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Spending a year working in this incredibly unique job is guaranteed to teach you more than you could ever imagine at this stage in your student life
Ellie Hynes, SU President 2013-14
My year as SU President was incredible - I was given more responsibility and freedom than I would ever have been given on any graduate scheme and I had the opportunity to really drive change for students. I learnt so much and really had a fantastic time.
Alex Nicholson-Evans, SU President 2008-09
I am your SU Officer for this area
Lucy Woodcock

SU President

About my role

Running for SU Officer

For questions about the rules or to register complaints to the Returning Officer and Elections Committee:
sureturningofficer@bath.ac.uk

For technical problems with BathStudent, such as uploading your manifesto:
suelections@bath.ac.uk

SU Officers are ordinary students who are elected every March by students at this University to lead your Students' Union. They are the voice of students. All the roles, with the exception of the Postgraduate Officer, are open to any registered student at the University of Bath.  Students can take up post on graduation or by taking a year out from their studies.  Candidates for the post of Postgraduate Officer, though voted for by all students, must be a postgraduate student.

The 2014/15 Officer team was awarded "NUS Offiicer Team of the Year" in the national NUS awards.

What are SU Officers responsible for?

1. The direction of a charity with a million pound turnover

The Students’ Union is a registered charity and exists to makes students’ lives better at Bath, by offering services which include: representation, support, development and entertainment.

 

2. Representing nearly 16,000 members to the University as well as locally and nationally

SU Officers represent the concerns and views of individuals, groups or the whole student body on issues such as welfare, academic, social and financial. In particular, SU Officers focus on tackling the “top ten issues” that students have identified as their primary concerns.  These are the Top Ten Issues for this year.

3. Making up the majority of the Students' Union Board of Trustees 

Along with three external trustees, the SU Officers are members of the Students' Union's Board of Trustees and also have legal and financial responsibilities.

4. Developing the strategic direction of the Union 

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the broad direction of the Union and works with the Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and SU Finance Director to ensure a successful long term approach to the government of the Union.  This is the last year of the 2013-2016 plan.  The new plan, which is based on a wide variety of consultation with students, will be approved shortly by the Board.  

 

I am an international student; can I run for post as a SU Officer?

Yes. If you are going to hold post as an Officer, you can get an extension of your Tier 4 visa without having to return home.  You can get further information and advice from the International Student Advice Team in 4 West.

The Activities Officer in 2015/16 ran as an international student - and won.

 

Will I get paid?

Yes. SU Officers do get remuneration and free accommodation in University accommodation, though if there are reasons why you cannot live in University accommodation, this should not put you off.  The stipulation is one made by the University and the SU would raise this issue with the University and seek a solution.

 

When should I run for SU Officer?

You can stand for post at any time whilst you are a student at Bath.  You can hold office as your placement year, for example, and several have in the past.  If you do wish to do this, you must get permission, in writing, from your Director of Studies and Head of Department and ultimately Senate.  

If you are doing a PGT you may, with permission from your supervisor and Senate, be able to defer writing up until after your sabbatical year.

If you are a PGR, you will have to speak to your supervisor and Head of Department, in the first instance.  The University is supportive of the Postgraduate Officer post and has said that it would be happy to consider breaks for students who are funded by the University.  If your funding is from a research council or other external organisation, you will have to contact that agency to discuss a funding and research break.  You should, of course, establish that the University and funder are happy before standing.

 

Why should I run for SU Officer?

There are many reasons to become an SU Officer. You will:

1. Have an unforgettable, exciting year, full of challenges

Every day is different; one day you could be helping a student with a problem, leading a national campaign or sitting on an interview panel for a manager. The next day you could be attending a FLTQC (Faculty Learning & Teaching Quality Committee), doing a presentation to your executive committee or sitting in a meeting with the Vice Chancellor.

2. Improve your employability

This is a fantastic opportunity to build a very impressive CV that will make you really stand out to employers. You will have real experience of making senior level decisions as well as managing budgets, events, meetings, projects, teams and your time! In one year, you will have worked with the media, interviewed staff, done public speaking, written reports and negotiated change.

3. Make a difference

You can make a positive impact on students’ lives by influencing the decision makers. There are many changes and developments at the Union, the University and in the local community that that have been driven through by an SU Officer.

4. Develop invaluable life and work skills

Over the year you will have developed some important skills that will benefit you in all areas of your life including: communication, teamwork, leadership, organisation, influencing, strategic planning, commercial awareness, working under pressure and problem solving.

5. Network with a national organisation

Through the NUS (National Union of Students) you will be a part of a confederation of 600 students' unions and linked with thousands of other SU Officers The NUS is a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions.

 

Will I get any training?

 Yes. You will start learning about the role from the current Officer almost as soon as you are elected.  (Don't worry, this will fit around exams.)  Furthermore, all SU Officers get a two week handover from their predecessor and also attend both internal SU and external training events throughout the summer to help them fully understand their roles and responsibilities.  There will be opportunities for further training over the course of the year.   If you are a postgraduate student and you will not be allowed to suspend study before September, for example, it may be possible to negotiate training around your commitment.

You are also supported by experienced full time staff and external trustees.

What position should I run for?

There are now six SU Officers.  A new post was approved in 2015/16, that of Postgraduate Officer.

Roles are:

1. Students’ Union President

The SU President is the figurehead of the Students’ Union. As the President you would lead the SU Officer team, helping and organising the efforts of each individual SU Officer and ensuring that the work on major student issues is done. It is his/her responsibility to make sure that everything the Union undertakes is for the long term benefit of its members.

2. Education Officer

The Education Officer is principally charged with the academic representation, primarily to the University but to other relevant bodies as well.  As the Education Officer you would also work closely with the Postgraduate Officer on issues relating to postgraduate and with the Community Officer on issues relating to international students.

3. Sport Officer

The Sport Officer is principally charged with the strategic development of sport within the Students’ Union and acting as a representative on relevant University committees and at the national level. As the Sport Officer you would represent students’ sporting needs and interests to the Sports Department and the University.

4. Activities Officer

The Activities Officer is responsible for the strategic development of the activities of societies and also represents students in the training and enterprise areas of the Union. S/he will work with student Executives within the Societies and Enterprise areas.

5. Community Officer

The Community Officer post is a wide ranging role that represents the needs of specific groups of students and general student welfare to the University, the strategic development of volunteering and the diversity and support groups within the SU. As Community Officer you would also be the face and main representation of students within the local community.

6. Postgraduate Officer

This post was approved in January 2016.  During the first year, the role has been very much a developmental one and the job role contained in Regulation 6 has been slightly reviewed in the light of experience. As the title suggests, the specific duty of this postholder is to research and represent the interests of postgraduate students and to develop an active postgraduate community.  The post is only open to postgraduate students, though all students will be able to vote for this post.

 

Can I stand and/or vote in the Postgraduate Officer election?

Can both research postgraduates and taught postgraduates vote in the election?

Yes.  In fact, all students can vote in this election

Can both research postgraduates and taught postgraduates stand in the Postgraduate Officer election?

Yes. Research postgraduates (PGRS) and taught postgraduates (PGTs) are both able to stand.  However, undergraduate students may not stand.

PLEASE NOTE: This post was approved in January 2016.  For the first year, the role has been very much a developmental one and the job role contained in Regulation 6 has just been slightly reviewed in the light of experience. 

Postgraduates wanting to stand should meet with their Director of Studies and get their approval using the ‘Consent for students intending to take a year out of their studies’ form. Undergraduates also have to do this to stand as SU Officers, so it should not be seen as problematic. This meeting would include discussion of your funder’s requirements, and other important issues.

As a standard procedure, the University’s Board of Studies and Senate need to approve all appointments, including SU Officers, after the elections. This has also been the case for undergraduate SU Officers for many years without problems being raised by the committees.

Will I be able to suspend my registration if I’m elected?

Yes, almost certainly, as long as funding or other exceptional circumstances do not cause problems. This would be covered in advance in your meeting with your Director of Studies.

Is the University happy for postgraduates to take time out to be a Postgraduate Officer?

Yes. The University enthusiastically supports the Postgraduate Officer post and the election, and is working to ensure that postgraduates can stand and serve as Postgraduate Officers.

I’m staying in the UK on a Tier 4 visa. Would I be able to stay in the UK to be a Postgraduate Officer (or other SU Officer)?

Yes. You can spend up to two years on a Tier 4 visa as an SU Officer, either during your course or straight after you graduate.

The University would need to notify UKVI (UK Visas & Immigration) of this as a ‘change of circumstances’ but it is still permitted.

If you start your SU Officer post at the end of your course, and need a new visa, the University can issue CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) to do this, even though you would no longer be studying.

For more visa advice, please contact Student Services at international-student-advice@bath.ac.uk.

I’m a visiting student at the University of Bath, and the rest of study has been at another university. Can I take part in the election?

Yes.  Visiting students are registered at the University of Bath during their time here, so can vote and stand in the election.

I’m a research postgraduate in a Doctoral Training Partnership/ Doctoral Training Centre/ Centre for Doctoral Training. I spent time at several different universities while doing my research – can I take part in the election?

Yes, research postgraduates in Doctoral Training Partnership/ Doctoral Training Centre/ Centre for Doctoral Training are counted as visiting students. So you would be able to vote, but if you stood as a candidate you would need to discuss with your university of origin about arrangements for taking a sabbatical year.

I’m a research postgraduate funded by a university studentship. Will I be able to take a break in my funding in order to serve as a Postgraduate Officer?

This shouldn’t be a problem.  The University supports the Postgraduate Officer position and is happy to consider breaks in funding for research postgraduates who are elected to the position. 

I’m a research postgraduate funded by a research council. Will I be able to take a break in my funding?

This may be possible but you will need to discuss your position with your research council or agency funding you and with your Director of Studies before standing.

I’m a research postgraduate funded by industry, overseas government, charity or other funder. Will I be able to take a break in my funding?

This may be possible but you will need to discuss your position with your funder and with your Director of Studies before standing.

 

What's the next step?

A year as an SU Officer will be the one of the most memorable and valuable years of your life. Don’t miss this opportunity.