So, you’re thinking about running for a position on the HUS… but what should you do? Read on for some top tips on running in an election!
1. Have a think about the roles
We’ve got a page that gives the low-down on the current roles up for grabs on the team, so have a read. Do you like showing off your creativity? Ents might be for you! If you’re interested in a lot of student communication, something like Comms, Services or Academic Affairs & Liaisons might be the job that fits you best. Or perhaps you’re interested in getting lots of people involved in college activities, in which case the Sports role might be right up your street.
2. Don’t worry about who else is running
Honestly, just don’t worry about it. Concentrate on whether you would like to run or not, and if you would, just go for it. There’s surprisingly little correlation between ‘being well known’ and ‘winning an election’. People will vote for the best candidate. If you think you could do a great job, then make sure you let everyone know!
3. Brainstorm some ideas
Most people have an opinion about how our union should be run, and we get lots of great ideas sent in by students just like you. Our advice: write them down! Think of as many different things as you can and get it all onto one sheet of paper. Your ideas might range from small changes that could be made to the HUS, to ideas for particular events you want to see held, or even to large scale changes you want to see in college. It’s from this that you’ll be able to build a great manifesto.
4. Speak to the current officer
If you want to become the next Services Officer, pop over and find out who the current officer is and either track them down for a chat or drop them an email. Find out what the job is really like (the constitutional description can be a bit waffly and unrepresentative sometimes) – they’ll more than happy to tell you! Speaking to the current officer is probably the very best way to get a taste for the job. We don’t bite!
5. Check your ideas are possible
This is very important, and combines the last two steps. Fresh ideas are what grease the wheels of the HUS, but it’s important you don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Pledging to provide free food for everyone might attract a lot of attention, but your fellow students are likely to see through hollow promises like that. Even if they don’t, you could end up in a position where you don’t fulfill the points of your manifesto, and people might get a bit frustrated. The best policies are the realistic ones that make a positive change to your fellow students’ College experience!
6. Check out if there are any time requirements
Some roles might require you to get involved with CUSU, or train for a particular set of skills. For instance, Welfare Officers should ideally be eager to get some peer-to-peer support training (don’t worry, it’s not a requirement to already be trained if you want to run) and the Academic Affairs & Liaisons officer will have to organise things like College families over the summer. Things like these might be easy to miss when you run for a role, but five minutes of research will give you invaluable insight! It also means you get to meet some great people from the wider university.
7. Write a good manifesto
Manifestos are your chance to show off your capabilities for the job. They’re just one-sided, black and white A4 sheets that outline your ideas. You should tell people why you want the job, why you’d be good at it, and what you’d like to do in the role. Don’t be scared by the prospect of writing one – if you’ve followed the last few tips, it should be easy to put together all your great ideas and add in a bit about yourself.
8. Make yourself a poster
Manifestos will be posted outside the HUS Office and on the website, but posters are your chance to catch the eye of the student body. You might want to opt for a policy-driven poster, or perhaps one that shows off a bit of design skills or wit. Slogans can help, however terrible they are! Be sure to think about what message you want to send to the student body, and present it the best you can. When all else fails, keep it simple!
Bear in mind that there are a few rules you need to follow with posters:
- You must not have a photo of yourself on the poster
- No political, religious or other affiliations can be used
- Posters must be approved by the HUS President or Office Manager
- No posters may be put up where they may not be taken down (i.e. in people’s windows)
- Posters cannot be put up before the close of nominations
9. Think about your proposer
Although your seconders just sign your nomination forms, your proposer must also make a one-minute speech in your favour at hustings. You might want to recruit someone who is a close friend and can really emphasise your personal qualities, or perhaps you’d prefer to go for someone you’ve worked with in a committee or a society. Either way, a few minutes’ thought is worth dedicating to the decision.
10. Have fun!
It’s no fun working with someone who isn’t happy, and the HUS tries (as far as it can) to keep spirits up and reassure the students that Things Aren’t That Bad. We spend a lot of time smiling, even when it hurts. Students appreciate a bit of humour and a grin, so just have fun with the job. If you win, that’s awesome, but if you don’t, well… nobody is going to care. People are never going to remember who ran for what a few years down the line, so don’t worry about it. It’s a great experience to run in the first place!