Election Information & FAQ

Who can be an elected Executive Officer or Representative?

What do elected Executive Officers and Representatives do?

What positions are available in this election?

What are the benefits and responsibilities of these elected positions?

What is it like to run in an election?

How can I nominate myself in this election?

How do I run a campaign?

How do I vote in the election?

 


 

Who can be an elected Executive Officer or Representative?

You are eligible to nominate yourself to become an elected officer or Representative as long as you are currently registered as a student of the University of Winchester and have not elected to 'opt-out' of the Student Union.

Our definition of 'student' in regards to membership is:

  • Registered University of Winchester full-time undergraduates

  • Registered University of Winchester full-time visiting and exchange students

  • Registered University of Winchester full-time postgraduates

  • Students on University of Winchester foundation degrees

  • University of Winchester undergraduates on their year abroad

  • Registered University of Winchester part-time students

  • Registered University of Winchester distance learners

  • Elected Executive Officers during their time in office

To be eligible to fulfill the role of a Sabbatical Officer (also known as Officer Trustee), you must be able fulfill full time hours (subject to the Student Union's standard terms & conditions of employment) during the term of office you are being elected.

To be eligible to fulfill the role of a part-time Student Officer or Representative you must remain a registered student during the term of office for which you are being elected.

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What do elected Executive Officers and Representatives do?

Part-time Student Officers are responsible for; promoting and defending the rights of members; campaigning on issues affecting members; and the implementation of Student Union policy.

Full time Sabbatical Officers (also known as Officer Trustees) have a wider remit, including the above, and we would strongly suggest that you read the Union's Constitution and Paper – Executive Officers: Role and Responsibilities before standing for one of these full time positions.

National Conference Delegates are elected to join the Student Union President at the NUS National Conference from Tues 31st March - Thurs 2nd April 2020, and will be responsible for representing all University of Winchester students on the national stage.

Student Senate Representatives (elected in the Autumn), along with Student Officers and Sabbatical Officers, form Winchester Student Union's Student Senate, a group that works to ensure that students' views and needs are represented and acted upon, through the work of the Union and its officers. 

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What positions are available in this election?

There are a number of positions available in the Executive Officer (Spring) Elections.

Student Officers are part-time and these postions are suitable for any current student of the University who will remain a student in the 2020/21 academic year.

Sabbatical Officers (also known as Officer Trustees) are full-time, and are also paid staff positions of the Union. In addition these full time officer posts are also trustees of the Union, which means they are legally responsible for all of our activities and make decisions about long term strategy. These are only suitable for students who are graduating at the end of this academic year (or are prepared to take a year out of their studies).

If you are unsure as to which position might suit you best, feel free to email a current student officer.

 

In the Executive Officer (Spring) Elections, there are 8 Executive Officer positions (1x President, 2x Vice Presidents, 5x Student Officers) and 2 National Conference Delegate positions. See below for more information about each position:

 

President - Full time

The Sabbatical Officer with overall responsibility for representing Winchester Student Union.

The President is also an Officer Trustee and full time employee of Winchester Student Union during their term of office.

Email queries about this post to: su_pres@winchester.ac.uk

 

Vice President, Activities - Full time

The Sabbatical Officer with responsibility for ensuring social participation and development opportunities.

The Vice President, Activities is also an Officer Trustee and full time employee  of Winchester Student Union during their term of office.

Email queries about this post to: su_vpas@winchester.ac.uk

 

Vice President, Education & Welfare - Full time

The Sabbatical Officer with responsibility for representing students as learners and ensuring the wellbeing of our members.

The Vice President, Education & Welfare is also a full time employee and Officer Trustee of Winchester Student Union during their term of office.

Email queries about this post to: su_education@winchester.ac.uk

 

Student Officer x 5 - Part time

The officers with individual and collective responsibility for ensuring the Union remains focused on representing the needs of its members. Officers will also shape the campaign work of the Union across areas as diverse as environment, community, housing and the needs of specific student groups.

Email queries about these posts to: su_pres@winchester.ac.uk

 

National Conference Delegate x 2 (31st March - 2nd April 2020 only)

The successful candidates will join the Student Union president at NUS National Conference, Tues 31st March - Thurs 2nd April 2020 in Liverpool, all expenses paid, and will be responsible for representing all University of Winchester students on the national stage. (You won't have any responsibilities beyond attending the conference.) It is possible stand for this alongside a student officer role, should you wish.

Due to NUS policy, at least 50% of Winchester's delegation to conference must be female, therefore this election requires at least one of the candidates to self-define as female.

Email queries about these roles to: su_pres@winchester.ac.uk

 

Student Senate Representatives - Part time x 19 (elected in Autumn)

Autumn elections are completed to elect Student Senate for that academic year and each of the positions available represent a specific demographic of student.

Email queries about these posts to: su_pres@winchester.ac.uk

 

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What are the benefits and responsibilities of these elected positions?

The benefits

As well as the chance to make a real difference to the lives of students at Winchester, there are a number of amazing personal benefits to being an Executive Officer;

Full-time positions (Sabbatical Officers)

  • the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run and direct a large organisation with an annual turnover of £1.9 million and a membership of over 8000 students

  • exceptional experience ‘in the field/industry’ which sends you leaps and bounds up the career ladder in comparison to other recent graduates, invaluable for any future career

  • a salary of around £20,000 per year

  • 28 days holiday plus Union/University closure days (usually an additional 8 days)

  • we can write references, e.g. for job applications, for students who are or have been elected officers or reps. Just contact us if you'd like a reference

Part-time positions

  • the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help run and direct a large organisation with an annual turnover of £1.9 million and a membership of over 8000 students

  • develop your skills in areas such as project management, planning and running a campaign, advocacy

  • contribute to improving the Student Union and University for current and future students

  • training and support to help you carry out your role

  • we can write references, e.g. for job applications, for students who are or have been elected officers or reps. 

The responsibilities

You should be aware from the outset that standing for one of these elected positions should not be done lightly. Yes, it will look great on your CV and yes, you will learn and experience a whole raft of new things whist having some fun, but (and it’s a big but) the roles come with a great deal of responsibility and commitment, particularly to those who vote for you; our student members.

Full-time positions (Sabbatical Officers)

Whilst being a full-time Officer is an exciting opportunity, it also brings with it the need for responsibility and a commitment to:

  • working around a typical 9am-5pm working day, Monday to Friday, though you can work flexibly

  • but being flexible as you're likely to have to work some evenings and weekends

  • attend Student Union and University meetings that are relevant to your post

  • working co-operatively with your fellow Officers and Students Union employed staff

  • being a Trustee – this means you and the other Sabbatical Officers will collectively be legally responsible for the general control and management of the administration of the Union, and there are legal restrictions barring certain people from being a Trustee.

  • the responsibilities of full-time officers are set down in the Union's constitution, and bye-laws. and are further explained in the election packs. This gives both the key responsibilities common to all full-time officer roles, and those appropriate to the particular post you're interested in.

Part-time positions

  • attend Student Union and University meetings that are relevant to your post (if applicable)

  • working co-operatively with other officers, staff and volunteers

  • various responsibilities related to your representative post

  • the responsibilities of part-time officers are set down in the Union's constitution, and bye-laws. This gives both the key responsibilities common to all part-time officer roles, and those of the elected Student Officers.

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What is it like to run in an election?

One of the Union's Executive Officers share their experiences and thoughts about elections and being a student officer:

Why get involved with the Union?

The Student Union is an awesome organisation to be a part of and being part of the Exec Committee really gives you the opportunity to understand the cogs and how everything runs behind the scenes so to speak. Amongst other skills, being on Exec will improve your confidence, time management, organisation, planning abilities and team work. It is a real opportunity to implement any ideas and plans you have.

Why run for election?

I decided to run because I wanted to get involved more with the Student Union. Being a Student Officer appealed to me as a new challenge and an opportunity to implement ideas and passions I have concerning my specific portfolio. The nature of the role was something I felt I could offer as well as the ability to pursue campaign ideas and address students.

What was running like?

Running in the elections themselves is a great experience – the process is tiring and can feel quite long with multiple hurdles to overcome, however the adrenaline gets you through and it’s so much fun; it was unlike any other challenge I’ve ever taken part in before. The process starts by completeing your nomination online, then a Candidate Briefing is called once nominations have closed, where you find out who is running and all the guidelines for campaigning and regulations are given out and explained.

What was campaigning like?

Everyone has their own plan of how they want to campaign but most will produce posters/leaflets, maybe videos or blogs. That week was incredibly busy, most spent every day all day and the evenings campaigning, talking to students on campus, going door to door around halls and speaking to sports teams, societies and networks to round up support. It is so important to get the buzz about voting around campus. Nothing can really prepare you for the madness of the campaign period but you will get from it what you put in; I met so many people during this time and made friends that I might have never had the chance to meet. I would encourage you to speak to the other candidates across all the roles, there is a great sense of unity.

What if you don’t win?

I am loving being on the Exec Committee, it is hugely rewarding and has provided me with great experiences to take with me following graduation, but even if I didn't win I still would have been glad that I ran for the role. You gain so many skills throughout the process, and gain knowledge about the Union and University, you might never have known. Yes, I would have been disappointed, but that doesn't change the fact that running for a student officer role is a reward all on its own.

So go for it, what do you have to lose? There is no time for what ifs?

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How can I nominate myself in this election?

The nomination process in this election is undertaken online via this website - full details on how to nominate yourself can be found in the nomination section of the site.

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How do I run a campaign?

Running for any elected position will involve you getting your name out to the people who are going to vote and explain to them why you would be the best candidate to vote for. This process of campaigning will be covered in depth if you formally put your name forward for nomination, but what follows is some basic information about running a good campaign as food for thought.

Plan a campaign you can manage

Our best campaign tip for you is to remember that there are no guarantees when it comes to elections. You should plan your campaign in a way that feels manageable and best suited to you. Don't feel you have to do the same things as other candidates; just whatever you think will best help you persuade people to vote for you.

Play fair

The most important thing to remember about campaigning is to concentrate on why you are the best candidate and not on why you are better than other candidates. Focus on your strengths and aptitude and not the weakness of anyone else standing for election. This will promote a fair and equitable campaign period that reflects the strengths of each candidate in a positive and constructive way.

Manifestos

A manifesto is a written brief that you publicly release that outlines why you are standing for election, what you want to achieve and why students should vote for you. We've got lots of information about topics you could include in your manifesto and campaign. Using current issues relevant to students is a good way to make your campaign resonate with voters.

You can use up to 500 words to create your manifesto. This will appear in and around the Union and on our website during the campaigning & voting period.

500 words isn't a lot so try to focus on your key points and make it easy for voters to read. You can use as many words as you want for other things you do, e.g.. printed materials, Facebook or videos.

Do your research, and try to be realistic with your manifesto promises. That is not say you can't be ambitious, but try not to make pledges that you haven't researched and assessed the practicality first. You may be held accountable by our members for promises you make but can't or don't keep!

Think about who you're targeting

The Winchester student body is incredibly diverse, e.g. mature/commuting students, sports club members, student parents, international students, students who work for the Student Union, students who live on campus; and the list goes on. You could think about how different issues and/or messages might be of interest to different students.

Campaign rules

We issue rules for each set of elections. They are based around these principles;

  • Only do what others can do and respect students and other candidates, i.e. play fair and play nice

  • The Returning Officer sets and implements the rules for the elections. They will make decisions about other situations that arise during the elections which aren't otherwise covered by the rules.

  • Make sure you stick within any limits imposed upon you for campaigning for publicity materials.

Managing your campaign

Planning ahead and asking friends to help you out (with your campaign, studies or just keeping you motivated) will help make your campaign manageable.

Balancing your campaign and your studies

  • While it does depend on how much energy and effort you decide to put into your campaign, it is generally possible that you might miss some study time. Therefore it is best to prepare in advance, so that you don’t get too left behind. Running in the election is not an excuse to miss lectures.

  • If you miss any lecturers (which we don’t advise you do), ask a friend on your course if they pick up extra handouts for you and check canvas for notes.

  • If people are helping you campaign, you can make sure they are there to cover you while you attend a lecture/seminar

  • Don’t completely neglect your studies, maybe try to fit in some reading

Staying healthy

  • Make a big batch of food (stew/pasta sauce/soup) before the start of the campaigning period and freeze it so that you have easy food to come home to after a busy day (generous helpful housemates are useful here!)

  • Make sure you make time to eat during the day and to relax, the Terrace Bar is good for this. It is important not to burn out

  • Wear suitable clothes to keep you warm/cool/dry

  • Get a good amount of sleep

  • Try to maintain a healthy diet 

  • Look after yourself and your wellbeing. Elections can be stressful, so making time for self-care is important.

Balancing your campaign and other commitments

  • Consider giving your other commitments, e.g. societies, sports or job, a miss for a week if you are able to and if you're worried about having too much to do

  • Equally, some people like maintaining a their normal routine and having something different to take their mind off their campaign

  • Do something nice in the evenings and at the weekend!

Finally, candidates often find themselves making friends with other nominees - they're in the same position as you so you can motivate each other.

Campaign tips

Be clear – no one wants to read pages and pages of words – use bullet points and bold to highlight key points

Stand out – don’t say ‘get more people involved’ (who wouldn't want that?), instead talk about how and why you would want to do that

Don’t be put off - if students don’t want to talk to you, just smile, be polite, thank them for their time and move on.

Have fun - Students respond better to positive campaigning and ultimately, the elections should be a fun, positive experience for everyone.

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How do I vote in the election?

Voting takes place on this website from 25th February - for full details of how to vote visit the voting section of the site.

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If you have any further questions then please email us at suelection@winchester.ac.uk