Thinking about running for election but not sure if it’s for you? We’ve put together the answers to some common queries and misconceptions to help you make your decision about standing to be part of the new Full-Time Officer team.
I’ve not been involved in the Students’ Union before - can I stand for election?
Definitely. You don’t need to have been involved in the SU to run for election. The Students’ Union represents all students, aiming to make student life better - so as long as you’ve got ideas on how to make the Goldsmiths experience better, go for it!
We run a huge variety of different services for students - from an SU Bar, Shop, Cafe and Nursery, to an advice service, clubs and societies, and a system to represent you to the College and more - so if you want to get more involved in these or have ideas to improve them, becoming an Officer is for you.
With four Full-Time positions available, there’s something for everyone. We’re also providing a series of inspiration and training sessions to help you to be successful in the election, which will answer any questions you have about the Union. Once elected, the training and support doesn’t stop, with a staff team to help and support you, and ongoing training on offer throughout the year.
I’m a postgraduate student - can I run for election?
Any current Goldsmiths student can stand for election, no matter what stage of your studies you’re at. And if your final assessments are due after your term in office starts, we can support you to complete your degree with study leave and flexible working arrangements. (If you’d like to chat about this any further, get in touch with Sarah via email@example.com).
I’m an international student - am I eligible?
Students who are on a Tier 4 visa (student visa) may run for Full-Time Officer positions, and you will either have to have completed your course by June or suspend your studies temporarily in order to take up the role. If you suspend your studies, you may need to extend your visa to ensure you have enough time to complete your studies afterwards.
We recommend checking out the guidance available from UKCISA, or chat to the Goldsmiths Immigration Team who can help with Tier 4 visa queries if you’re elected. If you’re a student on a different kind of visa and interested in running for election, we recommend contacting the Goldsmiths Immigration Team, as there are some restrictions on your right to work in the UK. Contact us if you have questions about this.
I’m a part time student. Can I run?
Yes! Whatever course you are enrolled on and however you study, if you are already a member of the Students’ Union (everyone is automatically registered when they enrol at Goldsmiths) that means you can run in the election! If you are a short course student you are not eligible to run as not enrolled as a Goldsmiths student.
I’m not in my final year of studying, but I’d like to stand for a Full-Time position. How does that work?
That’s absolutely fine - many Full-Time Officer candidates take a pause from their studies, undertaking the full time role for the year, and then go back to complete their degree afterwards. If you are considering this, speak to your department (eg personal tutor) first as you’ll need their permission to see if you can take a sabbatical.to get their advice.
I’m not very confident, and I don’t feel like I know enough people to win…
You don’t have to necessarily know tonnes of people in order to win an election. Once campaigning starts, you will get a chance to chat (online!) to lots of people in order to get the word out about your campaign and get them to vote for you. But it’s completely on your terms how you choose to do this: while some students might enjoy hosting an online meeting, others might feel more comfortable having lots of 1-to-1 conversations.
Don’t forget that social media is now more important than ever in getting your message out, and you’re allowed to have a campaign team of your friends or coursemates who might be more confident in chatting to people on your behalf. Don’t forget to come along to our Campaigns training to help you to explore a variety of different methods of getting your message out.
I’m not sure which role to run for? I’m nothing like the current Officer.
Have a read of the job descriptions. Each role has a broad portfolio to allow flexibility for what your priorities will be and every officer is very different from the last. It’s inevitable that you will have different ideas, a different style of working and maybe take the role in a different direction. That really shouldn’t hold you back from running.
I’m worried that taking a break from studies or not going straight into a job will be bad for my career…
This is understandable and obviously every individual will make their own choice and balance out the pros and cons. However past Officers have gained lots of transferable and incredible skills in the role that have led to great careers afterwards, most of them not simply in politics! Working as a representative will develop your confidence, help you learn how to be an effective communicator and master the art of problem solving.
But I’m not that political!
This is a thing students often say but once you dig deeper it turns out everyone is to some degree. You may not be party political but wanting to see change and improvements for students at Goldsmiths IS political. This could be as simple as wanting to see more water fountains on campus, to as elaborate as wanting the university to take action on the climate crisis. The team each year is made up of 4 people who are very different, with different skill sets and interests, political or otherwise. The diversity usually makes them a lot stronger!
I’ve never run a campaign before. Everyone else I’m running against will have, so I’ll lose…
You’d be very surprised. For most candidates this will be their first campaign. We put training in place to get you up to speed and help your confidence. The key element to any campaign is having a clear idea of what you want to change, inspiring others (friends, course mates, others) to work on your campaign by offering some of their time, and getting the message out there in whatever medium to students.
I only have one or two ideas, how am I going to fill a manifesto?
Everyone starts like this. Your manifesto doesn’t have to be one hundred pages long (in fact we ask you to limit it to 600 words for the website, though you can have an extended one on your social media pages or campaign blog) - in fact really strong campaigns usually stick to no more than five or less big ideas. They should be compelling, exciting and speak to the experiences of students at Goldsmiths. You should also try as much as possible to make them achievable, because students you talk to will want to know details. During the campaigning week and your conversations with students you will pick up lots of ideas for other things you’ll want to work on, so don’t worry about feeling you only have a few ideas. Have a read here of our blog post about writing your manifesto.
What have past Officers campaigned on?
The priorities of past Officers have really varied. We’ve seen campaigns on everything from affordable student accommodation, student mental health and course costs to promises to make the SU bar cheaper, ensure our sports team are accessible to students of faith and even pushing for a new SU website!
Okay I’m tempted but still not sure.
Talk to us! Our door is always open. Drop us an email or even ask to speak to a current Officer if you like. We don’t bite!
Don’t forget that nominations close at 10pm on Wednesday 24th February. Nominate yourself now at goldsmithssu.org/elections