Your Big Ideas

Your Big Ideas

Do you have an Idea about how to make the Students’ Union, University or the wider community better for students?

Your Big Ideas are a great way to make meaningful change on campus. Submit your Idea online and share with your friends and course mates. If your Big Idea achieves 50 or more votes in favour after 28 days, it will be taken forward; either to an appropriate meeting such as Students’ Council or by meeting with the appropriate person(s) to help make your idea a reality. If a Big Idea gets approval at Students’ Council, it will become Students’ Union policy and we will work with you on making it happen!

To submit an Idea or vote on any of the current Big Ideas below, you must be logged in using your UCLan student login. Once logged in, the option to submit will appear and to vote, just click the thumbs up or down button - depending on your opinion! 

Previous Big Ideas-turned reality have included free period provisions on campus, an extension to the academic calendar and free disability screening.

Anyone can submit a Big Idea. It’s an easy way to change the lives of students!

Big Ideas Top Tips

  1. Identify the issue you want to solve.
  2. Do your research and talk to others. Staff and Elected Officers can help you prepare to launch or promote your Big Idea.
  3. Plan what you think should be done to solve the issue and decide how you'll know when it’s fixed.
  4. Submit a Big Idea! Go change Students’ lives.


Need some help submitting Your Big Idea? Follow the steps on our how-to video here

Got a question? Get in touch at

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  • 39 score
    41 Voters

    Why should UCLan use ‘Preferred names’?


      What are ‘preferred names’? 

      The names used on birth certificates are ‘given’ names while names that people choose to use are ‘preferred’ names. Preferred names could be a shortening of their given name, such as ‘Tom’ instead of ‘Thomas’, the use of middle names instead of first names, nicknames or names that differ completely from their given name, such as ‘Chelsea’ instead of ‘Derek’.  


      Why might people want to use preferred names? 

      People may wish to use a preferred name for a variety of reasons: it’s what they have always been called, it may help people align themselves more closely with their gender identity, they dislike their given name, for religious/political reasons, etc. 


      What does the law say about the use of preferred names? 
      According to the Education Regulations, educational institutions must provide each student's full name in the admissions register. In accordance with the Department For Education’s 2016 guidance on parental responsibility, this refers to the student's legal name. While given names must be used in specific circumstances, the Equality and Human Rights Commission guidance is clear that not using preferred names is a clear example of gender discrimination. It should be noted that it would be deemed discriminatory and against the Human Rights Commission guidance for individuals’ gender to be questioned in relation to their preferred names.  

      Why use preferred names?  

      Interpersonal microaggressions and a loss of belonging at school, including the lack of adherence to preferred name usage, according to Austin, Craig, D'Souza and McInroy’s 2022 study ‘Suicidality Among Transgender Youth: Elucidating the Role of Interpersonal Risk Factors’, are factors in a sustained increase in suicide risk lasting six months or more. Advance HE’s 2022 ‘Trans staff and students in HE and colleges: improving experiences’ guidance provide guidance on how to create an inclusive environment for Trans/intersex/non-binary people and illustrates that using preferred names can reduce mental health inequalities between cis and non-cis people. Additionally, whether cis or non-cis, use of preferred names can improve feelings of belonging within the university. Ultimately, using preferred names can help to creates a more inclusive environment and promote equality. 


      Challenges faced by using preferred names:  

      One challenge of using preferred names can be that universities are not incubated spaces – what happens at UCLan doesn’t necessarily stay at UCLan. This means that an accidental involuntary disclosure, commonly known as ‘outing’, could occur. This could happen simply by using their preferred name on their student ID card without their consent. n the 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report published by the Human Rights Campaign, students describe involuntary disclosure as “extremely stressful” and could put students’ safety at risk so are best avoided.  


      How challenges could be addressed:  

      When enrolling at UCLan, people are already asked for their preferred name. I suggest that if a preferred name is declared, prospective students could be given a list of options for when they want their preferred name to be used and also informed of when their legal name will be used. Examples of when legal names could be used include financial documentation, payroll and tax forms, DBS checks etc. Preferred name use could be requested to be used on the online directory, Teams display, ID cards etc. By giving the individual the choice of when and how their chosen name is used, it gives students more autonomy over themselves and allows them to express themselves in a way that is safe and comfortable for them. Additionally, by allowing further autonomy over their preferred name, it could help to inform the university about some of the challenges that students may face regarding their name/religion/gender expression and allow the university to tailor support for those students. 


      Further information? 

      Micky Powell (the LGB rep for the student council) can be contacted by email to answer any question regarding any LGB issues during the 22/23 academic year.  

      The LGBTQ+ Foundation:   

    Michaela Powell
    8:40pm on 14 Oct 22 Have been asked for some further information so I'm posting it here for anyone else who may be asking similar questions. The current official UCLan policy regarding preferred names is in the UCLan Transgender Guidance and states: 'UCLan can change a student’s name on the University system without a legal name change at any time and any person changing their name should be treated just like any other person changing their name. However, this is generally in the ‘known as’ section and official mail may still be posted in the transitioning student’s legal name'. There have been some issues with this policy. While it is the official UCLan policy to allow students to change their name at any time, it isn't actually happening. I, for one, have been trying to get UCLan to correct my name for a year (On the UCLan system as Michaela Jayde Powell but on the SU system -and on the list of student council members - my name is down as Powelle while my preferred name is Micky). I've had some members of staff say that students aren't allowed to change their name, which is against policy, some staff have said that people can only do it if they're Trans, some have said that they don't know how to do it on the system and no one who has been available has been able to do it. In this regard, the application of this policy has been lacking. Additionally, some people have had their names changed on the UCLan system but then it isn't updated and used elsewhere. For example, many people report still showing their previous/non-chosen name on their student card/email/teams - the places where other students actually see their name. Many students don't see the point in changing their name on the system when it won't be in everyday use and might just confuse matters. Some people also want more autonomy over how their name is used. For example, there are some students for whom it wouldn't be safe to use their preferred name on their ID card as they may have to take it home with them, but they want to be referred to by their preferred name in class/email etc. By giving people the choice, it could help create a more inclusive but still safe environment. Therefore, it is proposed that UCLan pay particular attention to the 'How challenges could be addressed' section of this Big Idea. Hope this helps!

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