Myth 1 - “I’m not political enough.”
There aren’t particular issues you have to be passionate about to vote or to get people to vote for you, other than being interested in making things better for students at Aber. People with varying political views and experience are elected at every set of elections so there is no right sort of political interest or activity for those who put themselves forward or those who vote for them.
Myth 2 - “Someone else is more likely to win.”
Most people who nominate themselves believe this, 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 there are no guarantees with elections. There are often cases where people who didn't think they would win are elected.
Myth 3 - “I’m not the right sort of person to get involved in elections.”
There is no such thing as the “right sort of person” to put themselves forward or vote in elections. Each officer makes the position 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. Enthusiasm and passion are the main criteria.
Myth 4 - “I’m an International student, so I cannot run due to visas.”
An international student can run to be a full-time officer and can apply for an extension of their Tier 4 visa. The requirement for a work placement to be no more than 50 per cent of your overall course in the UK does not include any period when you are in post as a full-time officer.
- If you take the job 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:
Myth 5 - “It’s just a popularity contest.”
There are no guarantees or certainties with elections. Just because you think someone knows lots of people, it doesn’t mean those people would vote for them. Remember 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 6 - “I won’t have time.”
If you are thinking about nominating yourself, full-time officer roles are paid full-time positions for one year from July until July. They’re designed to be as accommodating as possible when it comes to completing your course or year of study, and the Students’ Union provides training and support to help you carry out your responsibilities within the Union.
The election campaign period is three weeks in total, but it’s up to you how much time you put into it and how you balance it with your studies.
Myth 7 - “There’s no point, you’ll never change anything.”
Students have been instrumental in introducing big changes at Aber SU over the years.
Aber SU Officers have recently been involved in the recruitment of a new Vice-Chancellor, revised University regulations relating to council tax exemption and reduced short term loan fines by half.
There are also lots of examples of smaller changes that improve things for students, and many of these have been led by elected students.
Myth 8 - “I’m not sure it’s for me, I’m happy with things at Aber.”
You don’t have to have an endless list of big changes, sometimes it is 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?
Being an officer is partly about giving feedback on behalf of students to the University and Students’ Union. This could be things that work well and should be increased or ideas to improve things.
Myth 9 - “I don’t have the right experience to nominate myself.”
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; it isn’t like going for a job interview where someone looks over your CV. 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 10 - “I won’t win without a big campaign team.”
Having friends to help you with your campaign can be useful, whether this is just encouraging words or a team of people to hand out flyers, but this isn’t essential. Plenty of people have won elections working on their own, especially with online communication being so widely used now.
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, so don’t worry about working on your own.
Myth 11 - “I am not in my final year so I cannot run.”
Becoming a full-time officer of the Students’ Union does not mean you stop being a student, so anyone can run for the position. So while a lot of students see becoming an officer as the perfect end to their studies, plenty of students also see it is as a great 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. So 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 now, you might just start on a journey you will never forget. If not why not consider becoming a Volunteer Officer instead?
Voting Myth 1 - "My vote won’t make any difference so there’s no point on voting."
Actually there are elections every year in Students’ Unions that are decided by 1 or 2 votes! Someone had that critical vote that made all the difference – plus every vote counts!
Voting Myth 2 - "The person I want to vote for will never get elected anyway."
Every candidate has a chance of winning and if everyone who felt like this voted, it might make a huge difference to results. Our elections also use a transferable vote, so if your favourite candidate doesn’t get elected, your next choice of vote will still make a difference.
Voting Myth 3 - "I don’t like any of the candidates, so there’s no point in voting."
You can choose to vote for re-open nominations (RON) or you can abstain on your voting page. If RON wins the election (and this has happened in a couple of elections in SUs around the country) then none of the candidates will win, and nominations will open up again for new people to stand for that role.
Voting Myth 4 - "I don’t know enough about the candidates to make a choice."
Information about why each of the candidates thinks you should vote for them is available online and on the actual voting paper. Most candidates also have facebook pages about their campaigns, or you could stop a candidate and ask them why you should vote for them. Anyone elected will also be accountable to students.
Voting Myth 5 - "I don’t know how to vote."
Any registered student can vote using ApAber on their phone or on their desktop/tablet. You should also have been emailed a direct link to your voting paper from our Student Support and Representation Manager, Martin Dodd.
The voting paper itself has a list of roles that you can vote for. Once you click on a role, you will see a list of candidates with their photos and elections info (these are randomised for fairness). All you need to do is choose 1 for your favourite option, 2 for your second and so on, until you have ranked all candidates or chosen to stop. Then click to vote – its really that simple.