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Strengthening the voice of students

When you join the University of Plymouth, not only are you enrolling as a student, but you also become part of the University of Plymouth Students’ Union (UPSU) community.

We are here to represent you. UPSU is a student-led organisation with democratic elections that enable you to decide which University of Plymouth students will lead our organisation, speak on your behalf at high-level meetings and work to implement the changes that you want to see to improve your student experience.

Any registered University of Plymouth student can vote in the Student Elections to decide who will be your 2024/25 Sabbatical Officer team.

Voting is now closed. Results will be announced from 6:30pm, 8th March at the results night in the SU.

Thank you for voting in the Student Elections 2024. Voting is now closed.

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What is a Sabb?

There are four Sabbatical Officers: President, VP Education, VP Activities and VP Wellbeing & Diversity. Sabbatical Officers are full-time, paid representatives. These four students represent the voices of the entire student community at the University of Plymouth, campaign for change, and ultimately work to improve the student experience.

Sabbatical Officers have a direct say in how the Students' Union is run and work to develop the strategic direction of our UPSU by speaking on your behalf at high-level meetings and working alongside the SU staff, the University of Plymouth, and external organisations.

You can find out more information about the position of each Sabbatical Officer by downloading the job descriptions below.

What are the roles?


Focuses on improving the student experience of all students at the University and represents their views on priority student issues and any national or local campaigns, to the University and Students’ Union.

Job Description
VP Education

Focuses on improving the academic experience of all students at the University and represents their views to the University and Students’ Union, this may involve undertaking research, shaping policies, running campaigns and lobbying for change.

Job Description
VP Activities

Focuses on representing students involved in sports clubs, societies, social sport initiatives, volunteering and fundraising. They focus on improving the student experience of all students at the university and represent their views to the University and Students’ Union.

Job Description
VP Wellbeing & Diversity

Focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of all students at the University and represents their views to the University and Students’ Union, this may involve undertaking research, shaping policies, running campaigns and lobbying for change.

Job Description
Timeline & Key Dates

8th January 5th February

Nominations Period

This is your opportunity to put yourself forward and submit a nomination for a role in the Elections 2024. All you need to do initially is put your name forward and then you will receive information about what you need to submit in order to become a candidate.

1st March

Candidate Announcement

We will be announcing a full list of all the candidates who are running in this year's Student Elections on Friday 1st March. Keep an eye on our website and social media channels for more information.

4th March 8th March

Voting Period

Polling will open online at midday on Monday 4th March. Over the course of the week candidates will speak to students, share their campaign and set out why students should vote for them to represent their voice.

4th March

Open Meeting

This year we have introduced Open Meetings which are a space to come together and discuss the issues affecting students. All students are welcome to attend Open Meetings and at this session candidates will be given the opportunity to explain why the student body should elect them to the Sabbatical Officer team 2024/25.

5th March

Elections Roadshow

Head over to the SU roof for our Elections Roadshow where you can meet the candidates and we'll be offering prizes and giveaways to all those students who have cast their vote.

7th March

Elections at the Campus Market

Visit our fornightly Campus Market on the SU roof, pick up some treats and cast your vote - the SU team will be on hand to answer any questions.

8th March

Results Night

Join us in the SU to find out who the student body have elected to the four Sabbatical Officer roles and who will make up the 2024/25 team.

Think you want to get involved?

Getting involved in the Elections is a fantastic way to shape your University experience. Any current student at the University of Plymouth can nominate themselves to represent the voices of 18,000+ of their fellow students. Or perhaps the role isn't your sort of thing but you know someone who'd be perfect? You can also suggest them and they'll receive an email telling them that someone thinks that they'd be great for the role.

Voting is now closed. Results will be announced from 6:30pm, 8th March at the results night in the SU.

Thank you for voting in the Student Elections 2024. Voting is now closed.

Your Student Voice team are on hand to talk you through the Elections process if you have any questions or just want to know more about how you can make your voice heard at the University of Plymouth.

Submit a Query

Download Rules

Who can vote in the Elections?

Any student studying a University of Plymouth course, regardless of year, fee status, or mode of study, is a member of the students’ union and has a vote in the elections. Therefore you, as a student, are a voter!

What am I voting for?

Elections run every year for you to decide who represents you and your needs as a student at various levels within the university, locally, and nationally. Student Elections decide which of your fellow students will take up these positions for one year.

So why should I vote?

Only the student body of the university can decide who is trusted with each position. The winners of the election will represent you and lobby for change on your behalf; by voting, you hold the most power in deciding who works with the union and university to make changes which affect your academic, extracurricular, and community lie in Plymouth.

If you are unhappy with the elections process, you can also spoil your ballot at the point of voting or vote to Re-Open Nominations. Both options are more powerful than choosing to not vote

How do I know who to vote for?

Vote for the candidate who you feel would best listen to you and represent your interests to the union and the university. Try to avoid voting for someone just because they are your friend; your vote is strictly your decision, and you do not have to reveal who you voted for.

Candidates will begin campaigning at the start of the voting week; you can keep an eye out for posters, on social media, and on the union’s website for their manifestos. Their manifestos explain who they are, why they are appropriate for the role, and what changes they will seek to make if they are elected. Be as critical as possible when reading a manifesto; are the candidate’s pledges achievable within a year? Will you be able to tell if they are making any progress, or are they making generic, open-ended statements?

What if I don’t like any of the candidates?

You can vote for RON - Re-Open Nominations. If RON is the most popular “candidate” for a position, nobody is elected into that role and the SU will open nominations again.

Do I only get one vote?

You have one vote per position up for election; click here to see which positions are open for election. However, the union uses the Alternative Vote (AV) system. Unlike “traditional” voting, AV offers wider choice and means you can maximise the outcome of your vote.

To give an example of how AV works, imagine your mate is nipping to Greggs for lunch, and offers to bring you back something. You reply that a steak bake would be ideal, but if they’re sold out, a sausage roll. If those are sold out too, you’ll have anything. What you’ve told your mate is that a steak bake is your first choice, or your first preference. Failing that, your second choice/preference is a sausage roll, and after that you haven’t got a preference. AV works in a very similar way:

  • When voting opens, you will have the option to pick your first choice candidate (your steak bake) for each position. This is usually the first, and only, voting stage in “traditional” voting
  • After picking your first choice candidates, you can also choose to allocate your second choice to another candidate (your sausage roll). This would be the person you would like to see in the role, should your first choice be unsuccessful
  • You can choose to continue allocating preferences to as many or as few candidates as you like, including a choice to “RON”. Not allocating additional preferences does not automatically make your first choice less likely to win; it simply ensures that you still have a say in who represents you should your first choice receive the fewest votes
  • When voting closes, first choice allocations are totalled. If a candidate does not already hold over 50% of the total number of first choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated. This is where your voice can still count!
  • The eliminated candidate’s votes are then transferred to the second round of counting. If your first choice is eliminated by this stage, your vote is then transferred to your second choice
  • The process continues, until a winner for that position is confirmed
What are my rights as a voter?

Some areas of campus are popular campaigning zones, such the SU and outside the library. However, certain areas of campus, including the Library and open access study spaces are strictly off-limits for candidates to campaign in. You have the right to not be disturbed by campaigners in these areas.

You have the right to be treated with respect by candidates, even if you are not voting for them. You have the right to vote freely and without coercion. Candidates are not allowed to influence you at the point of casting your vote, nor are they allowed to ask who you voted for. Candidates will be briefed on regulations prior to campaigning.

Sounds great - how do I vote?

Once voting opens online; head over to, enter your login details, and cast your vote! You can do this on any device. Contact us at for help or more information about our student roles!

View all FAQs