How much do you know about the elections?
Be honest with yourself . . . Do you even know what a sabbatical officer does? You may already know quite a lot, or you might know nothing at all, but either way, we expect that you have questions. Not everything you hear/think you know is always right – let’s explore some of the myths and truths about the elections.
The elections are just a popularity contest
Elections are absolutely not about being a big name on campus, having the most instagram followers, and the most popular candidate isn’t always the one who’s been a part of every sports team on campus, has never missed a night out! Instead, the “popular” candidates usually earn this status over the course of the election, through campaigning, good policies, and attendance at election events. So no, it’s not the person with the most twitter followers, it's the person who campaigns the best.
I'm not the right sort of person
Who even is the right person? In short there is no such thing as the 'right sort of person'! Every year different people with different views, ideas and experience win. You can make the position your own and we, the su, will help support you along the way! Just because the current officers have focused on a certain area, it doesn't mean you'd have to.
Being a sabbatical officer isn't a full time job
Sabbatical officers don’t always work monday to friday, 9 to 5, this is not normal job, but it is a full-time job and pays an annual salary of £19,000+!
What happens day to day can vary dramatically. You could be doing anything from attending board meetings, to planning campaigns or representing students. There is a lot of reading to be done, on a variety of subjects, but there will be plenty of opportunities to get out and about, talking to students and lobbying for change.
Nominating myself is too complicated
If you are struggling to nominate yourself - please just ask us for help. The nominations process has been designed to be as easy as possible, if you have any questions or need some help just shout – we are here to help. You will need to fill out some details about yourself, select the role you are looking to run for (this is the minimum) . . . Go one step further and upload a photo of yourself, a short paragraph outlining why people should.
Chichester is great – i’m not sure if it’s for me
You don't have to be angry or upset about issues facing chichester/bognor students or have an list of changes that you would like to make. There is nothing wrong with putting together a simple manifesto with small suggestions. Sometimes it is small changes that can make the biggest difference. Think about what would have made your life easier, talk to your friends, what would you like to see changed for the better?
You can’t be a sabbatical officer if you’re a postgraduate / international / not a final year student.
Wrong! To run in the elections, for any role, you must be a current student in the academic year the elections are running or a sabbatical officer who has not already completed two years as an officer!
The meaning of sabbatical is “taking a year out”, which means that you can run at any point during your student life. This means that if you’re a first or second year, you can take a year’s (or two years') break from your studies, hold office for a year, and then jump straight back into your course once you’re done. If you’re a postgraduate student, you can run too, exactly the same as if you were an undergraduate.
Many international students worry that they won’t be able to run due to issues with their visas. The truth is, it’s possible to gain a specific sabbatical officer visa and the students’ union can assist you through this process.
There's no point, you'll never change anything
Student officers have been instrumental in introducing big changes at chichester over the years; the free bus service, introduction of 24 hr library, development of the sexual harassment policy, online submission – the list goes on. There are also many more examples of smaller changes that improve things for students. If you put your mind to it, you will drive change.
Someone else is more likely to win
Just remember - somebody has to win! If you are thinking someone else is more likely to win, then so are the other candidates! You might feel that someone else has more experience, more friends or is just more likely to win but you never know with elections. There are frequently cases where people who didn't think they'd win are elected, especially as we use the transferable vote system. Don’t decide to not run just because there’s a possibility you might not win.
Elections are super stressful and no one ever has fun
Elections can be stressful and campaigning isn’t always easy, but this shouldn’t put you off. Putting the hard work to one side, it really can be a lot of fun. It’s a great chance to stand up, campaign for matters that are important to you and most importantly – have your voice heard.
You will be supported throughout the process by the su team who will give you plenty of help and advice on anything from manifestos to campaigning strategies. We’re also here to chat if things get a little much over the campaigning period.
I won't have time
Different roles require different levels of commitment and amount of time. They're designed to be as flexible as possible. We will provide training and support to help you carry out your responsibilities.
Apart from the sabbatical officer roles (which are full-time paid positions for a year), all the roles are designed to run alongside your studies and as a rule would only need around an average of 3 hours per week to undertake.
If you're worried about the time commitment required, just let us know and we'll do our best to give you an idea of how much time might be required for each role.