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Student Unions in the UK universities: it’s the election time!

Now is the elections period, where students campaign to become the people to lead the Students’ Union for the next academic year. Every conceivable surface becomes somewhere to campaign which results in a poster explosion. For an international student walking onto campus on their first day, the campaign is a confusing time.

Almost all universities in the UK will have an active student union. A student union is an organisation which represents the views and concerns of the students of that university. Every year students are elected by other students to the top positions at these unions. All students are automatically members of their university’s union. The task of the union is to raise money for various causes, organise events and push the university administration to improve what the student body wants to improve be it housing, food or anything else. It is always a good idea to take part in the campaigns and to stand for election; if successful it can be an efficient entry point into a political career!

Banners crafted from old bed sheets hang from buildings and swarms of students run around in brightly coloured t-shirts. They approach everyone that passes asking to vote for them. You might think that going home might get you away from the commotion, but people running for positions often campaign door-to-door, especially if you are living in a college. Social media sites are filled up with campaign statuses, pages, manifestos, cover photos, and videos, as candidates do anything and everything they can to reach as many students as possible.

There is fun to be found during the elections. Besides fresher's week, this is probably the best time to get involved in a society as they will be welcoming everyone with open arms in the hope of securing your vote. Many universities create a ‘lipdub’ during elections where they get as many students as possible involved in miming a song, which usually has some funny results and produces YouTube worthy material!

Good luck in all your campaigns!

Source: Howell Davies, the Independent

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