The SU is run by six full time Sabbatical Officers and nine part-time College Officers each year. Together they are known as the Executive. Alongside them are the Class Reps, who are elected by their peers to represent different courses, schools, and stages across the UCD student journey.
Sabbatical Officers, College Officers, Class Reps, Campaign Coordinators and the Entertainment's Forum attend Union Council every two weeks to discuss and debate issues important to students.
All students are eligible to run for SU roles. No prior experience is required.
If are interested in learning more about running for a SU role, please check out the different elections.
Any UCD student can run for any role. No previous experience is required.
We strongly encourage women, LGBTQ+ students, international students, students from diverse backgrounds, students with a disability and access students to run for Executive Roles.
The President of UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) is the CEO and chief spokesperson of the Union. They are ultimately responsible for all administration of the Union and the strategic development and direction of the Union.
The President is responsible for preparing the master budget for the Union for the year with the Board of Directors. They are ultimately responsible for the financial affairs of the Union.
The President manages the Sabbatical Officer team and helps to guide them. They also work with the Chief Operations Officer (COO) on the strategic direction of the Union. (The COO is ultimately responsible for all staff in the Union.)
The President coordinates College Officer activity, including arranging training for them during the Summer months and they should seek to attend College Councils.
The Education Officer is responsible for helping students who have an academic issue. Information that is disclosed to the Education Officer will always be kept in strict confidentiality unless it will put the welfare of the student at risk.
These issues can include examinations, assessment and associated appeals, maintenance grants, access to education, student discipline, library services, over crowding and resources.
They will attend all meetings of boards and committees that they are a member of. They coordinate and maximise student representation on other appropriate academic structures.
They are responsible for convening a meeting a day prior to Academic Council to discuss the agenda with student representatives who sit on the Council.
They provide careers information, supports and skills to promote employment opportunities for students.
They work with the Campaigns and Engagement Officer on at least two education focused campaigns in the course of the year.
The Graduate Officer helps graduate students with education, welfare and student experience issues.
They sit on boards where they represent the student voice for graduates with academics and management.
They work with the Campaigns and Engagement Officer to recruit graduate class reps.
They run weekly office hours on the Smurfit Campus in Blackrock and make themselves known to all graduates across the two campuses.
They lead national campaigns that are relevant to graduate students.
They meet with postgraduate Class Reps once a semester and run two events for graduate students each semester.
They organise the career development of all students.
To do this, they speak to the careers office regularly and provide information on graduate employment opportunities and graduate studies. They also encourage student involvement at careers and education fairs.
Campaigns and Engagement Officer
The Campaigns and Engagement Officer is responsible for the organisation, coordination and implementation of all Union Campaigns locally and nationally.
They organise the recruitment and training for class reps and seek to keep unsuccessful candidates involved in the Union.
They should have an active interest in national issues pertaining to student interests and seek to maintain relationships with other Students’ Unions for the pursuit of relevant national goals.
They have input into the running of the website and SU social media channels. They are also responsible for the distribution of all Union materials and notices throughout the University.
They are responsible for maintaining good relationships with societies and sports clubs on campus.
They promote all Union elections and referendums to the relevant constituencies.
The Welfare Officer supports and sign posts students who experience crisis situations. They help students who need help with sexual health, mental health, crisis pregnancy, financial hardship, substance abuse and equality issues.
They are the first point of contact for students who are in a crisis. All information given by a student to the Welfare Officer is handled with strict confidentiality.
They maintain good relations with all student support and welfare services in UCD.
They work with the Campaigns and Engagement Officer to organise two Welfare focused campaigns in the course of the year.
The Welfare Officer undergoes a lot of compulsory training over the Summer months.
The Entertainments Officer is responsible for the organisation and the coordination of entertainment events for members.
They convene and chair meetings of the Entertainments Forum and they recruit Entertainment Volunteers.
They organise several major events for students for the year and they work with the President to keep to a budget for events.
The Entertainment’s Officer helps Sabbatical Officers to run their events and helps College Officers and Class Reps with entertainment for their classes and schools.
They are responsible for all Union fundraising for charity and they organise one event each semester to raise money for the Union’s chosen charity partners.
They work with sports clubs, societies and UCD staff to maintain good relations with them and the Union.
To see all mandates for the Sabbatical Officer roles, check out the SU Policy Book on
Sabbatical Officer Role Work Conditions:
Full-time, paid role
35 hours per week (9am-6pm Monday to Thursday and 9am-12pm on Friday)
Flexibility with working hours is essential. Expect many late nights and early mornings.
Time in lieu will be offered to offset some late evenings or early mornings where possible.
20 days annual leave. Please note that annual leave cannot be taken during busy periods, including orientation week, freshers week, revision weeks and exam weeks.
Health Science Officer
Engineering and Architecture Officer
Arts, Humanities and Social Science Officer
Agriculture, Food and Vet Science Officer
College Officers set up two College Councils every semester. This is a meeting between a College Officer and the Class Reps in their constituencies. The President of UCDSU will sometimes attend College Councils.
College Officers are responsible for distributing information and implementing campaigns of the Union in their constituencies.
They are the main link between students, Class Reps and the Union. They raise awareness of issues that are important to the students in their College at Union Executive meetings and Union Council.
College Officers will pursue the interests of their constituents with the help of Sabbatical Officers.
The President and the Campaigns and Engagement Officer will help College Officers to perform their duties and provide training for them during the Summer months.
College Officers are responsible for recruiting class reps in their own constituencies.
Oifigeach na Gaeilge / Irish Language Officer
The Irish Language Officer promotes the Irish language in all aspects of the Union and they aim to develop a bilingual culture in the University.
They advocate for bilingual signage on campus and meeting with the University and residents of campus accommodation in Irish language schemes.
They organise the Union’s ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge’.
Advocate for the creation of an Irish language version of the current constitution.
College Officer Role Conditions:
Part-time, voluntary, unpaid role
Attendance at Council and Executive meetings on Mondays during term from 6pm-8pm
Convene two College Councils per semester
How to Vote
All students need to register at vote.ucdsu.ie/registration
Registration is open to all students now.
Each candidate will make a manifesto. This is your opportunity to tell students why they should vote for you and to show your ideas for the role you are running for. Make sure to do a lot of research for your manifesto.
It is important that you put forward ideas that have been thought out and that you know what steps to take to achieve these goals.
You need to be able to explain these ideas and sometimes defend them when questioned at hustings, by student newspapers or by students you are canvassing.
Top tip: Come to the campaign workshop on 25 February at 6pm to get ideas and tips on making a strong manifesto.
Nomination Forms will be available online from 5pm on Friday 22 February.
You will need to collect 75 signatures online from students by Friday 5 March at 6pm. Any updates to this process will be explained by the Returning Officer when nominations open.
If you are running for a College Officer position you will need to collect 50 signatures from your own constituency. If you are running for a Sabbatical Officer position you can collect signatures from all constituencies.
Tip #1: When collecting signatures, listen to students about what they want to see in the Union. Then make sure these needs are addressed in your manifesto.
Tip #2: Get more signatures than you need so more students get to know you and your ideas.
Your Campaign Manager is a very important part of your campaign. They will help you to write your manifesto, create your strategy, develop your design materials, gather a campaign team and lead them.
They are the person who will keep you and your team on track when campaigning gets busy and stressful.
Tip: Previous successful candidates have suggested that you should choose someone you know well as your Campaign Manager because they will know best how to steer you.
Running a campaign is not a one-person job. You will need to ask a few people to help.
You can assign roles to members of your team, such as, Campaign Manager, Social Media Manager, Canvass Lead, etc. There are no required roles, this is completely up to you.
Make sure to create a bond with your team and organise to do something together. It can be as simple as having a coffee or cooking a meal together (on Zoom this year!).
Campaign teams that seek to put their opponents down rather than running on their own ideas often fail to win elections.
‘When they go low, we go high’
– Michelle Obama
Leave it to the newspapers to call people out and stick to what is important to you. Focussing on bringing down other campaigns often ends in the demise of your own.
Election Materials Deadline
All candidates will need to submit a digital poster, bio, tag line/slogan, passport photo, manifesto and specific social media content by 12 March 2021. This content will be shared on the SU website and social media channels. All details of what is required will be set out by the Returning Officer when nominations open.
One of your campaign tools is to lecture address. This involves making a brief speech to a class.
You should try to make a timetable of which lectures you plan to lecture address and what times the are on. Try to address all constituencies at some point if you are running for a Sabbatical Officer position.
You can request access to a class by emailing the lecturer and asking their permission to make a brief speech at the beginning of the class. If there are other candidates waiting to speak, be polite and make sure to not take up all the time.
There is a master timetable where you can see what classes are on and when. See here
Ask your friends which of their classes would be good to address and make them the priority.
Canvassing is speaking to students and asking them to vote for you. This can be one on one, in groups or when making speeches.
It is important for you and your team to speak to students about your manifesto points and to encourage them to vote for you.
Always treat other teams with respect and encourage your team to do this too. Campaigns have been lost by campaign teams who get a bad reputation for not conducting themselves well during canvassing.
Make sure your interactions are short, sweet and informative and always treat others how you would like to be treated when canvassing.
If you are interested in running for an Executive position or if you are just thinking about it, you are welcome to come.
You will meet the Returning Officer, who runs elections for the SU. The Returning Officer will explain how the nomination period will work and how to collect your signatures.
There will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions. If you are on the fence, or thinking about running, it is highly advised that you attend. Campaign teams are welcome too.
This workshop is an introduction to campaigning for an Executive Officer role in UCDSU.
It will be packed with tips on manifestos, canvassing, using the online voting platform and lecture addressing.
This open to candidates and their teams.
This workshop will teach candidates how to make their own graphics for their campaign.
There will be a brief demo of Canva, a free and easy to use graphic design tool and a chance to make a sample graphic, with a Q+A session at the end.
Hustings is an event where candidates get a chance to publicly address students. Each candidate delivers a short speech and then answers questions from a panel and from the audience. It is open for all students to view and to ask questions.
You should write your speech and get plenty of practice delivering it. Make sure to include all your main manifesto points and be clear why people should vote for you.
To prepare for the Q+A section, ask your team to ask all the questions they can think you might be asked, including the questions you hope you won’t be asked!
Make sure you know how to achieve your manifesto goals.
A key mistake that is often made by candidates is to propose a change that is not possible, which is widely known by the student body. This type of mistake is usually uncovered at Hustings. To avoid making this mistake, research your manifesto goals and plan out the steps you need to take to achieve your manifesto points.
Sign up here:
The University Observer and the College Tribune are the two newspapers on campus. They usually interview all the candidates for Executive Elections. The University Observer usually film their interviews also.
There is no specific date for these, as they are organised directly by the individual newspapers. They usually take place shortly after nominations close.
Tip #1: Be prepared to speak about your motivations for running, about any previous experience you have and what you hope to achieve in the role. You will also usually have an opportunity to go through your manifesto points and respond to questions on them.
Tip #2: They often ask what University Boards your role usually sits on, which you may not know the answer to without asking the SU in advance.
You can also find information on University Boards here.
What to know before you run
Look at the UCDSU constitution here.
It will tell you how the SU is structured, the rules it is bound by, as well as details about SU roles. It is important that you are aware of the constitutional elements of your role.
Look at the UCDSU Policy Book here. The Policy Book holds all the current mandates which Executive roles must work on. Mandates are put forward by members of Council, debated and voted on. If a majority of Council vote in favour of a mandate then it is added to the Policy Book and has to be worked on by specified roles for the next three years or until the goal has been achieved.
If you are running for a Sabbatical Officer position you will notice that there are a lot of mandates you would have to work on in your role. We recommend becoming familiar with these mandates and ensuring you will be comfortable with pursuing them and have ideas of how you can do that.
Some mandates may not be in line with your own personal opinions. In a Executive Officer role, you will be obligated to work on the mandates in the Policy Book regardless of your own personal or political beliefs. You will need to work on behalf of the student body and work towards achieving these mandates.
We encourage you to come and view Union Council online to see how it all works. To see the timetable and to register to view Council, visit here.