On Friday 9th March, voting opens for the 2012 Students’ Union Elections. But for many students, the SU Elections are shrouded in obscurity. Candidates will dress up as superheroes to beg for our votes and we will be inundated with sweets and flyers from every corner of campus, yet the reasons for these campaigns may seem unclear.
The SU Elections are an annual event which involve the nominations and campaigning for students who want to run for a position as an Executive or Representational Officer. There are 16 positions up for grabs. Those who are elected as officers will represent students at the University of Nottingham, with the aim of creating ‘positive change’ for us all.
These roles, as all the campaigning may indicate, are not taken lightly. 8 of the 9 members of the Exec, plus the Postgraduate Students’ Officer, will be full-time sabbatical officers, and therefore the winning candidate will have either graduated by the time they take up their position, or else will have to take a year out of their course to undertake their role. The positions are held for a year, from 1st July until 30th June, and Sabbatical Officers are paid an annual salary of £17,078.
Because the officers will represent all of us, every student is given the opportunity to vote in the SU Elections. Voting happens online, via the portal, and will be open from Friday 9th March at noon until Friday 16th March at 5pm. 7,756 students voted in the 2011 Elections, which was a record turnout for the University of Nottingham. It was also one of the highest turnouts across the UK in any Students’ Union.
But what do the Exec and Reps do for you? As our representatives, their roles encompass all aspects of uni life, from ‘Accommodation & Community’ (for example, aiming to increase the amount of landlords accredited by Unipol) to ‘Environment & Social Justice’ (e.g. running Fairtrade Fortnight), with the President representing student views as a whole, to the University and beyond. Nearly all of your day-to-day activities at university will fall somewhere under SU headings, be it Education, Finance or the Athletic Union. The Reps are there to represent particular groups of students, with roles including LGBT Officer, Postgraduate Students’ Officer and Disabled Students’ Officer.
So now you’re armed with the basic knowledge of why these people will be asking for your vote, think carefully before you choose. This week, Impact will publish profiles of each of the candidates on the website, with their credentials and plans for change. The SU affects uni life in so many ways, so make your voice heard and your vote count from Friday 9th March.