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Why should I be an officer? 
I don’t think I have the time… 
Will I get paid? 
Could I be a Sabbatical Officer? 
….Even if I am a postgrad? 
….Even if I am an international student? 
….Even if I am a first year? or final year? 
What is campaigning? 
What are seconders? Do I need an endorsement? 
What’s expected of me if I win? 
Isn’t it just a popularity contest? 
What is a campaign team and what do I do if I don’t have one? 
What training is available? 
Will I have a budget to campaign?
What position should I run for? 
Who can tell me more? 
What dates do I need to know? 

Why should I be an officer? 

There are several reasons why students want to be a student officer. This includes: 

  • Wanting to make a difference and being involved in shaping the experiences of UCL students 
  • Being concerned about how something in the Union is run or wanting to influence something at UCL 
  • Wanting to represent other students and ensure your specific community interests are taken into account 
  • Wanting to contribute to your professional skills 

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I don’t think I have the time… 

How much time you spend on your duties as a part-time officer is largely up to you and will depend on the commitments that you take on. Your role will determine how much time you spend on duties and you’ll have the opportunity to join other committees and meetings which may increase your workload. Your study and personal life doesn’t need to - and shouldn’t -  suffer because of the role. You also have the option of running for a part-time position as a job-share with another student.

Sabbatical Officers are expected to work full-time. However, we operate a flexible working schedule with some core hours (10-4) on Monday to Friday, although there may be events which mean you would need to work evenings and weekends.  However for any additional hours you work, you can take these back as time off.  

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Will I get paid? 

Sabbatical Officers are paid a salary of approx £25k. 

Part-Time Officers do not get paid, but you will be able to claim expenses for work such as travelling to conferences and delegate fees. The Union provides a series of budgets which Part-Time Officers can access – you won’t have to pay your own money to do your officer role!

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Could I be a Sabbatical Officer? 

Almost definitely. Are you a registered student and member of the Students’ Union? Then, yes.  Please note that some of the positions are self-defining (i.e. Women and Black and Minority Ethnic) and you’d have to be a postgraduate to stand to be the Postgraduate Students’ Officer.

Additionally, four out of the seven positions are Sabbatical Trustees (see role descriptions for Trustee reference)  and as a result there are legal restrictions about who can carry out the role of a trustee. You would not be able to take on the role if any of the following apply: 

  1. being on the Sex Offenders’ Register
  2. unspent conviction for an offence involving
    • deception or dishonesty
    • terrorist offences
    • money laundering
    • bribery
    • misconduct in public office, perjury, perverting the course of justice
    • contravention of certain preventative Orders of the Charity Commission (s.77 of the Charities Act 2011)
    • attempting, aiding or abetting these offences
  3. contempt of court
  4. designation under specific anti-terrorist legislation
  5. found guilty by the High court of disobeying a Commission order or direction
  6. removed from:
      • trusteeship, or as an officer, agent or employee of a charity by the Court or the Commission for misconduct or mismanagement
      • a position of management or control of a charity in Scotland for mismanagement or misconduct
  7. disqualification order under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986
  8. undischarged bankruptcy
  9. composition or arrangement with creditors which includes an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), and is currently on the Insolvency Service Register

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….Even if I am a postgrad? 

If you are on a funded PhD, you will need to check with your Research Council on whether they will allow an interruption. We have had several PhD students in the past take on the role of Sabbatical Officer and have worked with them to ensure they could take on the opportunity. We have also had several students become sabbatical officers who have undertaken a Masters degree

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….Even if I am an international student? 

Yes, you can stand. You will not need a new visa to your existing visa but you may need to get an extension.  We will help you through this process and may be able to cover the associated cost. We have had a number of international sabbatical officers in the past, including students from Hong Kong, the United States of America and Jamaica. 

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….Even if I am a first year? or final year? 

Yes, you are eligible to stand. We will work our induction/training arrangements around your exams and other academic commitments and even if you are new to UCL you can still run in the elections. 

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What is campaigning? 

Campaigning is the active effort to get other students to vote for you. This could include;

  • Social media posts encouraging people to vote, sharing your manifesto and highlighting key promises.

  • Handing out physical campaign materials and informing people about what you intend to do if elected.

Ahead of the official start of campaigning, we would not consider the following to be campaigning;

  • Using your personal social media account to say something like ‘I’m going to be running in the SU Leadership Race would anyone like to help out with my campaign?’

  • Using your personal social media account to gather feedback on what students are concerned about to help build your manifesto.

  • Having a private Facebook/WhatsApp etc group where you and friends or campaign team members discuss the specifics of your manifesto.

  • Chatting to face to face with friends about your campaign

Your campaign should be personal and reflect you and we’ll be running some training sessions which can help with your campaigning. You are also welcome to meet with staff and current officers to share your ideas for campaigning and help refine your campaign plan. 

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What are seconders? Do I need an endorsement? 

Our rules allow for up to 10 UCL students to second your campaign. This is not a requirement, however, some people find it useful to gain support early from students. There are restrictions on who can be listed as a seconder, so be sure to check the election rules. Societies, current post holders and student media are not eligible to second a candidate. However, you can list a title,. i.e ‘Student Representative’ or ‘President’. 

To encourage fair access to seconders, we’re hosting a Meet and Greet event on Thursday 7 February at 7pm and inviting student leaders. If you can’t make this opportunity feel free to get in touch with students directly and approach them with your manifesto plans. 

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What’s expected of me if I win? 

If you win, you will spend the next year running the Union and working on projects and campaigns to improve the lives of students. Sabbatical positions are a full time paid job with a salary of £25k approx.You’ll be expected to join the training we provide in July so don’t plan any holidays then!

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Isn’t it just a popularity contest? 

Nope. Previous student officers, including sabbatical officers have come from all walks of university life. As long as you have great ideas and a passion for creating change, you’ll make a great candidate.

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What is a campaign team and what do I do if I don’t have one? 

 A campaign team is a group of your friends who have committed to helping you campaign. They might talk to students on your behalf, help put up posters, or perhaps assist you with social media.

Don’t worry too much if you haven’t got a huge campaign team. You’ll get lots of support from us in regards to your campaign and tactics to use. The most important thing is that you’re willing to go out and talk to students - that’s the best way to win votes.

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What training is available? 

We’ll brief you on the election rules as well as give you some good campaigning tips at our Candidate’s Briefing. We’d also encourage you to take up Public Speaking and other skills sessions offered by the Union. You can find the full list of skills sessions here

If you win the election we’ll also provide you with training and support for you to take on the role. 

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Will I have a budget to campaign?

Yes. You’re able to spend and reclaim up to £100. There’s some restrictions on what you can claim for so be sure to familiarise yourself with the election rules. And be sure to keep your receipts. 

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What position should I run for? 

You can read the role descriptors for the positions available here. You’ll first need to decide if you’d like to run for a full-time position or something part-time, alongside your studies. We’d welcome you to come into the Union to chat with us about what position might suit you. Email us to arrange a time to meet.

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Who can tell me more? 

Staff at the Students’ Union can meet with you to help you through the process. We’re located on the 4th floor of 25 Gordon Street and our door is open but you can also email and we can arrange a time to meet. 

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What dates do I need to know? 

The key date is the close of nominations 22 February at Noon. Get your nomination in before then! If you want to make amendments to your ‘manifesto’ (i.e. the summary of why people vote for you and/or the additional document) you have until Monday 25 February at Noon. 

The Candidate’s Briefing takes place on Tuesday 26 February at 18.30 

Campaigning begins on Wednesday 27 February 

Voting takes place 1-8 March 

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