Why you should consider running in the SU General Election
Are you an effective leader? Do you want to make a true difference in your campus community? Does the idea of representing your faculty peers excite you? If you answered “yes” to these questions then you should consider running for a position with your Students’ Union (SU). Through the SU’s annual General Election all undergraduates at the University of Calgary have the opportunity to run for seats on the Student Legislative Council (SLC). The SLC is the SU’s highest governing body and is authorized to make bylaws and policy regarding membership, elections, governance structure, meetings, membership fees, the management and operations of assets, appointment to committees and any other matters that students care about. SLC is currently made up of a total of twenty-four (25) SLC Members:
Twenty (20) members are Faculty Representatives, who are elected by students of their specific faculty. The number of faculty representatives per faculty coincides with the size of the appropriate faculty;
Five (5) members are Executives, elected by students at-large;
Students also elect (1) University of Calgary Board of Governors Representative and two (2) Senate representatives.
Elected officials serve for a period of one academic year (May 1 – April 30)
The SU General Election occurs every academic year from February – March. If required, a By-Election is held in September-October to fill any vacant positions. Early in the New Year (or in September for the By-Election) your SU will post a notification asking for nominees interested in running for an elected position with the Students’ Union. This nomination procedure includes a detailed nomination package that can be accessed online or by visiting the SU office (MSC 251). Before deciding to run you should also consult our SU Election Documents section section on this site as well as the Position Descriptions page.
Collecting Nominations and Signatures
To ensure the safety of candidates and all students, signatures will be collected through an online form. Potential Candidates will need to Declare Intent to collect signatures for their nomination, and may then use and share the following link to collect nominations.
NOTE: You will need to authenticate using your UCalgary UCID account to access the form.
Pre-Election Orientation sessions are generally held two weeks prior to Nomination days in January for the General Election. The CRO conducts these workshops for potential candidates to provide them background about the Students’ Union (SU), Students’ Legislative Council (SLC), expectations as an elected official, various aspects of running in a student election and about what happens if you’re elected. All prospective Candidates and Campaign Groups are strongly encouraged to attend at least one Pre-Election Orientation session before running in the Election.
The Orientations are scheduled at the following times:
Voting for the SU Elections takes place online and at voting stations at the main campus over a period of three days. General Election voting days are in early March and voting for the By-Election (if required) takes place in early October. Any active member (U of C Undergraduate Student) in good standing with the Students’ Union can run and vote in the Elections.
How do I know what positions are available?
Near the end of January, a “Notice of Nomination” signed by the CRO goes up online and at the SU office to announce the available positions for the General Election. If required, a Notice of Nomination for the By-Election is posted in early September. A full list of SU Elected Official positions is located on the position description page.
Once the Notice is up, the Nomination package is available. This package has all the information and forms you need as a candidate. It can be downloaded from the SU website during the Nomination Period.
What do I do if I want to know more about the responsibilities of a role?
The best way to learn more about a position is to talk to someone currently in the role. You may want to set up a meeting or ask if you can “job shadow” for a few hours. You can contact any of our Elected Officials by email on the SLC page.
You can also attend SLC as a gallery member any Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. to see how the council works as a team to make decisions. Currently, SLC meetings are held over Zoom video-conferencing. To get the link for the meeting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the "Nomination Period"?
The time from when the Notice of Nomination is put up to the last Nomination Day is known as the Nomination Period. This is the time potential candidates use to learn about available positions, fill out the Nomination packages, establish their platform and ask for student support.
What are "Nomination Days"?
Nomination Days refers to the last three days of the Nomination Period, usually in early February. By-Election Nomination Days are in late September and General Election Nomination Days are in February before Reading Break. The exact days and times will be posted on the Notice of Nomination.
To register as a candidate you must meet with the Election staff on one of the three posted dates to deliver your Nomination Package. Pay close attention to all the requirements – the CRO will only register you if all of the forms are filled out correctly and you have brought all your supporting materials. Currently, Nomination Days are occurring over Zoom video-conferencing and the link is posted on SU social media and our website closer to the dates.
These three days are a busy time and there is often a line. Make sure you come early and set aside enough time! The CRO will go through all your forms with you and may have questions. Anyone who has not submitted their package by the deadline on the last day is not considered an official candidate and is not permitted to campaign.
What do I need to do to become a candidate?
You must complete the forms in the Nomination Package and fulfill other requirements, such as submission of a photo, collecting a certain number of student signatures and writing a brief description of your platform. Requirements can slightly vary from year to year, so be sure to read the Nomination Package carefully.
After the final Nomination Day you will receive an email confirming that you are officially a candidate for the SU Election. The CRO will give you information on next steps such as attending the All Candidates Meeting.
When can I tell other students I’m running?
You can verbally tell other students you have the intent to run as early as you wish. However, students are not permitted to campaign until the Campaign Period officially begins. Pre-campaigning is against Election Policy and includes posting of materials, asking for votes or sharing information about your campaign platform. Check the Nomination Package for more information on pre-campaigning and declaring your intent to run.
How do I campaign during a pandemic?
Campaigning will look very different this year than it has in the past and candidates will need to take extra time to plan their strategies. Keeping students safe is one of the SU’s key priorities and the Nomination Package outlines all of the safety guidelines and procedures that are in place for that reason. Please read the Nomination Package carefully. We encourage candidates to focus on virtual campaign methods this year and hold off from coming to campus to put up posters, banners or solicit students. If you are doing any of those things, please follow all the guidelines, keep your distance and always wear a mask!
How much money can I use to campaign?
To keep elections fair and ensure all candidates are on a level playing field, there are limits on how much you can spend. These limits are outlined in the Nomination Package and depend on what position you are running for. Candidates who exceed the maximum amount for the position they are running for are automatically disqualified.
The SU pays for all candidate expenses. Candidates are expected to either apply for an Election Grant to receive the funds ahead of the Campaign Period, or are reimbursed once the Election is over. All expenses must be receipted.
Can I get help on my campaign?
Yes! Many students ask friends to support them by “volunteering” on their campaign. These volunteers can help you promote your platform online on social media or talk to other students during the Campaign Period. You may also wish to have a Campaign Manager to represent you.
When are the results announced? What happens if I win?
The unofficial results of the SU General Election are announced around 5:30 p.m. on the last day of voting, generally a Thursday. Unofficial By-Election results are announced by the CRO around 5:00pm on Zoom on the last day of voting, generally a Friday. In accordance with current COVID safety protocols, the announcement is made by the CROs over Zoom video-conferencing. If you win the position you campaigned for, the SU will contact you once the official results are posted (normally 2 weeks later) to tell you the next steps. This includes an invitation to Colour Night where the new Elected Officials take their oath and all the information you require to transition with your predecessor.
What is a “plebiscite” or “referendum”?
Plebiscites and referenda are questions asked during an SU election to allow students to provide feedback directly on a certain topic. Plebiscites and referenda questions appear on the same ballot used to vote for student candidates – if you go to cast your vote in the election, you will also be able to answer a plebiscite or referendum (if one is being asked during that election). The key difference between a plebiscite and a referendum is that a plebiscite is non-binding, while a referendum is binding. In other words, a plebiscite is used to gauge public opinion about an issue, while a referendum is used to make a formal decision for the SU.