6th November 2023
If you are not a first-year student, I am sure you will know that every year, 15 or so students put themselves forward to the wider student body to run for the Guild Election. They are all going for the coveted Guild President position, along with three Student Officer roles. The process begins in January with the nominations and runs until the voting week, in March.
This year is no different. We have 13 hopefuls, from a variety of different year groups and backgrounds. The Candidates will have spent the past few weeks gathering support, cultivating online personalities to reach fellow students and putting up posters around the Guild to get some facial recognition. Most importantly, they will have been honing their manifestos – their collection of promises and policies to woo votes to their side. This has all been in preparation for the week beginning the 20th of March when the voting opens. Voting can be done through the Guild website, where you will need to log in and then cast your vote. It literally takes 30 seconds.
Voting for the candidates runs all week, with the online portal closing this Friday (the 24th of March) at 2pm. This means that all week, you will see a barrage of social media posts, posters and appearances in your lectures from those who are running, and possibly those who are helping with their campaigns- all in an attempt to win you over. This may sound like an annoying occurrence, but there are many reasons why you should at least give a little time to review the candidates.
Modern universities are huge institutions. Nearly 30,000 students study at the University of Liverpool, from undergrads to summer school students, and post-grads to international students. This swathe of people means that it is difficult for everybody’s needs to be addressed- the sheer diversity that is seen in Liverpool means that the University simply cannot consult all of us on its decisions. That is why it is important to make your voice heard with who you choose for your Student Officers.
The Student Officers will act on our behalf to negotiate, liaise and correspond with the University. By taking 30 seconds to vote, you can decide who you would like to do this for you, meaning the decisions can be guided in a way that the majority of students prefer. It is common to feel like your voice is being drowned out among all the others, but the Officers act like a connection between you and the University. This personal connection means that more complex issues can be properly heard, and the University team can be held accountable.
Have you ever missed the last 699 back to Smithdown? Been unhappy with the way the University has dealt with your issues? Or perhaps you have used another gym because it is cheaper than the Uni one, even though it is further away? These are all issues that candidates hope to improve upon this year, and have been mentioned as problems in several manifestos. These are real changes that you can affect.
By choosing the Candidate that is campaigning on the issues that are closest to you, you can help improve upon your own experience while studying. These Officers will fight your corner and help deliver key policy, decision-making, and accountability processes within the University. Even if their manifesto promises to deal with an issue that has not personally happened to you, I am sure you agree that by championing issues that only some experience, we can make the University of Liverpool a more accommodating, safer and enjoyable place for all to grow.
The best part of this is that this direct ability, that you hold, to choose the policies that you agree with most only takes 30 seconds of your time!
Ultimately, every student is paying a fair amount of money to be at University. You pay for your education, to join groups, for transport and for drinks or burritos at the Guild. This means that you should get the best value for your money. By paying this, you qualify for a vote in this election. Although it is very unlikely that anyone is going to the University of Liverpool just to choose its Student Officers, this benefit is still part of the package. You deserve to exercise this right to vote, and by using it to direct the University in a positive way for you, you get better value for your money while studying here.
It is also important to consider that the Student Officer is a paid role. The chosen candidates are funded by the Guild, and each receives a salary of over £22,000 a year. Every meal deal, Guild hoodie, event ticket and pint that you buy contributes towards their salary. Although the student community is not their only source of funds, we contribute to the payment of these people who represent us, so why would you not want a say in who this is? After all, it only takes 30 seconds to do.
The role of a Student Officer is important. They serve our interests, improve our experiences, and help represent us while we are studying at University. I hope that I have convinced you to take a look at the manifestos of the candidates, have a think, and cast your vote to help steer the future direction of the University.
If you wanted to read more about the manifestos this year, check here.
You can also check out the interviews that I did with the candidates – find out who is running (again?), who has a Taekwon-Do black belt, who will grab a Carling from the Guild the moment they win, and who compares themselves to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi! This can be found here.