WHO RUNS THE UNION
Our Union is run for students, by students and has been since we were founded in 1890. Below is everything you need to know about how our Union is run, how to vote, and how you can get involved in our elections.
Currently our elections happen twice per year, the first one being in October and the second lot taking place in March. The October election will be when we take on new representatives to our Student Assembly - a group of our members who meet on a regular basis to discuss, plan and vote on matters relating to the operation of the Union.
The March elections will be for more senior positions, including our President (a paid sabbatical position), our Vice-Presidents, and the Convenors of the committees.
Elections at UofG are pretty wild. Not only do we have people running for positions in our Union, but rather all four student bodies will have people standing for election at the same time. In the run up to election days you can expect your notifications to be spammed with invites to Facebook events, and on the days themselves you’ll find all of the candidates out on campus with sweets and all sorts trying to convince you to vote for them.
You’ll either think that election season is great fun, or really annoying, depending on your outlook but whatever you think it is really worthwhile to use your vote and take part in democracy on campus - things you don’t like about UofG will never change if you don’t take part!
Voting in our elections is as easy as going on to MyGlasgow where you’ll find a link to vote on election days. All you have to is put a 1 next your most preferred candidate, a 2 next to your 2nd most preferred and so on. We’ll share lot’s of information about elections nearer the time. You do have to be a member of the QMU to vote [join here].
Here’s a quick break-down of how we are actually governed.
At the top we have the Trustee Board. This is a group made up of students and non-students in equal parts. They set the strategy for the Union and oversee the staff, finances, legal compliance, human resource management and essentially all of the big, important stuff that an organisation like ours needs in order to run effectively. In all likelihood unless you run for an executive position such as the President [the Chair of the Trustees] or get in to some hot water, you are unlikely to meet the Trustee Board. However, you can rest assured that they will be there in the background making sure that we meet our charitable aims and tick-over financially.
Next we have the Student Assembly who report directly to the Trustee Board. As mentioned, this is a group of our current student members who meet once a month to: discuss and plan activities for the Union, gather student input on our strategic direction, decide our political and campaigning policy, and assess the performance of our committees. The Assembly is currently made up of our President, our two Vice-Presidents (one in charge of looking after the welfare of the student representatives, and another in charge of managing
our membership, clubs and societies] the convenors of our committees, and our student representatives (CSRs].
This year we are seeking to change the make-up of the Assembly slightly, and will be looking to introduce some new executive positions which will involve changing the role of the Vice-Presidents (VP). The proposed roles are VP Student Development, VP Culture & Events, VP Diversity & Inclusion, and VP Communications & Engagement.
In order to make these changes, we’ll need to throw what is called an Extraordinary General Meeting. This is when we call together all of our members to discuss making significant changes to our governing documents including our Constitution, Bye-Laws and Policy. You can expect to hear more about this over email and our socials!
All of the above may sound a bit heavy if it’s your first experience of a democratic organisation. It’s really not as boring or complicated as it sounds. Running for a position on our Student Assembly, or even just volunteering for our committees, can be such a rewarding thing to do while you’re at university.
If you approach the representation & governance side of the Union with an open-mind and a willingness to get stuck in, you will get so much out of getting involved.
You’ll gain new skills you wouldn’t have done in the classroom, you’ll make new friends from different courses and years, and you’ll grow as a person as you learn to take on the challenges that running the Union throws at you.
Near election time, be sure to look on our blog for stories from past elected officers to get an idea of what it’s like being involved, or if you love the sound of running already then drop an email to our Student Engagement Coordinator Sean at email@example.com