March 7, 2016, by Emily Howard
What are the SU elections? A brief guide…
It’s not just banners and badgering; the Students’ Union elections are actually important. Who gets voted in ultimately shapes student experience for the following academic year – so you should vote for someone who you think will represent you best! The 14 officers (7 full-time and 7 part-time) ensure that students are represented to the university and to the wider community. So, if you’ve got something to say or want something to happen, the SU is the best path to walk through.
The 7 full-time officers roles are: President, Activities, Community, Equal Opportunities and Welfare, Education, Sports and Postgraduate. The elected officers are employed by the Students’ Union to shape how each of their departments are run. This year’s President was Angharad Smith, whose key goals were to engage with students to make sure their voices were heard; to promote awareness of the welfare on offer and improve the welfare itself; and drive for gender equality alongside the #HeForShe campaign.
The 7 part-time officers are students who volunteer for the Students’ Union, but like the full-time officers, are crucial in shaping how each of their departments are run for the year. The roles are: BME, Environment and Social Justice, LGBT, International Students, Mature Students, Students with Disabilities, and Women‘s officers. They are key figures in making sure every single student is represented.
The candidates are elected using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system; and then the elected officers are held accountable to the students throughout the year by various democratic structures. The Scrutiny Panel consists of 6 cross-campus elected students and 2 officers from another union, which hold the officers to account for their work. The Democratic Procedures Committee has 12 members, but anybody can join their meetings and have a say in making decisions about regulation changes. Union Council is open to all students, where panelists, student reps and students discuss and vote for ideas.
So it’s not just cardboard cut-outs and free sweets: the campaigns are an important part of Students’ Union democracy and ultimately are designed to make your voice heard in how you want your SU to be run. Voting for this year’s candidates is now open, and closes this Friday, March 11th. Read manifestos, talk to the campaigners, and vote here to make your voice heard.
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