This report carries out extensive background research to the election process of Leeds Metropolitan University Students Union (S.U.) and the attitudes of students attending the University. The findings show that students do not feel there is an effort to engage them in the S.U. election process with a clear lacking in overall communication. Candidates then face difficulty in accessing students who have an National Union of Students (N.U.S) membership card which enables them to vote, as many students are either a) unaware of the rewards of voting and owning a membership card, or b) do not feel any personal benefits of associating with the S.U. The report concludes with realistic ways to improve communications over the election process to result in raised levels of voting numbers. Key recommendations emphasis the need of increased and improved communication channels with students about the elections, through the S.U. and supported by the University. This requires the augmentation of advertising about the elections so students are aware of why they should vote, who they can vote for, when voting is taking place, where voting can be done and how to vote. The Student Union is experiencing significantly low levels of participating members, and more specifically, members who take part in voting. This is a nationwide problem, reflecting the poor general voting turnout at a governmental level as well. People no longer feel obliged to vote, it is not considered to be part of the ‘norm' (Rogders, 2006). The Student Union is legally a separate entity from the University, however they are closely related, in that the Student Union (S.U.) receives finance from the University and the University uses the Union as a communication channel with its students.
[...] His suggestions can be beneficial for future upcoming elections at Leeds Metropolitan University, he identified the key to successful involvement was to create an atmosphere that would allow students to feel more confident and to come and vote Loughborough University The techniques used by Loughborough University in the election process to understand how they increase student voting were studied. They are as follows: Ballot boxes Ballot boxes are used in popular areas such as the student union bar, restaurants and sports areas, students are therefore made more aware that elections were taking place, it also gives students a chance to ask questions, gather information and interact with the candidates. [...]
[...] The Client Consultancy Group were approached by Martin Rushall (Returning Officer) to conduct research into the current election process at Leeds Metropolitan University and investigate the apparent apathetic attitudes of student towards voting at S.U. elections. The conclusions of this report are then intended as a guide to increase S.U. voting numbers at the University. The critical issue surrounding the lack of interest in voting is that of culture, both within the internal environment at Leeds Metropolitan University and the UK as a whole. [...]
[...] Leeds Metropolitan University Student's Union 2007 Achievements The SU has succeeded in getting students involved in some of its previous on-going campaigns through face-to-face communication. For example Jodie Tumelty, SU President 2006/7 achieved in taking full coach of students to a up Fee' rally in London, where previously only one or two students would attend this event. Students were approached in their Halls of residents informed directly about the event and how to get involved. The annual budget for campaigns was allocated to cover all election costs throughout the year. [...]
[...] for example within the Prospectus and on the Leeds Met website homepage Introduce a combined Leeds Metropolitan University and Student Union Student Card. Students have many things to consider and manage, particularly when they are first inducted and at the beginning of each academic year, having to actively seek out and apply for an SU card may not be a priority. If students are automatically provided with a combined card, and made aware that they can opt out of S.U. [...]
[...] Introduce a combined Student Union and Leeds Metropolitan University card Re-assess the block grant given to the Student Union Communication Significant advancements need to be made regarding communication with students throughout the year, in order to keep them up to date on SU activities and election dates. 2006/7 saw little interaction between the SU and Leeds Metropolitan students due to general substandard input within this part of the SU. There are several methods that could improve this: 1. SU officers to communicate directly with students on a regular basis. [...]
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