Why run to be an Officer?

There are so many reasons why you should consider running in elections, here are just a few below.

You will lead an organisation that affects the lives of students

As an elected Officer you will work with the University to make the future better for students, transforming their education and making everyday life fairer at Durham. You will drive change, review and implement policy, and ensure quality teaching and student experience. As an Officer, you have the chance to make real change happen for students.

You will lead, represent, advise and support over 18,000 different students across 17 different colleges. You will ensure the Union is truly owned by students and stands up for their rights. Being an Officer is about speaking up and out about things which others may forget or try to pretend isn't an issue – holding those with power accountable for actions which threaten the experience for students.

You will be able to work on issues and problems that you believe are key to students in Durham, as well as leading the Union on matters that crop up during the year.

You will gain key skills along the way, and leave ready for even bigger things

Going straight from study to working as an Officer is a unique opportunity to work at top board level within a well-established charitable organization, experiencing strategic and decision making processes, whilst working closely with the Union Chief Executive, University Senior Management and the Union Board of Trustees. A positions most graduates won’t get until several years into their careers.

Being able to talk about the projects you’ve led, strategic priorities you’ve identified and impasses you’ve navigated with key stakeholders are just a few of the incredibly valuable, career boosting experiences you’ll gain as a Student Officer.

More core skills [+]

  • Drive – demonstrating results and reporting key measures and impact from your officer priorities
  • Analytical thinking – problem solving on a daily basis, dealing with key decision making as a Trustee allows you to demonstrate how you break down a problem into its component parts, identifying implications and causal relationships
  • Conceptual thinking – having to deal with incomplete information and being able to recognise patterns and the key underlying issues, making the complex simple and finding creative solutions
  • Business sense – having to review the financial statements and management accounts. Being able to bring forward ideas for making or saving money
  • Influence – being at the helm of local and national campaigns, having to convince others of a view or position and engaging them to take the appropriate action
  • Leadership – leading on key organisational priorities, articulating a purpose for the group and motivating people to fulfil that purpose and to follow you
  • Teamwork – being able to see the issues from another person’s point of view and being able to work cooperatively and collaboratively with others such as colleges, student groups, the University, other SU

You will be part of two sub-committees of our Board of Trustees (out of HR, Finance, Audit & Risk, and Governance & Appointments) which will give you real working knowledge of critical business support functions. These will be chaired and supported by professional subject matter experts.

And you’ll have training and support on hand to help you as you go.

You will benefit from ongoing training from first class training providers, the National Union of Students (NUS) and Union staff, to enable you to develop the skills that you will need to undertake your role and that will prove invaluable in your future career. As well as learning about the organisation’s finances, democratic structures, activities and advice provision, you will also learn how to organise campaigns, lead projects, chair meetings and play an important part in identifying and leading the direction of the Union to ensure that it delivers on its strategic plan and meets the needs of all our membership.

You will have a mentor to support you in your time as an Officer as well as a member of staff assigned as your lead support.

We will provide you with opportunities to grow your network in the areas of your passion and future interest, whether that is higher education, academic affairs, student welfare, student activities, community engagement and impact, student politics, national politics or student experience, and the drive to widen participation and opportunities.