This year we have made some changes to the Elections process based on feedback from previous candidates, Sabbatical Officers, and the wider student body.
Manifesto/Candidate profile format
Candidates will no longer be asked to write a full manifesto outlining what they propose to achieve if elected. Instead, this written piece will be in a Q&A format whereby candidates will be required to provide answers to seven key questions that will enable voters to decide who will fit each role the best.
Each candidate will be asked to provide answers to the following questions in order to be included on the ballot:
- What motivated you to run for a Sabbatical Officer role and why do you think you would be a good officer?
- Why is the Sabbatical Officer role important?
- What three words would your friends use to describe you
- What one thing would you change about the SU?
- What is the one thing you would change about the University?
- Who do you draw most inspiration from and why?
- What is your proudest achievement so far and why?
The core purpose of the Sabbatical Officer role is to represent and be reactive to the needs of the student body. UPSU is constantly receiving and proactively collecting feedback about the things that matter to students and one thing being clearly communicated, is that the student community is facing unprecedented, relentless challenges. Top issues relate to the cost of living, wellbeing and academic attainment, to name a few things.
To take the pressure off candidates at the time of nomination, the SU has changed it's approach. Instead of asking candidates to come up with a list of how they will tackle those issues that are important to students, when they don't necessarily have all the information they need at their disposal, candidates will be asked more information about themselves.
So that voters can still compare candidates and choose the people that most effectively represent their values and priorities, candidates are being asked to answer a few questions about themselves, their skills and attributes as well as the things that are important to them. Then, once elected the Sabbatical Officers will work collaboratively with students and staff to most effectively address those student priorities.
The answers to the questions in this form will be used by UPSU to promote the candidates running in the UPSU elections.
The content will be published on the UPSU website and may be used, either digitally or in printed format, as a whole or as individual responses to specific questions, to promote the election or election candidates across campus, in official university buildings or on social media.
Previously, candidates have been required to attend a mandatory training session outlining the Election rules including when and where campaigning is acceptable, the rules of being a candidate and to learn about the elections process. This year the mandatory training session will be available as an e-learning resource. Candidates will still be required to complete this training before being included on the ballot for the Student Elections 2023.
Candidates will be invited to face to face training but these sessions will be workshop-based and not compulsory.
E-learning enables candidates to complete the core candidate training at a time that is convenient for them as long as this is completed prior to the voting period. The aim is to make this core information more accessible to a wider range of students, including (but not limited to):
- Students with caring responsibilities
- Students who commute to campus
- Students on placement
- Students in part-time employment
We also recognise that the amount of information shared in these sessions can be quite overwhelming for some students and therefore the move to e-learning will enable candidates to access and refer to this information at any time during the Elections process.
The workshop sessions will be less structured and will give candidates the opportunity to speak to members of staff one-to-one about any area they are unsure of and get individual and tailored feedback.
The voting period has been reduced this year and will run from Monday – Friday as opposed to Friday to Friday as it has been in previous years.
Candidates will only be permitted to campaign while voting is open, for more detail on what constitutes campaigning please refer to the candidate training (link here).
- Voting open: Monday 27th February, midday
- Voting closes: Friday 3rd March, midday
The key reason behind this decision is to relieve pressure on the candidates running in the Student Elections. Previous candidate feedback has been that the campaigning/voting period is too long and leads to burn out. Also, based on previous year polling statistics the first two full days (Saturday and Sunday) have been the lowest in terms of votes cast – accounting for 6% and 7% of the total votes respectively.
The aim is to remove the need for candidates to be actively campaigning while engagement is likely to be low, saving energy for the voting period. This also means that the candidates will have the weekend free from lectures before voting opens to complete their campaign materials before the focus moves to campaigning.
Removal of campaigning in partner nightclubs
Candidates will no longer be permitted to campaign anywhere off-campus, that is not an official university building, including partner nightclubs.
Voting week is an intense time and we recognise the pressure that the candidates are under. While campaigning is permitted and voting will remain open in the evenings during voting week, by removing the partner nightclub campaigning we aim to remove any sense of obligation to be campaigning all hours of the day and night.
All candidates are welcome to campaign inside the Students’ Union during our opening times (and at any events held in the SU) during the voting period.
This year we have organised an activity for each full day of the campaigning and voting period.
- Monday 20th February – Candidate Speeches at the Societies Forum
- Monday 27th February - Voting is open from midday
- Tuesday 28th February – Elections Roadshow
- Wednesday 1st March – UPSU Staff Meet and Greet
- Thursday 2nd March – UPSU Elections at the Campus Market
- Friday 3rd March – Results Night in the Students’ Union
The focus of these events will be to raise general awareness of the Student Elections and encourage as many students as possible to find out more about the candidates and use their vote.
We hope that these events will provide a range of different platforms for candidates to speak to students but it is not compulsory for candidates to attend the events listed above.