I want to lead my union

What’s the difference between a Full-Time Officer and a Part-Time Officer?

Full-Time Officers (known as FTOs), are students who have been elected into full-time, paid roles - our President and five Vice-Presidents. These students have either suspended or just finished their studies - they lead the union and represent the student body across the university, locally, and nationally. Find out more about the FTO roles!


Part-Time Officers (known as PTOs), are student volunteers who have been elected to lead the union’s Liberation and Campaign groups while continuing with their studies. Find out more about the PTO roles!


What are the hours like?


FTOs are ordinarily contracted to work 36.5 hours a week, with flexible working options available should you have caring responsibilities and/or access needs.

PTOs are given a guideline of 5-10 hours a week, with an absolute maximum of 15 hours. These can also be worked flexibly.


Isn’t it all just a popularity contest anyway?


Not necessarily! The union uses a single transferrable voting (STV) system, explained below, to offer students the biggest possible say in who leads them.

In fact, many candidates from previous years found running and campaigning in itself to be a valuable experience - regardless of the outcome. Read our top reasons for running in an election!


What’s so different about the single transferrable voting system?


Through the STV system, each candidate can give themselves the best possible chance by encouraging voters to allocate them a preference, even if the voter has already allocated their first choice to a rival candidate.

The system works like this:

  • Instead of only choosing one person, voters allocate preferences to candidates: first choice, second choice, and so on. Voters can choose to allocate a preference to one, a few, or all candidates - so remember to ask students to vote for you as their second or third choice as an alternative!
  • When voting closes, the first preference votes are counted for each candidate. The candidate with the fewest first preferences is knocked out each voter who allocated this candidate first preference, then has their vote transferred to their second preference.
  • The process continues, with votes transferred until a winner is decided.

Still scratching your head? Try watching our STV video!


I’ve never run in an election before - can I still run?


Of course! You can attend one (or all!) of our Candidate Academies to help you write your manifesto and begin planning your campaign. After nominations close, all confirmed candidates will be invited to a briefing.

Successful candidates will receive full training upon beginning their term, and will be supported over the year by union staff.


I’m an international student- can I still run?


Absolutely! Any student can hold a PTO role as long as they are still studying upon beginning their term in the next academic year.

For FTOs, the union can support you in applying for a visa if needed. For more information on visa considerations, click here. You can also contact The Base for further visa advice.


I’m not in my final year- can I still run?


Yes! PTOs hold their roles while studying; if you are an undergraduate student running for an FTO position, you can contact your department about applying for intercalation. This would involve suspending your studies for one academic year. 


What if I’m a postgraduate (PG)/PhD student?


PG taught students can either intercalate, or complete your studies while holding office. The union can offer flexibility in your hours and duties between July and September, to support you in completing your dissertation.

PG research, and PhD, students can apply to suspend their research for one year, at the discretion of their supervisor and/or sponsor.

For help in approaching your supervisor, you can consult the union’s Advice Service at advice@lancastersu.co.uk.


What’s in it for me?


FTO and PTO roles both offer an opportunity to pick up unique skills and experience very early in your career, which may otherwise take years achieve.

FTOs act as directors and trustees of an £8million charity, and develop skills in project management, budget management, volunteer management, and lobbying educational and political institutions for change.  

Meanwhile, PTOs receive bespoke training in budget and events management, while developing skills in volunteer management and planning and executing campaigns for change within their communities.

Find out more


I’m sold! What do I do next?


Fantastic! The first thing you need to complete your nomination is your manifesto. Head over to www.lancastersu.co.uk/elections for more information, or email elections@lancastersu.co.uk!

The second thing to do is note key dates for 2020:

  • Nominations open: Tuesday February 11, 10am – Thursday February 20, noon
  • All-candidate briefing: Thursday February 20, 6pm
  • Campaigning begins: Monday February 24, 10am
  • Voting opens: Wednesday March 4, 10am
  • Hustings: Monday March 2, 7pm
  • Voting closes: Friday March 6, 4pm
  • Results: Friday March 6, 7pm