The things you want to know


YUSU is a member-led organisation, which means that once a year students choose who they want to lead YUSU as Sabbatical Officers, Part-Time Officers and Faculty Representatives. Students can take part by nominating themselves as candidates, campaigning and voting in the elections.

They are an opportunity to contribute to the direction of your academic and social experience at York. Nominating yourself for a position gives you a chance to share your ideas with the whole student body, whilst voting allows you to have a say in who represents you as a York student - both locally and nationally.

With the situation changing all the time and with the nation currently under lockdown, we will be delivering an online election, this year.

Regardless of any restriction changes, we know there will still be students (and therefore candidates) self-isolating, shielding or feeling uncomfortable with physical activity. We cannot allow these factors to affect a candidate's ability to successfully campaign, as our Elections, as always, must give all candidates a fair and equal platform. Therefore candidate campaigning will be solely online. In terms of our Election events, if physical elements are possible there will always be an online alternative/solution for candidates who are unavailable or uncomfortable attending.

We have moved the Election timeline back to open nominations in Week 5, rather than Week 2 like last year. This was to allow students the headspace to deal with the academic and personal complications of the Government’s staggered return to physical teaching. National restrictions have now been put in place and the timeline of return to campus is uncertain. However we will still be starting the Election period in Week 5 to ensure we fulfill the important task of electing your new representatives by the end of Spring Term.


As well as meeting loads of cool people, running for a position and being an officer will help you develop a number of important skills that can enhance your employability and academic development.

Of course you can! If you get elected as a Faculty Rep or Part-Time Officer, you carry out your responsibilities alongside your studies in your second or third year. If you are elected as a Sabbatical Officer, the University lets you take a year out of your studies to work full-time!

Nope! Any Postgrad currently at the University can run for a position! However, Part-Time Officer positions and other non-sabbatical roles (Faculty Rep, Accountability and Scrutiny Chair and Trustees) require a continuous period of study throughout your time in office. This means you cannot stand as an Officer if you are moving from an Undergraduate course to a Masters course, or Masters course to PhD.

*Nearly* any position! Faculty Reps need to be studying in that Faculty and for some of the Part-Time Officer roles you need to identify as part of the Network you intend to represent (for example, you need to identify as LGBTQ to nominate yourself to be LGBTQ Officer). You can find the full eligibility details of each role on our Positions page. Be aware that you can only nominate yourself for one position!

Yes! You can run for any role as long as you are in York for the next academic year. If you get elected to a full-time Sabbatical role, you won’t need a new Visa. The University will sponsor your Tier 4 Visa, which allows you to work and undertake a full-time Sabbatical Officer post. You can do the role part way through your course or in the academic year directly after you finish.

No! People from all sorts of different backgrounds run in the elections. What matters most are your ideas for improving life for students. Whatever role you’re interested in, you will get training and support from staff at YUSU who will help develop your ideas and get the most out of your year.

Everybody feels like this, don’t worry! Every candidate gets a staff mentor and we’ll put on loads of training workshops for skills like public speaking and social media to help you run a great campaign. If you’re going for a PTO position, you can run as a pair with another student and share the role if you win!

You don’t have to spend a penny if you don’t want to and lots of people have won without spending much at all. However, we want to make sure that you’re not left out of pocket by the elections. There is a maximum budget of £20 (of which £20 is reimbursable) for Full-Time Officer candidates and £10 (of which £10 is reimbursable) for Part-Time Officer candidates and all other positions.

Candidates sometimes feel like they don’t know enough people to run, but we work hard to give everybody an equal platform to ensure students hear about you and understand your ideas. We publish your manifesto online, run engagement events, and student media groups will promote all candidates! You don’t have to lead a big Society or College to win!

Don’t worry! Concentrate on the issues that matter most to you and chat to current Officers or YUSU staff to explore how you could address them in your manifesto. Once you nominate yourself, you can attend workshops that help you to fine-tune your thoughts as you will be able to edit your nomination for a further week. These workshops include information on writing a manifesto where you can learn how best to present your ideas!

That’s fine! The most important thing you can do is get in touch with us to find out more information. You can arrange to chat to YUSU staff or one of the current Officers to learn more about their role. We also have workshops running from Week 3, which will be a blend of providing information about the roles and developing skills to help you during the election campaign and beyond!

Being a Sabbatical Officer is a full time job with a 35 hour per week contract. The PTOs, Faculty Rep, Student Trustee and Accountability and Scrutiny Chair roles are voluntary so the time commitments are less and much more flexible. We estimate the time commitment is around 5 hours a week for Faculty Reps during term time and about 5-10 hours for PTOs. But it is really up to you to manage your time and there will be busier periods like any voluntary role. Remember your degree does come first and we’ll be here to help you manage your work effectively.


STV is the method of voting used by YUSU and many other organisations to elect its leaders. Instead of only casting one vote (for your preferred candidate), STV enables you to ‘rank’ your preferred candidates so that when the candidate with the least votes is knocked out, the votes given to them transfer to people’s second preferences and so on, until one candidate is the winner!

Tactically only ranking your best mate as first preference will not necessarily put the other candidates at a disadvantage. A candidate can win not by having the most ‘first’ votes from their own supporters, but by being ranked highly among everybody’s preferences. This makes the election more democratic and representative. Only ranking your first preference also means that you throw away your wider say on who you’d rather win!

RON isn't a candidate – it stands for ‘Re-Open Nominations’. You are able to vote for RON on its own, or if you have voted for your preferred candidates and feel that the remaining candidates listed are not suitable for the position. Once you’ve voted for RON, you may continue ranking candidates if you still want a say in who gets elected. If RON is elected to a position then another election for that position will be held at a later date.

I have more questions!

If you have more questions, get in touch with us on [email protected]. If you think you’d be interested in being a candidate, we are happy to arrange a meeting with you to chat things through.

Nominations open Monday 8th February 9am (Week 5)