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 below - if you're still unsure about something, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!)
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 that you should be aware of:
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:
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.
The six full-time Officers take up the position as a full-time, paid job. Our Part-Time Reps work alongside their students in a voluntary capacity – but they are still able to gain similar experience.
What do you mean by ‘Full-time’ & ‘Part-time’?
Our six-Officer team works full-time for the Students’ Union for one academic year. Here, full-time means exactly what it would for another job – the Officers work from Monday-Friday and are paid a wage for their work. So if you were elected to one of these positions, you’d be expected to work for the Students’ Union for one academic year (July-June), and not have any other full-time work or study commitments during that year. If you’re in your last year of your studies, you will start working full-time in the SU straight after. If you’re not in your last year, then you’ll need to take a one-year break (or ‘Sabbatical’) to complete your year in office. After that, you’d pick up your studies where you left off.
Our 8 Part-Time Reps don’t have specific hours and don’t receive a salary for their work – but if you are elected, you’ll receive access to a budget and support from other Officers and staff to complete your projects. These roles are designed to function around your studies, so they’re extremely flexible in terms of how you approach your work.
Which role is right for me?
The first consideration is whether you a full-time or a part-time role would suit you best – see above for more info on the differences between them.
If you’d like to find out more about each individual role, check out the ‘Roles’ tab!
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 15-19th March, all students at SHU 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! You can do this by submitting a manifesto for students to read, outlining who you are, why you’d be a good Officer, and what you’d do if you got elected. You’ll also campaign for votes, engaging with students online to explain why they should vote for you.
If you’d like to take part but aren’t sure how you’ll campaign or write your manifesto, don’t worry! We provide comprehensive training for candidates, so you’ll be equipped with the information you need to campaign 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 alternative voting - you can read more about how that works here.
Do I have to pay to take part?
We fully reimburse candidate spending during the election up to £50 for candidates for full-time positions, and £20 for part-time candidates. This means that you can spend money on promoting your campaign, and we will give you the amount that you’ve spent back to you afterwards. There are some processes and conditions that you’ll need to be aware of around budget, but these will be explained to you during training.
How do I sign up?
You can sign up on the SU website at www.hallamstudentsunion.com/elections from Monday 15th Feb. The signup process is quite simple: you click ‘Stand in the Election’, fill in a couple of details about yourself, and then click ‘Stand’ by the position you’d like to nominate yourself for. You can then submit a manifesto and a picture of yourself. You’ll get more information about what they should contain once you’ve submitted your nomination – the main thing is to have your nomination in on time.