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23rd February 2022

How to: win an SU election

Taking into account the behaviours and trends of past SU elections, here’s a handy (satirical) guide to winning your Officer campaign…
How to: win an SU election
Photo: Ethan Davies @ The Mancunion.

Nominations have just closed for the 2022 UoM Students Union Elections. Labelled “the hottest grad scheme you’ve never heard of”, Executive Officers are the highest tier of the Union’s student roles. They represent students on issues affecting all areas of student life, get to talk to local celebs like Andy Burnham and Dame Nancy Rothwell, and earn a cushy council-tax free salary.

If that sounds right up your street, here’s our very helpful guide to winning your SU election campaign:

  1. Come up with some great, well-thought-out manifesto points – things that students really want and that you think you can realistically achieve. Like pledging to immediately make all public transport free in Manchester, firing the Vice-Chancellor, or championing feminism through a charity beauty pageant!
  2. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. The student body wants people who are truly in it to make a difference… or maybe just people hoping to make changes to their bank accounts and CVs, people who could do with the council-tax-free £20,000 salary, or people who will do everything it takes to pad out their LinkedIn, ready for a cushy career in politics. Either or!
  3. Have the right mindset when it comes to student engagement. The best candidates know that you only need students’ attention during your election campaign – once that’s done and dusted, don’t bother keeping students up to date via student media or clear messaging. Once you’re in, you’re in! The Tab can probably get you more clicks anyway…
  4. Be ready to make important decisions and defend them. As a bastion of left-wing politics, the SU sets precedents when it comes to social justice issues, so you need to be sure in your opinions and to have never voted anything more right-wing than the Lib Dems.
  5. Create an effective social media campaign. Make sure to follow all the society committee members/ student media nerds/ repeat-uni-building-occupiers that you can find. They’re the only ones who engage with the SU, so the only ones who will vote, so your key (and only!) demographic. With a turnout of below 20% for the past few years, why bother trying to engage the remaining 80%?
  6. Make a persuasive banner. The best banners will have slogans jauntily painted in quirky positions with thick paint. Legibility is so last year – think primary school art class and you’re on the right track.
  7. Offer incentives to get people voting. Perhaps a free pen or a pint from the SU bar if they pledge to vote for you, or perhaps a cheeky £20 skimmed from one of your trust funds. Or, if we’re thinking more immediate, you could promise to simply stop harassing them and let them get to the lecture they’re already late for!
  8. Help voters navigate the voting process. This may include helping them find the right website, or even physically helping them vote by kindly filling in their online ballot for them. Best to get in there before they’ve had a chance to realise they even need the help. Technology is complicated!

If you’re interested in running for a position in the SU (maybe not using these tips), you can find out more here.

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