By Carys Hill, Women’s Officer for Warwick Labour
As many of you will be aware, our elections are fast approaching! Our Annual General Meeting will take place Friday Week 9, where we will elect our new exec.
It’s an exciting time, and standing for an exec can be a fun process. At Warwick Labour, we like to keep our elections as stress-free as possible. So, before we go into each role and what it does, I thought I’d give some pointers on the process of our elections:
- You can stand for up to two roles, and a Liberation Officer position (if you define in a caucus), as a sole candidate or on a joint candidacy.
- During the AGM, the other candidates will leave the room, and you will present your manifesto and give a speech of up to two minutes. Don’t worry – ‘manifesto’ isn’t as scary as it sounds! It’s just a powerpoint slide with a few bits and bobs about why you’d be good for the role (such as your experience) and what you’d like to do with the role, should you be elected. For example, if you’re standing to be Social Secretary, you might present some socials you’d like us to do, or some ways in which we could improve members’ welfare during socials, etc.
- After you have spoken, all candidates will be brought back in and members will ask you some questions.
If you’re standing to be a Liberation Officer, caucus elections take place separately from the main AGM room. Only those in the caucus will be present, and each caucus election takes place separately at alternating times, so that if you define in multiple caucuses, you have the opportunity to participate in all their elections. There is no difference in how the caucus elections are run – you will present your manifesto, give a two minute speech, and be asked questions from caucus members alongside the other candidates.
Alright, now onto the roles…
Chair: Chair oversees the work of the committee members, giving the green light to projects and offering advice. Chair – as the name suggests – chairs exec meetings where we discuss the club’s events and future, and is the external ‘face’ of the society; this includes sitting on the Warwick and Leamington CLP executive. For more information on being Chair, have a look at Julia’s blog post! Read it here: https://warwicklabour.org/2018/01/25/what-does-a-labour-chair-do/
Talks and Events Officer: this role involves coordinating and inviting speakers, which in recent years has included Ed Miliband, Jess Phillips, Andrew Adonis and Tristram Hunt. You will have to research and contact potential speakers, invite them in, arrange the logistics of the events and introduce them to the club. Talks and Events Officer also organises all non-social events, such as cross-party debates, and right now spearheads Labour’s weekly discussion session, Lefty Lattes (this particular job can be done by anyone voted by the Exec, but Emma is doing it this year). Emma, our current Talks and Events Officer, has sent around 70 emails…so if you’re going for this role, you’d better get your email etiquette down!
Internal Campaigns Officer is responsible for organising both the club’s campaigning efforts within the Students’ Union, and our priority campaigns (we endeavour to do at least one per term). Past internal campaigns have included a collection for Coventry Haven, a Register to Vote drive, collecting for MIND and raising awareness of the mental health services available to students. The role of the Internal Campaigns Officer with our campaigning efforts within the SU includes submitting motions to the SU referenda (as an individual on behalf of the society – past motions have included increasing mental health funding) and getting Warwick Labour involved in campaigning for candidates during the SU Sabbatical Officers elections.
External Campaigns Officer liaises with local Labour Parties (CLPs) with regard to campaigning activities. This involves coordinating the club’s leafleting, door-knocking and phone-banking sessions. We like to have one external campaign every fortnight, however this increases during events such as General Elections and Council Elections. For this role, it’s useful to have experience with campaigning, and navigating CLPs. You’ll be in charge of our efforts during General Elections and Council Elections, as well as our general external campaigns outside of election season (for example, last year we delivered leaflets for student residents in Leamington for Matt Western MP). This involves organising the event itself – when/where – and also liaising with the local CLPs and its members to find out who wants us to campaign, when and where. Don’t worry though – all these contacts will be passed over to you from the previous External Campaigns Officer!
Publicity Officer handles the society’s publicity, which involves sending our weekly email updates during term time (don’t worry, the Chair writes it – you just send it out!). You are in charge of updating our website, uploading minutes from exec meetings and publishing members’ blog posts. You also create all our visual and audio content – such as the banners for our events, discussion group and social media. For this, you’ll need a decent(ish!) grasp of photoshop…don’t worry though, James – our current Publicity Officer – can pass you on all of his tips n’ tricks.
Social Media Officer does what it says on the tin – you’re in charge of all our social media! This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, although we currently only use Facebook and Twitter. If you’re going for this role, get your witty event descriptions at the ready! You’ll be regularly updating our Twitter and Facebook, and also create and upload all the Facebook events. So, the Publicity Officer will send you over the banner for the event, and you’ll create it (with the help of the exec member holding the event, such as the social sec), and then publicise it on our Facebook page, private discussion group and Twitter.
Treasurer handles all the club’s financial accounts, and all decisions that involve spending money have to go past you first! The role involves organising receipts for materials for the society, for example leaflets purchased for internal campaigns, or taxis bought for external speakers, and ensures there’s enough money coming in and out of the bank for the expenses of the society. Excitingly, our current Treasurer, Adam, secured us funds this year for a shiny new Warwick Labour banner!
Social Secretary organises regular socials for the society throughout the year – we usually have one a week. We have our regular, annual events such as the Red Tie Dinner in term three, where everyone whips out their glad rags, and other events such as laser tag and Dress as a Tory. It’s also great to bring something new to the table, for example in term one, we had a Charity Shop Crawl! Social Secretary has a crucial role of ensuring all socials are inclusive, with a friendly, welcoming environment. It’s therefore important, as Social Sec, that you liaise regularly with the Liberation Officers, who can help you in ensuring all socials guarantee the welfare of our members. Social Sec is a busy role with one social a week and big events such as the Red Tie Dinner, so it’s preferable if you have good organisation skills!
Secretary oversees scheduling and recording the minutes of exec meetings, as well as organising the society’s internal elections, the election of our Labour Students delegates, and room bookings. Every week you’ll be responsible for putting up a Doodle poll for exec members to fill in, to decide when the exec meeting is held. With a busy calendar and a forgetful exec, your job will also include regularly nagging exec members to fill in your polls! For secretary, it’s important to be good at organisation, and keeping up with our calendar so you know, for example, when we’re in need of a room booking.
Liberation Officers: Warwick Labour has four caucuses – Women’s, BAME, LGBT+ and Mental Health and Disabilities. All Liberation Officers have the responsibility of encouraging the participation of their caucus members within our society, sit as representative members of their caucus’ on the exec to voice any concerns regarding the liberation, accessibility and welfare issues affecting, or potentially affecting, their caucus members.
- Women’s Officer aims to hold weekly caucus meetings, providing an accessible access point for women into the broader Warwick Labour society. As Women’s Officer, it’s good to keep an eye on events that might interest your caucus with societies such as Warwick Anti-Sexism Society.
- BAME Officer also holds regular caucus meetings and keeps up to date with events by other relevant societies, such as Islamic Society and Warwick Anti-Racism Society. You will also be in charge of coming up with BAME caucus-led talks; for example, we recently had a Lefty Lattes on whether Labour is still the home of BAME individuals.
- LGBT+ Officer holds caucus meetings, and spearheads caucus-led talks such as our recent Lefty Lattes on Labour’s LGBT+ policy, and keeps up to date with Pride. In the past, the LGBT+ Officer has organised talks on caucus issues such as Sex and Relationships Education.
- Mental Health and Disabilities Officer also holds caucus meetings, keeps engaged with societies such as Enable, and encourages regular Mental Health and Disabilities campaigns and events. For example, this year we held an internal campaign raising money for the charity MIND and raised awareness of the mental health services available to students, and Laura – our current Mental Health and Disabilities Officer – suggested we invite Emily Brothers to give a talk, on her experience being blind and Trans in politics.
…. And breathe! Warwick Labour has thirteen exec positions, so there’s a lot to consider. If you’ve got any questions about particular roles, feel free to contact the current relevant exec member – they’ll be more than happy to give you some more details on the role, and answer any questions you have. We’re also holding a Meet the Exec on Thursday Week 8 at 6pm in R0.14, straight after Lefty Lattes, where you can have a chat to exec members about their roles and ask them some questions.
Nominations open Tuesday Week 8. Email your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org – the deadline is Tuesday Week 9. Also, remember in your email to note your preference: for example, if you’re standing for Social Sec and Internal Campaigns, note which one – should you win both – you’d prefer (you can just list them 1 and 2).