2020/2021 UCDSU Executive Elections

Download your nomination form HERE!!

UCD Students’ Union elects six full time Sabbatical Officers and nine part-time College Officers each year. Together they are known as the Executive.

Elections for the 2020 / 2021 academic year will take place on 1-2 April 2020.

Key Dates

Nominations Open

Briefing for Candidates and Election Teams and SU Tour 

4pm – Fitzgerald Chamber

SU Elections Workshop – Empowering Diversity

5pm – Quad Room

Nominations Close

Briefing for Candidates and Election Teams

5pm – Fitzgerald Chamber

Print Deadline for Election Materials

Send to returningoffice@ucdsu.ie

Collection of Election Materials and Poster Run

9am - Collect from UCDSU Reception


6pm – Atrium, Old Student Centre

Executive Elections Voting

Official Live Count and Announcement of Elected Officers

10am - Red Room

Executive Roles

Any UCD student can run for any role. No previous experience is required.

We strongly encourage women, LGBTQ+ students, international students, students from diverse backgrounds, students with a disability, sanctuary students, access students and all students to run for Executive Roles.


The President of UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) is the CEO and chief spokesperson of the Union. They are ultimately responsible for all administration of the Union and the strategic development and direction of the Union.

The President is responsible for preparing the master budget for the Union for the year with the Board of Directors. They are ultimately responsible for the financial affairs of the Union.

The President manages the Sabbatical Officer team and helps to guide them. They also work with the Chief Operations Officer (COO) on the strategic direction of the Union. (The COO is ultimately responsible for all staff in the Union.)

The President coordinates College Officer activity, including arranging training for them during the Summer months and they regularly attend College Councils.


The role of President is mandated to work on certain policy objectives. A sample of some of the mandates that the President will be obligated to work on:

·       Lobbying for more inclusive food offerings in UCD

·       Ensuring Sabbatical Officers receive mandatory training

·       Ensuring the public has access to SU Documentation

·       To lobby for rent caps on campus accommodation

To see all mandates for the SU President, check out the SU Policy Book on https://ucdsu.ie/yourvoice/union-council/

Education Officer

The Education Officer is responsible for helping students who have an academic issue. Information that is disclosed to the Education Officer will always be kept in strict confidentiality (unless the welfare of the student at risk).

These issues can include examinations, assessment and associated appeals, maintenance grants, access to education, student discipline, library services, overcrowding and resources.

They will attend all meetings of boards and committees that they are a member of. They coordinate and maximise student representation on other appropriate academic structures.

They are responsible for convening a meeting a day prior to Academic Council to discuss the agenda with student representatives who sit on Academic Council.

They provide careers information and supports to promote employment opportunities for students.

They work with the Campaigns and Engagement Officer on at least two education focused campaigns in the course of the year.

Graduate Officer

The Graduate Officer helps graduate students with education, welfare and student experience issues.

They sit on boards where they represent the student voice for graduates with academics and management.

They work with the Campaigns and Engagement Officer to recruit graduate class reps.

They run weekly office hours on the Smurfit Campus in Blackrock and make themselves known to all graduates across the two campuses.

They lead national campaigns that are relevant to graduate students.

They meet with postgraduate Class Reps once a semester and run two events for graduate students each semester.

They organise the career development of all students.

To do this, they speak to the careers office regularly and provide information on graduate employment opportunities and graduate studies. They also encourage student involvement at careers and education fairs.

Welfare Officer

The Welfare Officer supports and signposts students who experience crisis situations. They help students with sexual health, mental health, crisis pregnancy, financial hardship, substance abuse and equality issues.

They are the first point of contact for students who are in a crisis. All information given by a student to the Welfare Officer is handled with strict confidentiality.

They maintain good relations with all student support and welfare services in UCD.

They work with the Campaigns and Engagement Officer to organise two Welfare focused campaigns in the course of the year.

The Welfare Officer undergoes a lot of compulsory training over the Summer months.

Campaigns and Engagement Officer

The Campaigns and Engagement Officer is responsible for the organisation, coordination and implementation of all Union Campaigns locally and nationally.

They organise the recruitment and training for class reps and seek to keep unsuccessful candidates involved in the Union. 

They should have an active interest in national issues pertaining to student interests and seek to maintain relationships with other Students’ Unions for the pursuit of relevant national goals.

They have input into the running of the website and SU social media channels. They are also responsible for the distribution of all Union materials and notices throughout the University.

They are responsible for maintaining good relationships with societies and sports clubs on campus.

They promote all Union elections and referendums to the relevant constituencies.

Entertainments Officer

The Entertainments Officer is responsible for the organisation and the coordination of entertainment events for members.

They convene and chair the meetings of the Entertainments Forum and they recruit Entertainment Volunteers.

They organise several major events for students throughout the year and they work with the President to keep to a budget for events.

The Entertainment’s Officer helps Sabbatical Officers to run their events and helps College Officers and Class Reps with entertainment for their classes and schools.

They are responsible for all Union fundraising for charity and they organise one event each semester to raise money for the Union’s chosen charity partners.

They work with sports clubs, societies and UCD staff to maintain good relations with them and the Union.

Sabbatical Officer Role Work Conditions:

·       Full-time, paid role

·       35 hours per week (9am-6pm Monday to Thursday and 9am-12pm on Friday)

·       Flexibility with working hours is essential. Expect many late nights and early mornings

·       Time in lieu will be offered to offset some late evenings or early mornings where possible

·       20 days annual leave. Please note that annual leave cannot be taken during busy periods, including orientation week, freshers week, revision weeks and exam weeks as per the President’s direction.  

College Officers:

·       Law Officer

·       Science Officer

·       Health Science Officer

·       Engineering and Architecture Officer

·       Arts, Humanities and Social Science Officer

·       Business Officer

·       Agriculture, Food and Vet Science Officer


College Officers set up two College Councils every semester. This is a meeting between a College Officer and the Class Reps in their constituencies. The President of UCDSU will sometimes attend College Councils.

College Officers are responsible for distributing information and implementing campaigns of the Union in their constituencies.

They are the main link between students, Class Reps and the Union. They raise awareness of issues that are important to the students in their College at Union Executive meetings and Union Council.

College Officers will pursue the interests of their constituents with the help of Sabbatical Officers.

The President and the Campaigns and Engagement Officer will help College Officers to perform their duties and provide training for them during the Summer months.

College Officers are responsible for recruiting class reps in their own constituencies.  

Oifigeach na Gaeilge / Irish Language Officer


The Irish Language Officer promotes the Irish language in all aspects of the Union and they aim to develop a bilingual culture in the University.

They advocate for bilingual signage on campus and meeting with the University and residents of campus accommodation in Irish language schemes.

They organise the Union’s ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge’.

Advocate for the creation of an Irish language version of the current constitution.

College Officer Role Conditions:

·       Part-time, voluntary, unpaid role

·       Attendance at Council and Executive meetings on Mondays during term from 6pm-8pm

·       Convene two College Councils per semester

Part Two: Campaigning

Your Manifesto

Each candidate will make a manifesto. This is your opportunity to tell students why they should vote for you and to show your ideas for the role you are running for. Make sure to do a lot of research for your manifesto.

It is important that you put forward ideas that have been thought out and that you know what steps to take to achieve these goals.

You need to be able to explain these ideas and sometimes defend them when questioned at hustings, by student newspapers or by students you are canvassing.

Top tip: Come to the first briefing session when nominations officially open at 5pm on 24 February and you can run your ideas past current Sabbats and staff to see if they are viable.
Nominations Open, Elections Briefing and SU Tour
Nominations officially open on 24 February 2020.

If you are interested in running for an Executive position or if you are just thinking about it, you are welcome to come to the Nominations Open Event and tour of the Students’ Union.

Get to know about the role you are interested in and how it fits into the greater Union. We will also give you a run through of how SU elections work and what to expect.

There will be an opportunity to speed friend with current Sabbats and Union Staff to ask any questions you have about your campaign, manifesto points or the role or work of the Union.

There will also be an opportunity to take a tour of the Union, to see the set up and the space you will be working in if you are elected to a Sabbatical Officer position.

SU Elections Workshop – Empowering Diversity

The SU Elections Workshop will take place on 26 February in the Quad Room at 5pm. Its focus is to empower students who feel their voice is underrepresented in the Union and to encourage diverse candidates to run campaigns.

The workshop will go through campaign strategy, public speaking and allow for attendees to ask any questions they may have. We hope it will give you all the tools and confidence you need to run a strong campaign. 

This year we want to empower all students to run for election. UCD has over 32,000 students which means we have students from all backgrounds. UCDSU needs to have a diverse Executive in order to represent the diverse needs of our students.  

Collecting Signatures

In order to be nominated for a position you will need to collect a nomination form at the first briefing on 24 February or from the SU reception from 25 Feb-6 March.

When you get the form, you will need to collect 150 signatures from students and submit it to the SU reception by 5pm on 6 March when nominations close.

If you are running for a College Officer position you will need to collect 150 signatures from your own constituency. If you are running for a Sabbatical Officer position you can collect signatures from all constituencies.

Top tip #1: This is the ideal time to informally get to chat to your constituents. Reach out to students beyond your friend group when collecting signatures. It is a great time to tease out your manifesto points.

Listen to students about what they want to see in the Union. Then make sure these needs are addressed in your manifesto.

Top tip #2: Get more signatures than you need so more students get to know you and your ideas.

Top tip #3: Bring a bike to campus when you are collecting signatures or canvassing. This way you can get around to different colleges and schools much faster.

Campaign Manager

Your Campaign Manager is a very important part of your campaign. They will help you with writing your manifesto, creating your strategy, developing your design materials, gathering a campaign team and leading them.

They are the person who will keep you and your team on track when campaigning gets busy and stressful.

Top tip: Previous successful candidates have suggested that you should choose someone you know well as your Campaign Manager because they will know best how to steer you.

Campaign Team

Running a campaign is not a one-person job. You will need to ask a few people to help.

You can assign roles to members of your team, such as, Campaign Manager, Social Media Manager, Canvass Lead, etc. There are no required roles, this is completely up to you.

Top tip #1: Make sure to create a bond with your team and organise to do something together. It can be as simple as having a coffee or cooking a meal together.

Top tip #2: Campaign teams that seek to put their opponents down rather than running on their own ideas often fail to win elections.

‘When they go low, we go high’ – Michelle Obama

Leave it to the newspapers to call people out on their shortcomings and stick to what is important to you.  

Nominations Close and Briefing

You must submit your nominations to the SU reception by 5pm on Friday 6 March. A mandatory briefing will be held in the Fitzgerald Chamber at 5pm on Friday 6 March for everyone who submits a nomination form.

The mandatory briefing will discuss campaign rules, campaign materials, key dates and a presentation on the Students’ Union structure and roles.

Print Deadline for Election Materials

The SU will pay certain amount towards election costs per candidate. This will be decided by the Returning Officer and told to candidates after nominations close.

It is usually enough to cover printing posters, manifestos and t-shirts. There will be a maximum number of materials allowed by each candidate which is set by the Returning Office.

Each candidate will have the same budget. No money is given directly to candidates. All election materials must be ordered through the Returning Office.

There will be a maximum spend allowed by each candidate if they decide to purchase materials beyond the budget allocated by the Returning Office. All materials purchased with your own finances must be ordered through the Returning Office.

Top tip: Do not order too many campaign materials. Have a distribution plan in place before the print deadline so you know how many to order and realistically how much posters you can put up and how many manifesto’s you can hand out. 

Collection of Election Materials and Poster Run

At 9am on 23rd March you can collect your election materials from the Students’ Union reception.

At the signal of the Returning Officer you can start to put your posters along the concourse and around campus.

Be strategic and plan where you want to put your posters and have your team prepared and told where to put them before the poster run begins.

Top tip: Past Executive Officers have said to bring a bike (or two!) and you will cover a lot more ground faster.


Canvassing is speaking to students and asking them to vote for you. This can be one on one, in groups or when making speeches.

It is important for you and your team to speak to students about your manifesto points and to encourage them to vote for you.

Always treat other teams with respect and encourage your team to do this too. Campaigns have been lost by campaign teams who get a bad reputation for not conducting themselves well during canvassing.

Make sure your interactions are short, sweet and informative and always treat others how you would like to be treated when canvassing.

Lecture Addressing

One of your campaign tools is to lecture address. This involves making a brief speech to a lecture theatre or a class.

You should try to make a timetable of which lectures you plan to lecture address and what times they are on. Try to go to all constituencies at some point if you are running for a Sabbatical Officer position.

Make sure to ask the lecturers permission to speak and if there are other candidates waiting to speak, be polite and make sure to not take up all the time.

Top tip #1: There is a master timetable where you can see what classes are on and when. Do not get too bogged down on this because it is hard to tell how well attended each class is from the timetable.

Ask your friends and friends of friends which of their classes would be good to address and make them the priority.

Top tip #2: During the week of elections, try to get 2-3 lecture addresses on the hour.

Top tip #3: When you are speaking, use the space, stand confidently and speak out.


Hustings will take place in the Atrium of the Old Student Centre at 6pm on 26th March.

Hustings is an event where candidates can give a short speech and then answer questions from a panel and from the audience. It is open for all students to view and to ask questions.

You should write your speech and get plenty of practice delivering it. Make sure to include all your main manifesto points and be clear why people should vote for you.

To prepare for the Q+A section, ask your team to grill you with any question which may be asked, including the questions you hope you won’t be asked!

Make sure you know how to achieve your manifesto goals.

A key mistake candidate’s make is to propose a change that isn’t possible, which is widely known by the student body. Do research the steps you need to take to achieve your manifesto points.

Newspaper Interviews

The University Observer and the College Tribune are the two newspapers on campus. They usually interview all the candidates for Executive Elections. The University Observer also film their interviews.

Be prepared to speak about your motivations for running, about any previous experience you have in the Union, with Clubs and Societies, or anything else you have been involved in around campus. You will also usually have an opportunity to go through your manifesto points and be prepared to respond to questions about them.


Voting will take place on 1-2 of April 2020 around campus. The timetable will be released here when it is available.

Every student is entitled to vote in each Sabbatical Officer position, for the College Officer in their constituency and for the Irish Language Officer.

During voting, your team should be present in as many polling stations as it is the last opportunity for canvassers to speak to voters and to encourage them to vote.

Top tip: Things can get heated in the final push towards

Official Live Count and Announcement

The count will take place on 3 April in the Red Room from 10am. You will be able to watch the votes being counted and you will be regularly updated on the results throughout the day as the counting of boxes are completed.

If you can’t make it to the count centre, you will be able to view the count on our Facebook live stream.

The University Observer and the College Tribune also typically live tweet updates throughout the day from their own accounts.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is simply making a presentation to an audience.

You will need public speaking skills to lecture address. This is the easiest way to communicate your manifesto points to large audiences at once.

At hustings you will be given the chance to give a short speech to a large audience of voters and then you will be questioned by a panel and audience members.

Do not worry if you do not have public speaking experience, you will be surprised how fast you will learn along the way.

Still have some time before elections?  - Get some practice!

·       Speak up in your classes / tutorials where student participation is encouraged.

·       Drop down to ENTS mixers or campaign forum meetings and see if you can help at an event or for an upcoming campaign.

·       Give debating a try by joining one of UCD’s debating societies.

·       Run for class rep – you will get training and lots of opportunities to speak in front of your class.

Graphic Design

You will need to design your poster, manifesto and banners and graphics for social media. It is always handy to have someone on your campaign team with design skills, but it is not essential.

If you will be taking on the task yourself or have a friend who is willing to help but has no experience, we recommend using a free online design tool called Canva. 

It is very easy to use, and it can make your campaign look like it had a slick designer!

Before you decide to run:

Look at the UCDSU constitution here. It will tell you all the rules that the Union is bound by and it will have lots of details about the role you are interested in and the structure of the Union.

Look at the UCDSU Policy Book here. The Policy Book holds all the current mandates which Executive roles must work on. Mandates are put forward by members of Council, debated and voted on. If a majority of Council vote in favour of a mandate, then it is added to the Policy Book and must be worked on by specified roles for a period of three years or until the goal has been achieved.

If you are running for a Sabbatical Officer position you will notice that there are a lot of mandates assigned to your role. We recommend becoming familiar with these mandates and ensuring you will be comfortable with pursuing them and have ideas of how you can do that.

We encourage you to come and view Union Council in the Fitzgerald Chamber in the Student Centre from 6pm-8pm. For all Council dates for 2019/2020 please see here

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