So, the elections for the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union were held last week. I didn’t mention it before because I didn’t think it was appropriate to use my blog for self-promotion, but I actually decided to throw my hat in the ring this year! I ran for Arts and Science representative, one of six positions of its kind. It was a great experience, and if any of you are thinking about running for student government (or just want to know more about it), here’s what you can expect…
First, you need a reason to run for student office. Want to get involved in Students’ Union (SU) decisions? Have some ideas for how the school can be improved? You need to come up with a platform – a series of ideas and campaign promises that will define you as a candidate.
The nomination process doesn’t take long at all. You pick up some forms from the SU office, and you need to find about a dozen students to put their signatures and student numbers to paper, saying they support you running as a candidate. Hit up your classmates, friends, and maybe some of their friends, and you’re golden. Then you just need to get statements of good academic and financial standing from the Registrar’s Office and Cash Office (respectively). That and a modest deposit, and you’re in the running!
Next comes campaigning. There are several rules that each candidate must follow, including the dates you can campaign, where you can put your posters, etc. Breaking any one of those rules can result in monetary fines, coming out of your pocket! So know the rules and be careful not to break them. One of the most important things you can do with your campaign is to have an effective set of posters; successful candidates often use humour, and it’s also important to have a brief outline of what you stand for (three or four lines; point form works best).
Other aspects of campaigning include getting the word out online (through Facebook and other social media), and talking to students in person. You will also be expected to give a brief speech, but it’s actually a lot less intimidating than you think. I’m excited to say that my run was a success, and I’ll be serving as an Arts and Science rep. next year.
Not a lot of people ran this year. In fact, a lot of positions were uncontested. So if running for student government is something that interests you, you should totally go for it. In the mean time, you can get involved by volunteering on campus, getting involved in campus clubs, and staying informed as to SU goings-ons. All of these things will help make you a qualified candidate for next year’s elections!
P.S. There were even a few positions that were not filled this year, and will be decided at a by-election in the Fall. That could be your chance to get your foot in the door! Find out more information at ulsu.ca.