Back in March of last Year I stood for election at the University of Strathclyde Student’s Association for the position of VP Equality & Diversity. Let me tell you it’s one of the best things I have ever done so far.
Taking a year out of your degree can be tricky sometimes. If you do it during your degree there’s the fact that all your friends in that current year are going to graduate a year ahead of you and you’ll be back in the same position as you were in first year for many but don’t let anything like that put you off.
Standing for election is tough, you need to speak to people constantly, let them know what you want to do and how it could benefit not only them but the wider student body.
Here’s a few tips:
1. Make sure you believe what you are saying. If you don’t then why is anyone going to vote for you? To have conviction and the confidence to say ‘I want to do X because of A, B and C’ is one of the hardest things ever but the reward you can get from people agreeing with you because it’s a good idea is a fantastic feeling in itself.
2. Get a good team behind you. Support is paramount for any candidate running in any election whether its a Students Union election or for Parliament. if you don’t have the support of your friends behind you then how can you get the support of the student electorate. Ask your friends if they are willing to help, even if its sending out mass texts when the time comes or speaking to people on their own courses they can help you promote yourself to the student body.
3. Be Organised. There’s nothing worse running about like a headless chicken not knowing what to do, who should be where and when people are available. If you have a team try and make sure that you’ve got all their availabilities, who wants to do what ie lecture hits, leafleting, halls etc. Play to your strengths more than anything else and use all the talent you have available to you. Don’t get stressed out, its supposed to be fun!!
4. Have fun!! This has got to be the most important part of the entire experience. Win or lose, you should be enjoying the excitement of it all. There may well be times when you feel a little down but don’t fret, it happens to absolutely everyone at somepoint
5. Try to ignore the ‘tensions’. At election time tensions can be a bit higher than usual. just remember that if you have something worth standing for then go for it. Students will judge you on your merit and what you are going to do for them.
6. The outcome. You need to face the fact that as it’s an election you will either win or lose. That’s the nature of the beast I’m afraid. However, if you have done your utmost, worked really hard and couldn’t do anything more then I’d say you are a winner. You’ve been part of a process that happens once a year and you were brave enough to put yourself forward to lead your peers. On election night, regardless of the result, ensure that you are gracious whether you win or lose. No one likes a sore loser and no one likes someone who changes as soon as they have won.
These are only just a few hints and tips as to how you could run your campaign and why you should run in general. If you really believe that you are good enough and can make a difference, then I’d say go for it. You may never get this chance again.
It is one of the best and most rewarding experiences out there. Like everything, it has its ups and its downs and that’s just like anything else you may do. The change that I have been able to be a part of so far this year has been fantastic. Helping students out and ensuring that their experience at Strathclyde improves year on year.
So know that you have sat through all that. What are you waiting for? Go get a nomination form and run!! You can see all the positions here at http://www.strathstudents.com/node/3359