Download Icarus' Report




You can download, print and share our Big Plan document by pressing the button below.
Download the Big Plan document