Election FAQs

For a lot of students, the Students' Union Elections are the first democratic process they're involved in, so some of the process might seem quite new. We've answered some of the more frequently asked questions - if you're still unsure about something, you can email democracy@shu.ac.uk.

Why are there Elections at the Students' Union?

Firstly, we have elections because it's the law! The Education Act 1994 requires all Students' Unions in England to be run by students who are elected by other students. Secondly, we think it's a pretty good way of running things. The whole point of the SU is to advocate on behalf of Sheffield Hallam students, working with the University to make sure that students' opinions are heard whenever a decision is made that will affect students. The SU couldn't do this if it wasn't led by students who understand what's happening in students' lives.

A good example of this is the recent assessment policy released by the Uni (the 'Fairer Outcomes' policy): the SU's leaders were there at every meeting, advocating for a deal that would work best for as many students as possible (and we think we got it!) We've also won fairer deals for placement students, and we've worked on countless other projects that improve students' lives.

Am I allowed to take part?

If you're a student at Sheffield Hallam, then you can probably take part. Any 'full member' of the Union can run for a position in the election, and as a student you are a member of the Students' Union. This means that, whether you study full- or part-time, are a mature student, international student, Undergrad or Postgrad, you can take part.


There are a few exceptions you should be aware of:


Unfortunately, exchange students are unable to run in the election; Sheffield Hallam needs to be your 'main' University of study. Exchange students can still vote, though. International students studying for a Sheffield Hallam degree are eligible to run and vote for any position (not just International Students' Officer!)


Some students 'opt out' of Union membership - if you've done this, then you will have to opt back in to take part.

Why would I want to get involved?

Students usually decide to take part in the Elections because they want to make life better for students. They have loads of great ideas about how the student experience could be better – and being an Officer is the most effective way of making those ideas a reality.


So perhaps you've got some awesome ideas that would make being a student at Sheffield Hallam better. Perhaps you think the University could have handled something better over the last year, and you want to point them down the right path. Being an SU Officer is the best way of doing all of this.


We like to think that most students get involved because they have a passion for improving students' lives… but it's impossible to ignore the amazing effect that a year in SU Office can have on your career. What do you imagine your next full-time job to look like? Will you be:

  • A trustee of a charity? (You can view our current Officers on the government website)
  • Making strategic decisions that decide the course of an entire organisation?
  • Regularly meeting with some of the most senior University staff, as well as local and national political figures?
  • Creating, leading on and evaluating your own campaigns and projects?

These are all things that SU Officers get to put on their CV and allows them to stand out massively when they apply for jobs once they leave.

How does the Election work?

To become an Officer, you need to be elected into the role: this means you need to get more votes than other candidates. Over the week of 6-10th March, all students at Sheffield Hallam will have the opportunity to vote for who they think are the best candidates for each position. It would be your job to try and convince them that you are the best candidate!


To do this, we give all candidates the opportunity to outline who they are, why they'd be a good Officer, and what they'd do if they got elected. You'll also campaign for votes, engaging with students in person and online to explain why they should vote for you.


If you'd like to take part but aren't sure how to do all of that, don't worry! We provide comprehensive training for candidates, so you'll be equipped with the information you need to do well.


Voting is done electronically using an app that's located on the SU website. When students vote, they can 'rank' each candidate in order of preference, which makes voting fairer. The process we use is called ranked voting.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up on the SU website at www.hallamstudentsunion.com/elections from Monday 15th Feb. In order to sign up, you'll need to fill out our signup form. The form will ask you to submit a candidate photo, and you'll need to answer a few questions about your interest in the role, as you would in a job application. Your answers will be shown to students when they are voting, so make sure you spend some time preparing your answers!