Election FAQ's


Running for Positions

Who is eligible to run?

  • All students are eligible to run to be a sabbatical officer, no matter what course you’re on or what year you’re in. If you’re interested in running but not in your final year the SU can provide help explaining what being a sabbatical officer means to supervisors, tutors and so on. The University supports people taking time out from their studies for SU roles.
  • Some sabbatical positions have restrictions on running. Four of the roles (the two Presidents and the two Access, Education & Participation Officers) are specifically for either undergraduates or postgraduates and only those students can run for those positions. We also ask that you only nominate yourself for one of the liberation roles of BME Officer, Disabled Students’ Officer and Women’s Officer if you self-identify into the group represented by that role.

How do I put myself forward?

  • More information about how to nominate yourself for election is available on the How to Stand page.

What is a manifesto?

  • A manifesto will tell voters why they should vote for you. This should include a list of things you would do and/or stand up for if you were elected, how you will make them happen and why YOU would be excellent for the role. You may also want to include previous work you've done and the experience you have. Think about what you would want to see on a manifesto if you were voting. You can find the manifestos of last year's winning candidates on this year's sabb profiles. The manifesto you submit will be available on the SU website, and will be linked from the ballot when students are making their choice.

How does voting work in these elections?

  • Cambridge SU elections use a system called the Single Transferable Vote (STV), where voters rank the candidates in order of preference. More information is available about this here.

Who/what is RON?

  • If you are not happy with any of the current candidates standing for election, you can vote to Re-Open Nominations (RON). RON appears on the ballot and votes for RON are counted in the same way as those for candidates. If RON is declared the winner after all votes have been counted, the election will be held again. The original candidates are allowed to run again in the new ballot, but it gives the opportunity for new candidates to run.
  • Voters may choose to vote RON for one of the following reasons:
    • They do not think any of the available candidates should be elected.
    • They would rather have more choice and be able to select from a greater number of candidates (although this is not a guaranteed outcome).
    • They have already ranked some candidates, but feel that none of the remaining candidates should be elected.

Working for Cambridge SU

How much do sabbatical officers get paid?

  • The salary of Cambridge SU sabbatical officers for next year will be £21,841.

When do sabbatical officers start and finish their roles?

  • Cambridge SU sabbatical officers will begin employment at the start of July 2020 and finish in mid-July 2021.

Is being a sabbatical officer a full-time job?

  • Yes - a normal working week will comprise of not less than 35 hours per week. Sabbatical officers and staff are required to work Monday-Friday and on occasions, will be required to work out of hours or on weekends. We are currently working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, although we hope to have returned to office working by the start of the new sabbatical terms.

What are the working hours?

  • We operate on a standard 8 hour day with a 1-hour lunch break. We have flexible working arrangements with core hours between 11:00-16:00. What this means practically is that you don't have to be in the office every day between 9-5, depending on your schedule you may end up working 10-6, or 11-7. If you have any concerns about this we'd be happy to talk more about flexible working and how this will work at Cambridge SU.

Do sabbatical officers work evenings and/or weekends?

  • Yes. Whilst it isn't very often you will need to work weekends, there are a number of events that will take place in the evening, such as Student Council, Executive Committee meetings, forums and trustee board meetings. This isn't every evening, however, and you will get TOIL (time off in lieu) for extra hours worked.

What does a normal working day look like for a sabb?

  • One of the great things about being a sabbatical officer is that there isn't a 'normal working day'. Whilst there are committees and working group meetings to attend, the role is what you make it. Take a look at our day in the life articles, coming out over the coming months, or get in touch with one of our current sabbsto see what our current officers have been up to.

What skills and experience are expected of me?

  • When sabbatical officers take up their roles they are given an extensive induction and training by Cambridge SU and some training by NUS. You are not expected to have experience or skills in the role and you will be trained in relevant areas.

Do I have to be a good public speaker?

  • While there is lots of public speaking involved in all roles (through induction talks, campaigning, and in other ways), Cambridge SU will give you training on these skills.

International Students

I am an international student from the EEA, how will Brexit affect my ability to become a sabbatical officer?

  • If you are a current student from the EU, EEA-EFTA states or Switzerland and you arrived in the UK before 1st January 2021, Brexit will not affect your ability to become a sabbatical officer so long as you have applied for the EU Settlement Scheme before 30th June 2021. Information and support on this is available from the University’s International Student Office

I am an international student on the Student (previously known as Tier 4) visa, can I become sabbatical officer?

  • Yes, we encourage international students to become sabbatical officers. You are eligible to become a sabbatical officer under the Student/Tier 4 visa if you take a break from your studies to undertake this position. You can also become a sabbatical officer as a new graduate in the academic year immediately following the completion of your studies at the University. The SU can provide financial and practical support with this.

What visa status do sabbatical officers have?

  • If you were a student studying on a Student/Tier 4 visa, you will be working under that visa. The University of Cambridge will be your sponsor. Your employer will be the Cambridge Students' Union.

Can I study and become a sabbatical officer?

  • The sabbatical officer is full-time employment. Therefore, you will be required to work for 35 hours a week for the Cambridge Students' Union. Your visa will allow you to work 20 hours per week in addition to the 40 hours a week of full-time work. We would advise you to discuss any plans to work or study alongside your position with Cambridge SU as soon as possible.

I currently have a Student/Tier 4 visa, do I need to apply for a new one to start working as a sabbatical officer?

  • You can start work as a sabbatical officer on your existing visa if it is valid. If your visa expires before the completion of your term as sabbatical officer, you will be required to apply for an extension to your visa. The SU will cover the costs of this (see below).

Who will bear the cost of my visa application to work as a sabbatical officer?

  • Cambridge SU will cover all the cost of your Tier 4 visa application include the NHS surcharge. Your visa application requires you to show requisite funds maintained in your bank account for 28 consecutive days. The SU will arrange for these funds to be available to you should you require it.