Frequently Asked Questions

Can I run in an election if I am an international student?

International students are able to be Sabbatical Trustees. However, there are immigration implications that you should be aware of.

You can find a lot of really useful information from The UK Council for International Student Affairs here:

You should also contact Student Immigration for personalised guidance:

When do elections happen?

Nominations are open from 00:00 Monday 1st Week Hilary (18th January) and close exactly two weeks later at 00:00 Monday 3rd Week Hilary (1st February).

At 17:00 that Monday 3rd week Hilary (1st February) we’ll have a candidate briefing where we’ll give you any additional information you might need.

You’ll then have until midday Thursday 3rd Week Hilary (4th February) to finish your manifestos and get all your campaign materials together.  You need to send your manifesto to They will be released the next day and this will mark the beginning of campaigning.

The hustings will happen on Monday 4th Week Hilary (8th February).

Voting opens to all student members at 08:00 Tuesday 4th Week Hilary (9th February) and closes 18:00 Thursday 4th Week Hilary (11th February).

The results will be announced at our results party 21:00 on Thursday 4th week (11th February) night.

What is a manifesto?

A manifesto is a document stating why you should be elected, and should you be elected, what you’ll do. PDF is the best format to have your manifesto in. You must also note at the bottom of the document the names of anyone who assisted you making the design. You can make your manifesto look as simple or fancy as you like but remember, what you promise to do on your manifesto will be the standard the student body judges you against should you win! You can promise the impossible but be prepared to be expected to deliver it.

Who oversees the elections?

The Returning Officer oversees the running of the election and ensures it is fair and properly carried out. They are a student member elected by Student Council every 7th Week to serve for a single academic term.

I will still have educational commitments from my current course after the start of the Sabbatical position. Can I still run?

Yes, you can still run! Oxford SU commits to supporting you during this period of time, allowing you to prioritise and complete your studies within the set time frame. Oxford SU will work with you to ensure that along with this, you are able to fulfil the responsibilities that come with being an elected role but without them having an impact on your studies.

What if I can't stand or vote in an election?

There are a couple of possibilities:

  1. You aren’t considered a Student Member. We define Student Members as those fitting the description outline in Statute II of the University’s Statutes. Rule of thumb; if you matriculated you’re a Student Member, if you didn’t you probably aren’t.

  2. You Opted out. When you register for the university you have the option to opt out of Student Union membership. To opt back in go to the university Student Self Service at click ‘My Student Record’ tab then ‘Additional Information’.

  3. If neither of the above apply to you please email for more information.

Can I stand for more than one position?

You can nominate yourself for any position which you are eligible to run for but you cannot be a candidate for more than one Student Trustee or Sabbatical Trustee position. However, you can run to be a Delegate and a Trustee (student or sabbatical).

How does campaigning work?

Campaigning is anything you do to convince students to vote for you. This doesn’t just mean posting your manifesto online though! Often the most successful candidates take the time to speak and listen to the student body in order to understand the type of issues which they care about most. Novelty is the key to a good campaign, do something creative and unique to get attention for your campaign.

What support is available?

Oxford SU Student Advice are always on hand to provide non-directive advice around any issues you may face when running in the elections.

We will be running workshops on ‘A day in a life of a sabbatical officer’, ‘Becoming an effective Leader’, 'Running an effective campaign and how to win an election', 'Does Campaigning on Social Media Make a Difference?' and ‘What do Students want?’.

For serious issues which may require professional support you can contact the University’s Student Welfare and Support Services.

How does voting work?

We use a voting system called Single Transferrable Vote (STV) which allows you to rank the candidates in order of preference. During the count, if there is no clear winner, we eliminate candidates, round by round, with the lowest number of votes and distribute their surplus to the remaining candidates until someone reaches the quota to win.

Who is R.O.N.?

R.O.N stands for Re-Open Nominations. This is the candidate you rank when you wish none of the remaining candidates on the ballot to win. This is different to if you simply stop voting after you’ve ranked the candidates you like.

Does my vote count and make a difference?

Yes! The great thing about the STV voting system is that even when you believe your preferred candidate is unlikely to win or gets eliminated the rest of your rankings still count. So, every single vote counts towards either electing, or attempting to prevent electing, the winning candidate(s).

Do I have to be a final year to run?

No, you can be any year of study and run for a position. If you are running for a Sabbatical position though you will need to suspend your studies for one academic year.

What is a husting?

A husting is where candidates give speeches explaining why they think they should win the election and answer questions from the room. This event will be livestreamed but you need to come along if you’d like to ask questions.

What is a Trustee?

The Trustee Board is the governing body of the Charity.

The Trustees are responsible for making sure that the Students' Union is run effectively, complies with the law, has a strong strategic plan based on members' needs and is financially secure.

Authority is delegated to the Chief Executive to manage the day to day operations and it is the role of the Chief Executive to enact the strategy determined by the Trustees. The SU is run on a day to day basis by its staff, officers and volunteers directed by its members' needs.