We have compiled a list of answers for the latest questions asked by candidates in the 2021 Leadership Elections, updated regularly.


Self-definition is perhaps most simply understood as an outward expression of your personal identity. How you choose to identify yourself. Self-definition is not only important in terms of defining one’s personal identity, but it can take on a political importance too, as recognition of the oppression that certain groups within our society face.

We feel it is important that these issues, and the students affected by them, are represented by students who have had first-hand experience of the oppression faced by those they represent. That is why, in order to be eligible for certain roles, during elections, we ask you to self-define.

We have compiled a list of RUSU student group definitions which should help with self-defining for RUSU elections.


This will depend on the election you are taking part in. If you are running for a Full-time Officer position, you cannot run for any other roles including other Full-time Officer roles, e.g. you cannot run for both RUSU President and Welfare Officer in an election – you will need to choose one role.

However, any eligible student can hold the following positions at the same time, and can therefore run for one or more in an election:

  • Part-time Officer (note: you can only run for ONE Part-time Officer role at a time, e.g. you cannot run for both International Students’ Officer and Women’s Officer at the same time)
  • Student Trustee
  • School Rep
  • Course Rep
  • NUS Conference Delegate
  • JCR Committee Rep

No. Unfortunately mandates cannot be shared at this time.

The elected candidate for all positions will spend a year in office.


To vote online

RUSU uses the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system which provides voters with much more choice and influence. STV means Candidates do not need the majority of votes to win, but instead a “quota” or proportion of the vote. The “quota” is determined by the number of votes cast and the number of posts to be filled.

When voting you will be asked to list your candidates in order of your preference (first, second, third and so on). You can vote for as many or as few candidates as you want.

When voting has closed, surplus votes can be transferred to a further competing candidate (according to the voter's order of preference) if the first choice candidate is eliminated during a count or has more votes than required for election.

Unlike other voting systems, where only a small number of votes actually contribute to the result, STV ensures that very few votes are wasted.

You can find out more about the voting system on the How to Vote page.


A manifesto gives you an opportunity to tell students why they should vote for you. It outlines what the candidate will do if elected and any relevant experience the candidate has which they feel makes them the best person for the role. For more information, see our guide to writing a manifesto.

We hope that you will be completely satisfied with our elections process. Should you have a complaint we want to work with you to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. All complaints should be made in writing to elections@rusu.co.uk.

RUSU gives all candidates (running in the Leadership Elections ONLY) the opportunity to have a headshot photo taken on a professional camera. These photos will then be used for promotional material such as the candidate's booklets.

You do not have to have your photo taken, but it is often a good idea because students (the electorate) will then have the ability to put a face to a name. People like to see who they are voting for!

No, not all of the candidates' meetings are compulsory. However, important information related to the elections will be given out at these meetings; check the annual elections timeline to find out when the meetings will be.

The candidates' breakfast meetings taking place every morning during voting week of main elections are compulsory for Full-time Officer candidates.

However, if you cannot attend for any reason, you should email your apologies to elections@rusu.co.uk at least an hour before the meeting so we can send you relevant information. If possible, we suggest that you send someone along on your behalf.


A diagram showing what roles different students are eligible for in the RUSU Main Elections

Yes, there is a provision within immigration law for Tier 4 visa holders to undertake full-time and part-time officer roles. Successfully elected full-time officers will be able to extend their stay in the UK under Tier 4. Further information regarding immigration issues and eligibility can be obtained from the International Student Advisory Team, email immigration@reading.ac.uk. For further guidance on working whilst on a Tier 4 visa please visit the University of Reading website.

If you are an international student you must ensure that any additional paid employment and/or voluntary work you undertake does not exceed 20 hours per week during term-time. Seek advice from the University Immigration Advisory Service if you are in any doubt about your working limits. Please email immigration@reading.ac.uk for more information.

If you are a Tier 4 student, you must ensure that you comply with the working conditions attached to your visa. For guidance on working whilst on a Tier 4 visa please visit the University of Reading website. If you have any doubts about your working rights and limits seek advice from the International Student Advisory Team by emailing immigration@reading.ac.uk or telephone 0118 378 8038.

For home students, please take a look at the University of Reading website for policy on how many hours full-time students are able to work during term-time.

If you have any questions or concerns relating specifically to immigration, please contact the International Student Advisory Team by emailing immigration@reading.ac.uk or telephone 0118 378 8038.

RUSU is committed to ensuring that its elections processes are fully accessible to the entirety of its membership. If your personal circumstances are such that you feel you will require extra support in order to take part in these elections, please contact Elections Team on elections@rusu.co.uk.

You do not need to have been involved in the Student Union or the NUS before to take part in any of our elections.

Students currently on an ERASMUS placement whose home institution is the University of Reading can run in our elections. Students whose home institution is not the University of Reading are not eligible to run in our elections.

Yes, students studying part-time can run in our elections. However, part-time Tier 4 students are not eligible to run because their visa does not permit employment or voluntary work of any kind.

Yes! Students on final year placements can stand for Full-time Officer positions, and students returning to study after their placement can stand for any of the positions (Full-time Officer, Part-time Officer and Undergraduate School Rep).

Yes, but if your offer to study at the University of Reading is dependent on you successfully completing your foundation course in order to move on to your next level of study and you are unsuccessful you may no longer be eligible if the role requires you to be in post for a full academic year.

Yes, you can run for a Full-time Officer position if you are on a course that finishes later than the start date of the role. RUSU will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that you can complete your studies whilst undertaking the role.

Yes, you can serve up to two terms in office (and therefore re-run for a second term) as a Full-time Officer, Part-time Officer, School Rep or Student Trustee.

Please note that you can only serve two terms in total for each role type, even if you want to run for a different position. For clarity, please see the following examples:

  • If you have been elected Disabled Students' Part-time Officer for the last two years, you cannot then run for any other Part-time Officer position for a third year. However you could still run for a Full-time Officer, School Rep or Student Trustee role.
  • If you have been elected Disabled Students' Part-time Officer for one year, and then been elected as Women's Part-time Officer, you cannot then run for any other Part-time Officer position. However you could still run for a Full-time Officer, School Rep or Student Trustee role

Please email elections@rusu.co.uk. If you have any queries about re-running if you are currently in an elected position and are unsure about your eligibility.

Candidates Question Time

Full-time Officer Question Time is a public forum where candidates can address potential voters. It provides a chance for each candidate to explain to voters what they want to do if elected and to persuade students that they are the best candidate for the role.