There are some common misconceptions and doubts about the Student Elections that can put people off from running. Many of these are myths that simply aren't true! Don't be put off, get your nomination in. Even if you don't win, the process of taking part in the elections can be a great learning experience and help develop your skills.
Let us cast aside some of your doubts...
1. What difference could I make? Students never get listened to anyway.
Not true. ENSA can, and has, made a positive difference to the student experience. A few years ago the University had no plans to include sports facilities on campus. ENSA and the pressure of its sports clubs changed that. Until 2 years ago, Edinburgh Napier was one of the few universities that scheduled Wednesday afternoon teaching, ENSA changed that. There are lots of examples, big and small, of ENSA representation making a difference to what matters for students. You won’t change anything if you don’t try – and don’t leave it to someone else because, as you know, if you want something done properly, you’ve got to do it yourself.
2. You have to be into politics to get elected
Not true. You just need to have a message that students can support. You don't need to have any future political aspirations nor any particular political outlook.Speak to students and campaign to get your message out and persuade them to vote for you. Not all voters want politicians, they want people who are “real”.
3. I don’t have the right experience
You don’t need any previous experience of being a student representative, nor do you need any fancy qualifications. You just need to be a current (UK registered) student at Edinburgh Napier, be willing and able to listen to what students want, and give a voice to those issues to the University and beyond. It doesn’t matter what you are studying – anyone can run and anyone can win!
4. I want to continue my studies next year so can’t spare the time
If you aren’t graduating this year or don’t fancy taking a year out of your studies, there are volunteer posts available with a time commitment of just 4-6 hours per week on average, with less around exams and assessments. You can carry out your duties while still on your course next term, and earn valuable experience, boosting your skills development and career prospects in the process!
5. I would be better just getting on with my degree or finding a 'real' job.
More than half the people in this city have a degree, so what will make you stand out from them? You need 'add on' experience to give yourself a better start. If you volunteer for a part-time Executive position or take a year out to be a full-time paid President or Vice President, you will gain experience that will set you apart and should give your graduate career an early boost.
Past sabbaticals have been seen as good investments for prestigious graduate programmes, like Price Waterhouse Cooper and Blackrock. Former Elected Officers now have top jobs in PR and media, transport and defence engineering, production management, computer game design. We even have a Paralympian and the current Director of BBC Online among our past officers.
6. I have no chance, I don’t have a big team to help with my campaign
A large network of friends can help, but they don’t always deliver. You may discover like-minded people/candidates as part of the election process who will work alongside you and who you can build alliances with to support one another in campaigns across campus. So much depends on what your message is and the energy and passion with which you take that message out to persuade students to vote. Also, ENSA will provide channels and publicity for you to help sell your message and get you better known.
7. The nomination process is too complicated
It’s actually quite simple! You just need to fill in a nomination form and get it signed by any two fellow Edinburgh Napier students – they could be two of your classmates. Along with this, you need to write a short 300 word manifesto and we have a handy guide available on our website to help you with this. After this, the election process will be explained in full at our Candidates Briefing shortly after nominations close. You're also welcome to pop in for a chat to find out more at B34 Merchiston.
8. The Elections will get in the way of my assignments and coursework
ENSA can write to your Programme Leader on your behalf to request that you are given an extension on any project deadlines to allow you to participate in the elections. You shouldn’t need to miss any classes as you can plan your campaign around them – especially if you can find a team of friends to help out.