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Nominations are open

Here’s the first step you need to take to become a representative of the Students’ Union and the student voice.

Nominate yourself now

Nominations close on Wednesday 1st March 10am

Why be a Student Trustee

The role of a student trustee is a low commitment and high gain role. The Unions Trustee board meet 3 times a year to discuss the union’s financial and operational affairs and make plans of how to spend the Union the union generates through it’s outlets to put back into the Union and build upon the student experience.

Hear from the current trustee’s why you should nominate yourself for the role.

Why be a Full Time Officer

The full time officer positions is the job everyone wants. Once you’re in office, here is where you can make a real influence on what happens at all campuses if you’re determined enough. Officer’s make small and big wins for students all the time, can you read all about them here. You just need to be the right person with big ideas of how you want the student voice to be heard.

Journey to the Center of Officership

Jaime-Lee Cunningham has been an important part of the Students’ Union here at Staffordshire University for the last two years, as a Vice-President and now President in our officer team. The journey that she undertook two years ago as a commuter student is an inspirational one and hopefully will introduce you to what it takes to become a Student Officer.

Click here to see Jaime-Lee's journey

As a student commuting to Stoke for lectures and the dance society, Jaime felt as if she was not engaged enough with the University or Union.

When the opportunity to become a Student Officer arose, she thought it was very much a ‘popularity contest’ and that you would need to be engaged within the grand scheme of things.

Her personal tutor recommended for her to apply for the role, as Health Sciences hadn’t had a representative for a while, and explained that it wasn’t a popularity contest, it was what you were fighting for that would get you votes.

Jaime-Lee moved to Stoke and realised how much there was to do. As a commuter, she was not as aware of the nights out and the social experience of University.

She was worried about putting herself out there and ‘exposing’ herself to the student body, but felt that being honest, being able to represent Health Sciences and promoting mental wellbeing was worth it.

In what was an exhausting week of campaigning, people agreed with Jaime’s principles and policies and she was elected as a Student Officer.

At first the role was really overwhelming for Jaime, as each day brought something new. She felt as if she didn’t know what to expect or could never be prepared, but realised that this was what the professional world is like.

Jaime felt like she was improving over time and becoming more confident in the role of Vice-President, and was able to do things like talking to students en-masse with less fear.

The second time Jaime-Lee ran for the role, she felt more confident and enjoyed it more but also felt there was more pressure as she was a returning officer and could be held more accountable for her first-year at the reigns.

During last year’s elections, Yik-Yak was popular on campus and those running had to be wary of annoying the student body in case negative comments were placed on social media that could affect their campaign.

The second time around, she took more feedback on board from other students, because after all “you are campaigning for others and not yourself.”

Jaime-Lee believes that the hardest thing about being an Officer is often not having enough time to pursue ideas for change because of a vast amount of admin work and other things needing to be done. She views the University and lecturers in a different light now: there is no intimidation there as lecturers and University leaders are just people trying to do their best for the University. Seeing behind the scenes of how the University and Union is run has opened her eyes to how much research is put into decisions made and they are doing what they think is the best for students, such as the Stafford campus closure.

Personally, Jaime believes that she is a completely different person to the Commuter Student she was in first and second year. She believes now she is more eccentric and able to use every opportunity placed before her, and that she is more able through the skills learned in the role.

She hopes her legacy in the future is seeing the foundations she has placed in helping the University battle the stigma against mental health continue to grow and improve, as well as seeing the University offer more support in the future due to her work.

“Believe and be sure of yourself. You’ll improve over time.”

Election Myths

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!