With the FTO elections fast-approaching, we reflect on what happened last year and give you a simple explanation of what it’s all about.

Before I got involved with The Siren (waaaay back in January 2011!), I didn’t have a clue about how the Students’ Union worked. So after a solid week of reporting on campaigns as well as hustings and the results themselves; it’s all a bit of a blur when I try to remember everything that went on.

What I do remember is the excitement on campus and the incredible amount of hard work that went into each campaign. The image of students dodging round banners and some even breaking into a sprint to get away from a candidate yelling “vote for me!” is pretty hard to forget.

For a lot of students though, it’s difficult to be sure about exactly how the Union works and who does what, so we’ve written up the most important things you need to know, as well as including the list of candidates running for full-time officer positions this year.

FTO definition

A Full-Time Officer is a role that is paid. Officers are elected for a year to lead and direct different areas of Union activity. Together with members of Students’ Union staff, they form the senior staff team that handles the day-to-day running of the Union and its activities. They are elected to represent students at the university and ensure your welfare is always at the forefront of all Union services.

Who can vote?

As a student you are automatically a member of the Students’ Union, so ALL Swansea University students can vote. Just use your intranet login and password to register your vote.

If you’re not sure about the role of each full-time officer, check out the details of each position below.

PRESIDENT

There isn’t a hierarchical structure to the Students’ Union,  but the President is expressed as the lead officer. As lead Union officer the President is the key contact for the University, National Union of Students and the local community.

Key Roles

1. Lead a team of Full-time Officers and co-ordinate the campaigning/political activities of the Executive Committee.

2. Secure effective student representation throughout the University, local community and nationally.

3. Chairs the Trustee Board.

4. Promote the Union and ensure good personal representation in both actions and policies.

5. Leading, encouraging and supporting colleagues in their roles and campaigns.

6. Ensure that the constitution is both utilised effectively and developed regularly.

7. Encourage students in Union elections and ensure that elections are well publicised to both prospective candidates and voters.

8. Assist executive officers in their roles and remits.

9. Chair the Union Executive Committee and Student Forums.

10. Work closely with the Student Representation & Campaigns Co-ordinator.

11. Represent the views of the students regardless of personal opinions.

SOCIETIES & SERVICES OFFICER

The Societies and Services Officer is focused on ensuring that societies gain fair representation and support from the Union. Alongside this, the Societies and Services officer is focused upon ensuring that students get value for money from their Union. All full-time officers are responsible for the Unions finances, but this officer is the key liaison with the Finance Office.

Key Roles

1. This officer works closely with the Unions Finance Manager and chairs the Finance and Resources Committee, working alongside the Finance department to ensure sound financial practice by both officers and staff.

2. Ensure all financial decisions of the Union are passed through the Union’s Democratic Structures and present final audited accounts to the Union’s AGM.

3. This officer is the lead officer for supporting, advising and overseeing the Union’s societies.

4. To assist societies in increasing the educational and recreational activities available to Swansea students; working with the University to ensure recognition of the contribution students make through activities and the importance of societies as part of the student experience.

5. Work closely with all societies support and training department, to ensure adequate training for society executive committee members.

6. Monitor the expenditure of societies and ensure a fair allocation of grants.

7. Promote the Union and ensure good personal representation in both actions and policies.

8. Work closely with the Student Development & Societies Co-ordinator.

9. Represent the views of the students regardless of personal opinion.

SPORTS OFFICER

The Sports Officer is focused on overseeing the running of sports clubs on campus and ensuring that sports team members gain fair representation and support from the Union and University.

Key Roles

1. This officer is the lead officer for supporting, advising and overseeing the Union’s sports clubs.

2. To assist sports members in increasing the educational and recreational activities available to Swansea students; working with the University to ensure recognition of the contribution students make through activities and the importance of sport as part of the student experience.

3. Assist with organising sports tournaments and conferences throughout the year, including the annual Swansea versus Cardiff Varsity event.

4. Work closely alongside the Welfare Officer to implement healthy living campaigns.

5. Act as the main point of communication between BUCS and sports clubs.

6. Contribute to the sporting strategy of the University.

7. Tender and maintain sports contracts with external companies.

8. Promote the Union and ensure good personal representation in both actions and policies.

9. Represent the views of the students regardless of personal opinion.

INTERNATIONAL AND OVERSEAS OFFICER

The International Officer must be a student of non-UK nationality. The International Officer works to ensure the integration of home and international students at the University. They will ensure international students are represented in University forums, meetings and committees and that any changes proposed by the University have a positive effect on the international student experience.

Key Roles

1. Responsible for ensuring representation of international students both locally and nationally and on all University committees that have an impact on the international student experience.

2. Work closely with the University’s International Office and International Students Advisory Service to ensure fair representation for International Students.

3. Encourage awareness of culture and diversity across campus and promote events that are diverse in nature and accessible to all students – particularly non-alcoholic events.

4. Work closely with the Societies and Services Officer in supporting international societies.

5. Promote the Union and ensure good personal representation in both actions and policies.

6. Work alongside fellow officers, the University and other supportive external bodies (where appropriate) to facilitate an ‘Internationalisation’ agenda that accommodates all Swansea University students. In doing so the International Officer should actively promote work placements/internships and study opportunities abroad amongst all Swansea University students. Protect the access to, quality and diverse choice of foreign language provision available at the University.

WOMEN’S OFFICER

The Women’s Officer is focused upon ensuring that women students are well supported and represented both on campus and nationally. In fulfilling this role women students will be informed of the issues that may affect them and the support and advice available to them. The Womens’ campaign believes that women should be treated as equals and that a society without discrimination is beneficial to all. The officer must self–define as a woman.

Key Roles

1. Responsible for running and co-ordinating campaigns relating to women’s liberation including; Equal pay, Employment Opportunities, Anti-Domestic Violence, Personal Safety, Womens’ Health, Pro- Choice, Pregnancy and Harassment etc.

2. Work towards combating discrimination to women within the University and wider society.

3. Work closely with the Advice Centre and ensure its awareness amongst students.

4. Use evidence such as the NUS Hidden Marks report to inform campaigns.

5. Promote the Union and ensure good personal representation in both actions and policies.

6. Act as mentor and lead officer contact for the Liberations Officers and ensure support for their campaigns.

7. Work closely with the Student Representation & Campaigns Coordinator.

8. Represent the views of the students regardless of personal opinions.

WELFARE OFFICER

The Welfare Officer provides support and representation for all Swansea University students during their time here. In fulfilling this role students will be informed of the risks which face them and the support and advice available to them.

Key Roles

1. Co-ordinate campaigns and raise awareness of issues relating to welfare, housing and safety issues, finance and student health.

2. Work closely with the Advice Centre and ensure students are aware of the service.

3. Focus on community relations working closely alongside the PR and Marketing Coordinator to help promote the Union externally.

4. Work closely with the Liberations Officers and support their campaigns.

5. Work with the University to ensure adequate welfare provision and support is provided for students.

6. Assist the Environment and Ethics Officer in the development of the University and Union towards ethical and environmentally sound working practices.

7. Work closely with the Student Representation & Campaigns Coordinator.

8. Represent the views of the students regardless of personal opinion.

EDUCATION OFFICER

The Education Officer is focused upon ensuring that our students are getting
the most out of their education – both locally at the University, and nationally.

Key Roles

1. Work on campaigns to fight for fair and affordable fees for all Swansea students.

2. Work to fight for a fair funding system throughout the United Kingdom alongside NUS.

3. Promote the Union and ensure good personal representation in both actions and policies.

4. Work alongside the Advice Centre to support students in cases of academic appeal.

5. Work closely with the International Officer on campaigns ensuring fair and affordable fees for international students.

6. Organises and chairs the Course Representatives Assembly.

7. Be the Unions representative with academic departments across campus.

8. Work in partnership with the careers service and similar agencies to assist graduate employment.

9. Encourage student focus for all academic facilities such as LIS.

10. Work closely with the Student Representation & Campaigns Coordinator.

11. Represent the views of the students regardless of personal beliefs.

At the close of nominations on the 23rd of February 2012 at 5pm, the following students stand as nominated candidates:

President

Mitch THEAKER
Tom UPTON

Societies & Services Officer

Tom GIFFARD
Owain HARRIES
Joshua HAYMAN
Martha KIFF
Steve RALPH
Hamish SIMMIE
Dave “Mr T” TOWNSEND

Education Officer

Ian MORGAN
Zahid RAJA 

Welfare Officer

Charlotte BRITTON
Chinemere John EZE

Women’s Officer

Millie BALKAN
Izzy GRANVILLE
Pearl SANGHA
Rebecca WARRILLOW

International Officer

V.R.S.A.Mahaboob BASHA
Kayla BATES

Sports Officer

Dan “Flash” RYAN-LOWES
Zac SHAYLAR
Imogen STANLEY

Voting begins on the 20th of March at 8am and closes 22nd March at 8pm

The results will be announced from 9pm on the 22nd March 2012

Any issues, questions or concerns get in touch with Shona Vrac Lee at administrator@swansea-union.co.uk or Matthew Hurst at matthewhurst@swansea-union.co.uk

You can find out about the  rules for elections and more details on the inner workings of the Students’ Union on the Swansea University Students’ Union website.

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