[Laura Slingo | Elections Team]
The Hertfordshire Students’ Union Elections 2016 are in full swing, with your candidates working hard to research students’ wants and needs, carefully crafting manifestos to address these priorities and planning spectacular campaigns to prove to you why you should vote for them. But what exactly are you as UH students voting for and why should you? Here’s your latest survival guide for Herts SU elections.
What does the Students’ Union do for me?
The SU represents the voice of Hertfordshire’s 25,000 students. It ensures student opinions and comments are heard by discussing them on your behalf with authority figures about the University, community and government. Herts SU also helps make your student life incredible. The Forum, societies, volunteering, RAG, Halls League and Give it a Go are all organised by the SU to provide students with a well-rounded university experience.
What are the elections?
The annual elections are a chance for all registered students of UH to vote for their representatives and student leaders; that is, who is going to run the SU and act as student voice. Students can nominate themselves to lead the SU as full-time officers or nominate themselves for part-time positions as representatives of the students. All students have equal opportunity to stand as a representative and cast their vote.
Elections are student-led because it is important to have student representatives making the decisions on the direction the SU is heading in, and the stance it should take regarding the issues of concern to students. As only registered UH students can stand, it means that it is a member of the University’s chance to have their say on issues they care about, and with that, choose who is the best to represent the student voice.
What roles are candidates nominating themselves for?
There are five full-time positions available. These full-time officers lead the SU and represent students within the Union, University and community. They campaign for positive changes within these spaces, being responsible for the strategic direction of the SU. Your full-time officers will be in full-time paid roles based in the SU from June 2016 to June 2017. These full-time roles are:
- Vice President Democracy & Services
- Vice President Education & Welfare
- Vice President Student Activities
- Vice President Communications & Media
You may see candidates campaigning individually or in a slate (that is, as a team). But this doesn’t mean you have to vote for all of them just because they are in a slate! You choose who you want to represent you in each of the roles listed above.
There are other part-time positions available which are voluntary, including:
- 10 School Officers
- 4 College Officers
- Research Students Officer
- 6 NUS Delegates
- Chair of Council
- Deputy Chair of Council
- 1 Student Trustee
Can I get involved?
Of course! While it’s now too late for you to nominate yourself you can still support your candidates. Societies can endorse candidates, showing full-fledge support for potential student representatives. Alternatively, students can come and watch candidates campaign, and support them on social media outlets to show appreciation for them.
Do I have to vote?
Any registered student of the University of Hertfordshire can vote in the elections. You do not have to vote, but it is advisable if you want your student voice to be heard! Feel you’re paying too much for your lunch on campus? Tired of waiting for a bus that’s never going to show? Thought of a brand new society or event that you want to get involved with? Your SU is the porthole to all these things and it’s your elected officers who are going to help you get there. Make sure you’re voting for your favourites to ensure your voice is heard! Oh, and you could be in with the chance to win Summer Ball 2016 tickets too.
What should I keep an eye out for?
The Elections are not necessarily political and good portion of them is based on candidates convincing students to vote for them through persuasive written manifestos and fun and creative outlets. Keep an eye out for heavy flyering, crazy stunts on campus, outrageous videos, Yik Yaks, hashtags, Facebook groups, and most importantly, plentiful freebies!
Voting opens at hertfordshire.su/vote 12pm on March 4th, and closes at 12pm on the 11th of March. The results will be announced in the EleHouse from 6pm on the 11th.