officer blog


sophie atherton

campaigns & democracy

do you want to be an officer? #ueavotes

Nominations are LIVE!

As some of you may already know, nominations for the uea(su) officer elections are OFFICIALLY open! So, I thought it would be a great time to talk a bit about my role, as Campaigns and Democracy Officer, and to encourage you to consider nominating yourself for the role! Some of you may be aware that I’m in my second role as the Campaigns and Democracy Officer so there definitely will be a new person in this role next year.

Last year in my blog I wrote to encourage you to think about becoming an officer. I wrote about 8 reasons why I love my job and why you should consider nominating yourself for it. This year I want to speak a bit about the opportunities and manifesto pledges I’ve been able to meet, the things I didn’t know about beforehand which I’ve come to enjoy, and the various things that I look after in my remit.

Obviously my role says on the tin that I represent students, and fundamentally this is the one thing that continues to keep me feeling upbeat. When I look at the changes between my first and second year manifesto, I realise there aren’t major changes. It just becomes more focused with what I want to achieve and change for you!

So what have I managed to change?

Rents – last year, I worked with the previous Welfare, Community and Diversity officer on affordable rents. We got the university to commit to working towards the affordability factor.

We Will Be Heard – as an officer, I don’t work solely by myself. Last year the student officer committee worked together to produce our mental health and wellbeing manifesto. We have lobbied as a group to ensure that the university uses this document to improve wellbeing and mental health provision at university. This being overseen in the Mental Health Task Force.

Democracy Review – In my role, I get to choose projects I want to do in addition to what sits in my remit and what I have to oversee. Last year, I knew I wanted to undertake a review of our democratic processes. Whilst I am yet to change the structures; I have engaged students in focus groups and surveys. Additionally, I am preparing a preferendum to take place on different structure options in March!

What do I oversee and what does this mean?

  • Union democracy – the responsibility of democratic functionality within the SU… think Union Council and Student Officer Committee.
  • Union commercial Services – we are a commercial run union, reliant on making money to contribute to our charitable outcomes. These services are Scholars, Union, The Shop, the Bars and the LCR. I have responsibility to make sure they are working efficently.
  • Union communications – how we communicate with you all! I work with the marketing and communications team with the other full time officers to achieve this.

What committees do I sit on and what do they do?

  • University Council – the highest governing body in the University. Any new projects, mandatory reporting and approving of finances. Having a seat at this table is really important and you get to represent students at the highest level. Amongst the full time officers, we discuss who sits on what at the beginning of the year- who knows you could be a member of university council next yeat?!
  • SORC – Senior Officer Remuneration Committee – this looks at senior university staff pay including the Vice Chancellor.
  • SEC – Student Experience Committee – this discusses the student experience; we have written papers and discussed costs on campus, sport for postgraduate students as well as what our advice team are doing.
  • Arm Exec – Admissions, recruitment and marketing exec – this committee looks at the recruitment targets and how admissions is being done.
  • Sustainability Board – we discuss the environmental improvements of the university. There is a focus on how to enact the climate and biodiversity emergency preventions at the moment.

So, what next?

As you can see, being an Officer is a fantastic opportunity and I would love for you to think about nominating yourself to be either a full-time or part-time officer. Whether you are full-time or part-time you can really make a difference.  Remember, alongside this role there are also 4 other full-time roles and 15 part-time officer roles that are up for election. Click here to get some more information about each of these roles. Please drop me an email at or pop into the office to come and find me to talk more about the role!

For anyone who is thinking of nominating themselves here are some key dates to remember: 

  • Nominations open 13th January – NOW!
  • Nominations close 25th February
  • Candidate training to take place 27th – 3rd March
  • Campaign starts 4th March
  • Voting opens 9th March
  • Campaigning and voting close 12th March
  • Winners announced 12th March




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