If you’re thinking of nominating yourself or a friend to represent Staffs students in the Leadership Race 2017, but are a little unsure about the process, read our election myth busters to dispel any misconceptions you may have and embrace your path to Leadership glory.
Myth: I’m a Full Time student, I won’t have time
Truth: Yes, you will!
Our Full Time Officer roles are paid full time positions which run for one year from July until July. We want to empower all Staffs students with a fair chance to represent their fellow students, and so these roles are intended to be as accommodating as possible when it comes to completing your course or year of study.
The Students’ Union also provides training and support to help guide you through the elections process and subsequent time in the elected role in order to successfully carry out your responsibilities within the Union.
The election campaign period is three weeks in length, but it’s up to you how much time you put into it and how you balance it with your studies.
Myth: I’m not political enough to take part in the Leadership Race
Truth: Nope. You don’t need to be ‘political’ to run
Other than being interested in making things better for students at Staffs, there aren’t particular issues you have to be passionate about to vote or to get students to vote for you. People with varying political views and experience are elected at every set of elections proving that there is no right sort of political interest or activity for those who put themselves forward or those who vote for them.
Myth: There’s no point running because someone else far is more likely to win than me
Truth: Wrong. Don’t write yourself off before you’ve even given it a go. Besides, it’s not just about the winning, there’s so much to be gained from just taking part.
The majority of students who nominate themselves believe they have no hope of winning - but someone's got to win. You might think that someone else has more experience, more friends or is just more likely to win. But with thousands of students voting each year, there are no guarantees with elections. There are often cases where people who didn't think they would win are elected. Imagine how great it would be if you did win.
Myth: I’m not the right sort of person to get involved in elections
Truth: Wrong again. You are exactly the right sort of person to get involved.
There is no such thing as the “right sort of person” to nominate or vote in elections. Having the desire to run and engage with the process makes you exactly the right sort of person. All that’s required is enthusiasm for the job and a willingness to work hard on behalf of your fellow students.
Each officer makes the role of Full Time Officer their own and the Students’ Union provides training and support to help them achieve their goals. There are no particular skills or experience required to win an election or to be a successful officer.
Myth: I’m an International student, so I cannot run due to visas
Truth: Not true. Yes, you can.
An international student can run to be a Full Time Officer and can apply for an extension of their Tier 4 visa. Your visa requires that any work placement you undertake be no more than 50 per cent of your overall course in the UK – but this excludes any period working as a Full-Time Officer.
If you accept the role while you still have time left in your permission to stay as an adult student, your Tier 4 sponsor (the University) must let the UKBA know. This is because they are responsible for you until your permission to stay in the UK expires.
If you want to take the job at the end of your course, and your permission to stay as a student is about to expire, you must apply to extend your stay as a Tier 4 student.
Full guidance can be found on the UKBA website here
Myth: It’s just a popularity contest
Truth: Nope. Not at all. Issues matter. Ideas and enthusiasm are king!
There are no guarantees or certainties with elections. A candidate may know plenty of people on campus, but it doesn’t guarantee those people will vote for them. Every vote counts, and by encouraging those around you to take a few minutes to make the most of their right to vote, you can shape the way the Union runs.
Myth: What’s the point, I’ll never change anything
Truth: Tut! Tut! Democracy is powerful! Ideas can change the world!
Students have been instrumental in introducing massive changes at Staffs over the years.
There are far too many examples of changes made by our Officer Teams over the years to list here, but whether seismic or smaller in scale, these changes have improved things immeasurably for all Staffs students.
Myth: I’m not sure it’s for me. I’m happy with things at Staffs
Truth: There’s always room for improvement! You have so much to offer; imagine all you can achieve!
You don’t need an endless list of huge changes in order to nominate and run, sometimes it’s small changes that can make a big difference. Why not ask your friends if they have any ideas for things they would like to see changed? There’s always room for positive change and enhancement.
Being an officer is partly about giving feedback on behalf of students to the University and Students’ Union. This could be things that already work well and should be increased as well as ideas to improve things.
Myth: I don’t have the right experience to nominate myself
Truth: Rubbish. Being a student is all the experience you need!
You are the experts in your own education. You don’t need prior experience to put yourself forward in an election. It is up to students to decide who has the best suggestions and enthusiasm to secure the role. While being previously involved in the Students’ Union can provide a useful insight into how the Union and the University function it is by no means essential.
Myth: I won’t win without a big campaign team
Truth: Nope. You do not need a whole team, just a few good friends to support you.
Having friends to help you with your campaign can be useful, but it isn’t essential. Support can take the form of an encouraging words from a close friend or a team of people to hand out flyers. Plenty of people have won elections working on their own – consider the infinite reach of social media and the internet alone.
Don’t worry about working on your own. Sometimes candidates running in the same set of elections end up helping each other out and it can be great way to get to know other people who might be your future colleagues.
Myth: I am not in my final year, so I can’t run
Truth: You can run during any year of study.
Becoming a Full Time Officer of the Students’ Union does not mean you stop being a student, which enables anyone to run for the position. While a lot of students view becoming an officer as the perfect end to their studies, plenty also see it is as a way to break up their studies and get some great experience before they graduate.
The skills you gain from being a Full Time Officer are second to none, including how to lead a team, devise and manage strategy, and the experience of working closely with senior officials on highly sensitive matters. If you’re interested in running for a position at the Students’ Union, don’t wait for your final year. Jump in and have a go right now!