What are SU Officers responsible for?

1. The direction of a charity with over one million pound annual turnover

The Students’ Union is a registered charity and exists to makes students’ lives better at Bath, by offering services which include: representation (or Voice), support, development, student groups and entertainment.

2. Representing ovre 20,000 members to the University, as well as locally and nationally

SU Officers represent the concerns and views of individuals, groups or the whole student body on issues such as welfare, academic, social, inclusivity and financial. 

3. Members of the Students' Union Board of Trustees 

Along with external trustees, the SU Officers are members of the Students' Union's Board of Trustees and also have legal and financial responsibilities.

4. Developing the strategic direction of the Union 

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the broad direction of the Union and works with the Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and Head of Finance to ensure a successful long term approach to the running of the Union.  

I am an international student; can I run for post as a SU Officer?

Yes – any registered student can run to be an Officer, you can run for any position you like (however, only postgraduate students can run to be the Postgraduate Officer). Students and recent graduates who have student immigration permission (including Tier 4) which allows them to work can undertake a full-time sabbatical officer post. You can do the post part way through your course or in the academic year after you finish it. It is also possible to undertake a sabbatical officer role with Graduate permission, if you have completed your course and meet all other requirements of the Graduate route - see Graduate route ("post-study work").

The University’s Student Immigration Service can give you some more detailed advice, specific to Bath and Visa Sponsorship when it comes to being an SU Officer (or ‘Sabbatical Officer’) and a Tier 4 student here.

I am a postgraduate student; can I still run?

Yes. One of the positions on the Officer team is reserved for postgraduate students only. They work to improve the experience of all postgraduates, whether that is doctoral or taught programmes. 
If you are a postgraduate student with a dissertation to finish or the need to to have more flexibility in relation to working hours, please talk to the Deputy Returning Officer on sureturningofficer@bath.ac.uk. The SU will always try and accommodate students as much as possible and will actively reduce and remove barriers to you standing. Being a postgraduate student does not mean you cant stand! 

Will I get paid?

Yes, officers get - £20,688 + free on campus private accommodation. 

When should I run for SU Officer?

You can stand for post at any time whilst you are a student at Bath. You can hold office as your placement year, for example, or take a year out of your studies and several have in the past.  If you do wish to do this, you must get permission, in writing, from your Director of Studies and Head of Department and then, ultimately, the University's Senate Committee.  

As mentioned above, the SU will always try and accommodate postgraduates standing. If you are doing a masters you may, with permission from your supervisor and Senate, be able to defer writing up until after your sabbatical year, or work as an officer part time during the summer. The SU will work to be as flexible as possible to enable you to stand. 

If you are a doctoral student, you will have to speak to your supervisor and Head of Department, in the first instance. The University is supportive of the Postgraduate Officer post and has said that it would be happy to consider breaks for students who are funded by the University. If your funding is from a research council or other external organisation, you will have to contact that agency to discuss a funding and research break. You should, of course, establish that the University and funder are happy before standing. The SU can provide advice, support and guidance to achieve this. 

Why should I run for SU Officer?

There are many reasons to become an SU Officer. You will:

1. Have an unforgettable, exciting year, full of challenges

Every day is different; one day you could be helping a student with a problem, leading a national campaign or sitting on an interview panel for a manager. The next day you could be attending a FLTQC (Faculty Learning & Teaching Quality Committee), doing a presentation to your executive committee, or sitting in a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor.

2. Improve your employability

This is a fantastic opportunity to build a very impressive CV that will make you really stand out to employers. You will have real experience of making senior level decisions as well as managing budgets, events, meetings, projects, teams and your time! In one year, you will have worked with the media, interviewed staff, done public speaking, written reports and negotiated change.

3. Make a difference

You can make a positive impact on students’ lives by influencing the decision makers. There are many changes and developments at The SU, the University and in the local community that that have been driven through by an SU Officer.

4. Develop invaluable life and work skills

Over the year you will have developed some important skills that will benefit you in all areas of your life including: communication, teamwork, leadership, organisation, influencing, strategic planning, commercial awareness, working under pressure and problem solving.

5. Network with a national organisation

Through the NUS (National Union of Students) you will be a part of a confederation of 600 students' unions and linked with thousands of other SU Officers The NUS is a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions.

Will I get any training?

Yes. You will start learning about the role from the current Officer almost as soon as you are elected. (Don't worry, this will fit around exams, research, dissertation or any other commitments you may have.)  Furthermore, all SU Officers get a two week handover from their predecessor and also attend both internal SU and external training events throughout the summer to help them fully understand their roles and responsibilities.  There will be opportunities for further training over the course of the year.  If you are a postgraduate student and you will not be allowed to suspend study before September, for example, it may be possible to negotiate training around your commitment.

You are also supported by experienced full-time staff and external trustees.

What position should I run for?

There are six SU Officers.  

Roles are:

1. Students’ Union President

The SU President is the figurehead of the Students’ Union. As the President you would lead the SU Officer team, helping and organising the efforts of each individual SU Officer and ensuring that the work on major student issues is done. It is their responsibility to make sure that everything the Union undertakes is for the long term benefit of its members.

2. Education Officer

The Education Officer is principally charged with the academic representation, primarily to the University but to other relevant bodies as well.  As the Education Officer you would also work closely with the Postgraduate Officer on issues relating to postgraduate and with the Community Officer on issues relating to international students.

3. Sport Officer

The Sport Officer is principally charged with the strategic development of sport within the Students’ Union and acting as a representative on relevant University committees and at the national level. As the Sport Officer you would represent students’ sporting needs and interests to the Sports Department and the University.

4. Activities Officer

The Activities Officer is responsible for the strategic development of the activities of societies (and volunteering groups), and also represents students in the training and sustainability areas of the Union. They will work with student Executives within the Activities area.

5. Community Officer

The Community Officer post is a wide ranging role that represents the needs of specific groups of students and general student welfare to the University, the strategic development of Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity work, and the diversity and support groups within the SU. As Community Officer you would also be the face and main representation of students within the local community.

6. Postgraduate Officer

This post was approved in January 2016.  As the title suggests, the specific duty of this postholder is to research and represent the interests of postgraduate students and to develop an active postgraduate community.  The post is only open to postgraduate students, though all students will be able to vote for this post.


Postgraduate candidates FAQ's 

Can both doctoral and taught postgraduate students vote in the election?

Yes.  In fact, all students can vote in this election

Can both doctoral and taught postgraduate students stand in the Postgraduate Officer election?

Yes. Doctoral students and taught postgraduates (PGTs) are both able to stand.  However, undergraduate students may not stand. However, doctoral students and PGT students can stand for the other roles as well!

Postgraduates wanting to stand should meet with their Director of Studies and get their approval using the ‘Consent for students intending to take a year out of their studies’ form. Undergraduates also have to do this to stand as SU Officers, so it should not be seen as problematic. This meeting would include discussion of your funder’s requirements, and other important issues.

As a standard procedure, the University’s Board of Studies and Senate need to approve all appointments, including SU Officers, after the elections. This has also been the case for undergraduate SU Officers for many years without problems being raised by the committees.

Will I be able to suspend my registration if I’m elected?

Yes, almost certainly, as long as funding or other exceptional circumstances do not cause problems. This would be covered in advance in your meeting with your Director of Studies.

Is the University happy for postgraduates to take time out to be an officer?

Yes. The University enthusiastically supports a postgraduate Officer and the election, and is working to ensure that postgraduates can stand and serve as Officers.

I’m a visiting student at the University of Bath, and the rest of study has been at another university. Can I take part in the election?

Yes.  Visiting students are registered at the University of Bath during their time here, so can vote and stand in the election.

I’m a doctoral student in a Doctoral Training Partnership/ Doctoral Training Centre/ Centre for Doctoral Training. I spent time at several different universities while doing my research – can I take part in the election?

Yes, doctoral students in Doctoral Training Partnership/ Doctoral Training Centre/ Centre for Doctoral Training are counted as visiting students. So you would be able to vote, but if you stood as a candidate you would need to discuss with your university of origin about arrangements for taking a sabbatical year.

I’m a doctoral student funded by a university studentship. Will I be able to take a break in my funding in order to serve as an Officer?

This shouldn’t be a problem.  The University supports the postgraduate Officers and is happy to consider breaks in funding for research postgraduates who are elected. 

I’m a doctoral student funded by a research council. Will I be able to take a break in my funding?

This may be possible but you will need to discuss your position with your research council or agency funding you and with your Director of Studies before standing. The SU can provide advice, support and guidance in these matters. 

I’m a doctoral student funded by industry, overseas government, charity or other funder. Will I be able to take a break in my funding?

This may be possible but you will need to discuss your position with your funder and with your Director of Studies before standing.


What's the next step?