Committee elections during these unprecedented times

Yes, it is yet another corona-related blog. I hope you’re all okay during such trying times. 

Clubs, Societies & Projects (CSP) are integral to the student experience at university. At Imperial, we have over 340 CSP. They are all run and led by students for students. I decided to write about how a CSP committee is elected usually elected and how elections occurred this year

Some background details

The Clubs are mainly for sports. They play both competitively in London-wide and national leagues, and casually for social participation. Clubs is often used interchangeably with Societies which is a term used to describe any student group. Our societies have an immensely diverse range from departmental and academic to Arts to cultural and religious societies. Projects are student-led initiatives to support charities and undertake work in the community. Semantics don’t matter too much but the point is that there is something for everyone 😀

Back in precedented times

In previous years, CSP elections were run in one of the two following ways:

  • CSP online elections (eVoting): these are conducted via the student union online voting platform which is called eVoting. eVoting allows all elements of the election process to be conducted online. The union sets deadlines for each step. It usually starts with nominations which is then followed by manifesto submission. After this. voting opens, and it remains open for a few days. Once voting closes, results are finalised and release on the union website. Online elections take place thrice a year; Leadership Election (spring term), Summer Elections, and Autumn Elections.
  • Annual general meeting (AGM): the timetable for this form of elections is set by the current committee. Therefore, it is mostly up to them when the AGM takes place.  The usual choice is spring or summer term. The steps are the same. You nominate yourself and submit a manifesto through an online form or email to the current committee. The current president/co-presidents of the society runs the AGM whilst it happens. Voting happens using ballots or an online form during the AGM after candidates present their vision for the society. Depending on the size of the society, the committee may announce the results at the end of the AGM. Alternatively, they are released on later date.

The number of members in each CSP determines the way the elections will take place.

During these unprecedented times

As you could have guessed. All elections are taking place remotely now. It is the Summer Online Elections season and some CSP still have vacant positions! However CSP who used to elect their new committees using AGMs, opted to running their AGMs over Zoom. I have attended a few Zoom AGMs and I can confidently report that the fact that they are remote now did not affect their integrity or fairness. In the light of the pandemic, committees adapted the best they can to ensure that their CSP do not suffer in the upcoming year.

An example of an AGM during these unprecedented times
From the Imperial Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society remote AGM over Zoom a few weeks ago

 

I hope this has been somewhat informative!

Stay home, stay safe, stay sane. 🙂

Kinan

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