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 SU ELECTIONS Will you run?

  TOGHCHÁIN CML An rachaidh tú san iomaíocht?

SU Elections 2019 / Toghcháin 2019


✓President ✓Vice President/Education Officer ✓Vice President / Welfare and Equality Officer

Nominations Open: Nominations Close: Election Day:

10:00am Thursday 14th February 2019 5:00pm Thursday 21st February 2019 Thursday 7th March 2019



✓Uachtarán ✓Leas-Uachtarán / An tOifigeach Oideachais ✓Leas Uachtarán / an tOifigeach Leasa agus Comhionannais

Osclófar Ainmniúcháin: Dúnfar Ainmniúcháin: Lá an Toghcháin:

10:00rn Déardaoin, an 14 Feabhra 2019 5:00in Déardaoin, an 21 Feabhra 2019 Déardaoin, an 7 Márta 2019



The deadline for submission of nominations is very strict so make sure you submit your nomination as soon as you have your form completed.

Contents / Clár na NÁbhar

What’s it All About?........................................................................... 4 Céard atá i gceist leis? Students’ Union Full Time Positions........................................... Toghchán na nOifigeach Lánaimseartha


Why Should You Run?....................................................................... 12 Cén fáth ar chóir duit dul san iomaíocht? How Do You Run? ............................................................................ 13 Cén chaoi ar féidir leat dul san iomaíocht?

Running A Campaign ........................................................................ 14-15 Feachtas a rith Busting The Myths ............................................................................ 16-17 Na scéalta gan bhunús a dhíbirt The Rules ............................................................................................ 18 Na rialacha Voting Information ........................................................................... 19 Faisnéis vótála Election Statistics ............................................................................. Staitisticí maidir le toghcháin


What’s it all about? The Students’ Union is an independent body whose function is to represent its members and promote, defend and vindicate their rights in the University and elsewhere. Every student, on payment of the student levy, is automatically a member of the Students’ Union. As a result you are entitled to avail of all the Union’s services. Those services range from advice on welfare and education to the Students’ Union Shop and the College Bar. In addition to those services, the Students’ Union represents you on all university committees. It also works with the university to ensure your voice is heard and that any concerns you have are raised. Students’ Union officers advise, lobby and speak on your behalf from orientation through to graduation. The Executive is made up of three full-time officers and a number of part-time officers who are nominated and elected each year by you, the members. The Executive is made up of fifteen officers who are nominated and elected each year by you, the members. The Students’ Union Executive is responsible for providing you with information and advice covering the whole spectrum of student life from academic issues to issues regarding accommodation and equality.



“The mission of the Union shall be to represent its members and promote, defend and vindicate the rights of its members at all levels of society. ”




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Students’ Union Full-Time Positions There are three full-time officers of the Students’ Union 1. The President 2. The Vice-President / Education Officer 3. The Vice President Welfare and Equality Officer Full-Time Officers work full-time and take sabbatical leave from their studies if they have not completed their course. They are paid an annual salary of €24,000 (gross) and work full-time hours. Full-Time Officers are required to be Garda vetted.

What do the officers do? The responsibilities of each officer are outlined in the Students’ Union Constitution.


Students’ Union Officer Positions STUDENTS’ UNION CONSTITUTION

President i.

S/He shall act as Chairperson and shall have responsibility to uphold this Constitution and the terms of reference of all Union companies.


S/He shall be responsible for liaising with the appropriate staff members of the Union, the Union’s companies and with University management.


S/He shall have responsibility for the day to day finances of the Union in conjunction with the senior staff member and shall report to the Finance Committee on those issues.


S/He shall also be responsible for ultimate coordination of Students’ Union campaigns


S/He shall be required to act as a member of the Boards of Directors of companies owned by or related to the Union.


S/He will represent Union members on University committees.


S/He shall be the Chief Executive Officer and chief spokesperson of the Union.


S/He shall be the principal delegate to the National Council and Annual Congress of the Union of Students in Ireland.


S/He shall also be required to give a mandatory report on work carried out at each Executive meeting.

 8

The President co-ordinates the activities of the Students’ Union and works with University Management to achieve the best academic environment and quality of life for NUI Galway students. The President is responsible for the Union’s finances, co-ordination of Union campaigns and acts as the chief spokesperson of the Union. The President sits on a wide range of university committees including Údarás na hOllscoile, Finance Resource Committee and Standing & Strategic Planning Committee. The President is also appointed to the boards of the following companies for the duration of their term: •

Students’ Union Commercial Services Ltd: A company owned by the Students’ Union which manages Sult, Students’ Union Shop, Smokey’s Café, The Hub Café, The Wall Café and Caife na Gaeilge.

Seirbhísí Comhaltas na Mac Léinn Teo: A company owned by the Students’ Union responsible for producing Students’ Union publications.

College Campus Radio Ltd: A company responsible for Flirt FM

Cumann Céimithe na Gaillimhe Aonad Sláinte do Mhic Léinn Teo: A company responsible for managing the Student Health Unit.

SCML Teoranta: A company owned by the Students’ Union to manage any commercial arrangements which may arise.

 9

Students’ Union Officer Positions


Vice President / Welfare and Equality Officer 1.

2. 3. 4. 5.

Shall have responsibility for providing information and educating the general student body on welfare and equality issues and to this end shall initiate campaigns on relevant and pressing Welfare and Equality issues, in collaboration with relevant officers. Shall also provide a confidential listening and referral service for members of the Union Shall represent members on various University committees. Shall also organise and chair the Welfare Forum. Shall also be required to give a mandatory report on work carried out at each Executive meeting. The Welfare and Equality Officer’s actions will be informed by the 9 Equality Grounds, being:

 6.

i. ii. iii. iv. v.

Gender Civil status Family status Sexual orientation Religion

vi. vii. viii. ix.

Age Disability Race Membership of the Traveller community

The Welfare and Equality Officer assists students with problems in areas of accommodation, childcare, study, health, finances and social welfare. He / She works closely with on-campus accommodation companies and residents associations. He / She sits on a wide range of university committees including Safety Committee, Discipline Committee and the University Centre Planning & Management Group. The Welfare and Equality Officer also organises the Welfare Forum and a variety of high profile campaigns such as Mental Health Week and SHAG Week. Dealing with individual student queries is a large part of the Welfare Officer’s job. The Vice President / Welfare and Equality Officer sits on the following committees: • Discipline Committee • Financial Aid Fund Allocation Committee • Health Unit Board of Directors • Crèche Committee 10


Vice President / Education Officer i.

S/He shall have ultimate responsibility for the coordination of the CRC in conjunction with the relevant staff members.


S/He shall provide a confidential listening and referral service for all Union members.


S/He shall represent members on various University committees.


S/He also has responsibility for keeping the Executive and general student body informed on relevant educational issues.


S/He shall be responsible for dealing with individual requests from students.


S/He shall also organise and chair the Education Forum.


S/He shall also be required to give a mandatory report on work carried out at each Executive meeting.

The Education Officer assists students in areas such as grants, exams, the library and computer facilities. He / She works with University Management to improve academic services for students. He / She sits on a variety of university committees including Academic Council, Academic Standing Committee, Discipline Committee and Academic Planning Resource Committee. The Education Officer also co-ordinates the SU Council and organises the Education Forum. Dealing with individual student queries is a large part of the Education Officer’s job. This year, the Education Officer also plays a central role in implementing NSTEP, the National Student Engagement Programme. • • • •

The Vice President / Education Officer sits on the following committees: Academic Council Exam Appeals Committee Library Committee 11

Why Should You Run? You will directly impact on the student experience The Students’ Union has a huge impact on the lives of students. Whether it’s fighting for longer library hours over Easter so that you can complete that all important dissertation, or being part of a national campaign for student rights – as a Students’ Union Officer you have the ability to greatly affect the lives of students. You will help fight for thousands of students One of your most important roles will be to represent students. From diverse issues such as learning & teaching, to students being treated as equal citizens in the community, you will ensure that the student voice is heard loud and clear.

You will be a leader of a unique organisation As a Student Leader you will be one of the fifteen people responsible for leading the Students’ Union. You will have the opportunity to shape the direction and work of an organisation in a way you may never have again. Complete with professional staff to support you, you have a great opportunity to make some big changes. Employability and Experience Being involved in the management of an organisation with over 16,000 members before you leave college puts you in a great position. You will develop skills in leadership and organisation and learn about finances, democracy, education, event management and a whole host of other skills. From negotiating agreements with the University to giving presentations to thousands of students; from leading campaigns to create positive change, to working as part of a team of leaders; these are skills which will help you out in the incredibly tough job-market and make you stand out from the crowd. The roles are really what you make of them; if you are elected you get the chance to make the role your own. No matter which role you go for, you’ll gain experience of chairing meetings, leading campaigns, managing budgets, communicating and team building. 12

How Do You Run? Eligibility Are you a registered student and have you paid the student levy? If you can answer yes (and chances are you can!) then that’s it. You are eligible to seek nomination. Choosing a Position The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to run for a full-time or parttime position. A full time position means you’ll have to take a year out from your studies if you are not due to finish this summer. However, part-time positions are flexible and can fit around your studies.

Secondly, take a look at each role and the full job description. All positions offer varied responsibilities and experience. Think about the skills you might have that would make you a good candidate for a position. Talk to the current officers about their experiences in the role and what they have experienced. Nominating yourself To nominate yourself, you must complete a nomination form with the details and signatures of at least 20 members of the Students’ Union. Nomination forms are available from the Students’ Union office and Students’ Union website. Completed nomination forms must be returned to the Students’ Union office before the close of nominations. The deadline is very strict! Don’t leave it until the last minute. Submit your nomination form as soon as you have it completed and spend time planning your campaign. Remember to get a few extra people to sign your nomination form to allow for any mistakes. Students can nominate as many candidates as they wish. In addition to submitting your nomination form, you are also required to submit a picture of yourself for the ballot paper. It’s a good idea to use the same picture that you will use on your posters. The picture must be of you! Animations or logos will not be accepted. 13

Running a Campaign

To be successful in an election you will need to convince the electorate that you are the best person for the job, and that you understand students and will represent them on issues that matter to them. The election campaign begins at 6:00pm on the Sunday before the election. That gives you Sunday evening and three full days before Election Day. Remember, all registered students are entitled to vote, so canvass everybody! Here are a few things to consider for your campaign: Campaign Team To run a good campaign it is advisable that you get a team together to support you. Your team will provide valuable support to you during the election week. Ask your friends to give you a few hours support and arrange times that suit them. Some people might not want to help with canvassing, but they might be able to help with postering. Get whatever help you can! The more people you can communicate with, the better chance you will have. Ask one of your friends to be your Campaign Manager. It will be their job to handle logistics and manage your campaign team.

Manifesto Your manifesto outlines your policies, plans and ideas for what you would do if elected. Talk to your friends and classmates about what they would like to see the Students’ Union do. Think about what your plans and how you would go about implementing them. You don’t need to think of all the details, but it’s probably best to avoid promising everything without having some thought behind your ideas. Don’t let anybody talk you out of an idea that you think is worthwhile and doable. Your manifesto should be exciting and should set your goals for the year, not your first day. Above all, make sure your manifesto is relevant to students. Your manifesto should also include something about yourself and why you are the best person for the position you are seeking. Include a photo so people know who you are. For consistency, it is a good idea to use the same photo that will appear on the ballot paper. Speak to Students Talking to students is the number one method for convincing them to vote for you. Posters, flyers. T-Shirts and gimmicks will only do so much. You need to get out and canvass voters. Most election candidates will tell you it’s the hardest part of an election, but it’s also the most important part. Take some time to think about what you want to say to voters. The most obvious question you’ll be asked is why anybody should vote for you, so make sure you have an answer ready. 14

Talking to students does not mean shoving a flyer in their face: it means dialogue, asking questions and communicating your policies and ideas. Don’t forget to balance the need to engage with the need to be efficient – you will need to reach a lot of people in a short space of time. This is where slogans can come in handy, especially if it jogs someone’s memory when they are looking down a long list of names on a ballot paper. Lecture shout outs are also a great idea for speaking to a lot of students, but you will need the lecturer’s permission first. Students want to know what you plan to do and how it will affect them. Simply saying “vote for me” is not enough. You need to say why. Referring to something you are already doing (before you’ve even been elected) or something you have already done is a great way to show that you mean what you say. Posters, leaflets and other promotional material Make sure your promotional material is eye-catching and gives a clear message to students. Check that there are no spelling or grammatical errors and that your name appears clearly! It sounds obvious, but be sure to factor in some time to get feedback (and free proof reading!) from your friends.

T-Shirts are always very popular, especially during full-time elections. Be realistic when ordering T-Shirts. Count how many people you actually have on your campaign team and avoid overbuying. Remember that T-Shirts are only effective when they’re seen, so try to recycle them amongst your campaign team and friends who are actually on campus during election week. You can make your own T-Shirts very cheaply, or you can have them professionally printed. Advertees is a local T-Shirt printing company who support many students’ union activities with great deals. Check out www. tees. ie Social media and websites are also great promotional tools and unlike postering and flyers, websites and social media pages are permitted to go live before the start of the campaign. Just remember not to overdo it. It’s very easy to bombard people, especially on social media, which might lose you more votes than you gain. Talk to SU Officers If you are considering running for a position why not talk to the current officer? They can provide insight in to the job and answer some questions you might have. Think Outside the Box Every campaign is different and every candidate is unique. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try something that will help your campaign stand out. This could be anything from a campaign video to something novel which hasn’t been tried before. 15

Busting the Myths! Most students avail of, or benefit from, a Students’ Union service every day. Whether it’s having a pint in Sult or getting help appealing an exam result, the Students’ Union plays a bigger part in students’ lives than most students realise. However, many students are not aware that the Students’ Union is a democratic organisation and that it is run by ordinary students who are elected each year. Here are a few myths and misconceptions about running in an election and being a Students’ Union Officer. “You need to have been involved in the Students’ Union before you can run in an election” No you don’t! Many Students’ Union officers’ election campaign is their first involvement in the Students’ Union. Full training and handover is provided to ensure you get up to speed before you start.

“I’m not popular enough to win” It is not about popularity! The campaign begins at 6:00pm on Sunday evening and the election takes place on Thursday. That gives plenty of time to knock on doors, go table to table in the canteen and Sult and talk to thousands of students. Add in a few hours from your friends to hang posters and you will be as well-known as any other candidate. Hard work trumps popularity in any election. “You have to spend a fortune on a campaign” Not true! The electorate will respond better to honest hard work than ostentatious gestures. Most candidates print posters and flyers, and with a little time spent contacting printers, you’ll be surprised what you can get for your money. Use your materials wisely and you will keep your costs to a minimum. Think about what clubs and societies do on societies day. A few packs of cheap lollies can go a long way to breaking the ice with potential voters. “My class are on work experience, so they won’t be able to vote for me” Remote Vote is a system that allows students to vote online during normal polling hours. There’s only one requirement – students must register to use Remote Vote in the days leading up to the election. Once registered, students can vote online from anywhere during polling hours. It’s ridiculously easy to do and it means everybody can vote.


“Students’ Union Officers can’t achieve anything in a year” Officers can definitely achieve considerable success within a year – whether it’s lobbying the University for improved services or organising major events, their influence can be felt throughout all aspects of university life. Of course there are some things that you may not fully achieve within your term, but that doesn’t mean they cease to exist! “The election is a gruelling slog” Election week is four and a half days of campaigning. The week will see you meeting students, giving lecturer shootouts and more. While it is a busy time it is also very exciting and there is still time for sleep, food and breaks from the campaign. “I’m not an experienced campaigner” By the end of day one every candidate is an experienced campaigner! Students want to meet someone who they want to be their student representative and give far more thought to who someone is and what policies they have then how firmly someone can give a handshake! “Other candidates have an unfair advantage” Elections are run in good faith and often opposing campaigns share a laugh during the election week, however to ensure that everyone is treated fairly The election is overseen by an Electoral Commission which ensures that each candidate plays by the rules.


The Rules The rules governing elections are outlined in Schedule 1 of the Students’ Union Constitution. The main rules regarding publicity are contained in Schedule 1, Section G. A copy of the Students’ Union Constitution is available on the Students’ Union website. If you’re not sure whether something is permitted or not, just ask. Contact elections@su. nuigalway. ie


Section G:

Publicity in connection with Elections and By-Elections 1.

Sponsorship or endorsement by a commercial entity is not permitted in any form. Sponsorship or endorsement includes, but is not limited to: • Branding, names or logos appearing on promotional material or t-shirts. • Gifts, vouchers or passes for commercial entities.


A candidate shall not distribute, nor cause to have distributed, any promotional material until 6:00pm on the Sunday before the election. Lecture Addresses are also prohibited until that time.


Each candidate, or their nominee, must attend a daily meeting with the Elections Committee during election week.


Any candidate who does not comply with the provisions of this Section of the Constitution shall be deemed ineligible for election to any post on the Executive Committee of the Union for that set of elections.


The Elections Committee will interpret the Election Regulations as they see fit and the decision of the Elections Committee is final.


Voting Students can vote in person at a Polling Station, or electronically by using Remote Vote. Polling stations and opening times of specific stations will be advertised by the Students’ Union in advance of the election. To vote at a polling station, a student needs to present their NUI Galway ID. No other form of identification will suffice. Polling hours are 10:00am—8:00pm. Remote Vote Remote Vote is a facility to allow students to vote online. It’s particularly useful for students on satellite campuses like An Ceathrú Rua or Shannon, and students on work placement. The system is accessed via the Students’ Union website and is easy, secure and confidential. Students simply log in using their campus account. The only requirement is students must register to use Remote Vote before Election Day.

If students do not register in advance, they will not be able to use the Remote Vote facility. Students’ Union elections are conducted under the Single Transferable Vote Proportional Representation System (Electoral Act of Ireland 1923, Amendment Act 1963).


Full-Time Election Statistics Turnout 2009-2018 Full-Time Officer Elections Turnout 4,000










2,000 Turnout

2009 2,311

2010 2,925

2011 3,372

2012 3,168

2013 3,702

2014 3,362

2015 2,733

2016 2,531

2017 3,467

Average Number of Votes Per Hour Average Number of Votes Per Hour 600






0 10:00am 11:00am

11:00am 12:00pm

12:00pm 1:00pm

1:00pm - 2:00pm 2:00pm - 3:00pm 3:00pm - 4:00pm 4:00pm - 5:00pm 5:00pm - 6:00pm 6:00pm - 7:00pm 7:00pm - 8:00pm


2018 3,078


3,065 2,005

Average turnout in Full-Time Elections

Highest number of first preferences received by a single candidate – President 2016


Amount of first preference votes between first and second candidates – VP Education 2014

61 316 269

Average number of votes cast in final hour of elections

Average number of votes cast using Remote Vote

Average number of votes cast in first hour of polling


Results 2018

Uachtarán / President Quota: 1,525 1st Count

Reilly, Megan Molony, John Mac Suibhne, Fiachra Ravichandran, Aswin RON

1,606 618 596 214 15

Leas Uachtarán / Oifigeach Leasa Quota 1,499

 1st Count

Courtney, Louis O’Shaughnessy, Cian Koennecker, Stephanie RON

1,560 1,133 244 60

Leas Uachtarán / Oifigeach Leasa agus Comhionnais Quota 1,488 1st Count 2nd Count 3rd Count

Austick, Clare Feeney, Georgia Fallon, Aisling O’Connell, Colman RON

1,328 901 512 212 22


1,383 966 557

1,645 1,163


 23




Will you run?

An rachaidh tú san iomaíocht?

SU Elections 2019 / Toghcháin CML 2019  

A guide to SU Full-Time Officer Elections in NUI Galway Students' Union

SU Elections 2019 / Toghcháin CML 2019  

A guide to SU Full-Time Officer Elections in NUI Galway Students' Union