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Client consultancy project: Leeds Metropolitan University Student’ Union Elections

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  1. Executive summary.
  2. Introduction.
  3. Methodology.
    1. Primary research.
    2. Focus groups.
    3. Interviews.
    4. Other university research.
    5. Secondary sesearch.
  4. Findings.
    1. Questionnaires.
    2. Focus groups.
    3. Interviews.
    4. Other university findings.
    5. Summary of key findings.
  5. Conclusion/recommendations.
    1. Communication.
    2. Advertising.
    3. Technological.
    4. Finance.
    5. Summary.
  6. Bibliography.

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. [...]

[...] Random sampling was decided upon, selecting students in and around both Leeds Metropolitan Headingley campus and the Civic Quarter in the city centre. By conducting research around both university sites, it provides a more accurate view of all Leeds Metropolitans students, preventing bias toward Headingley campus students. The size of sample had already been set as 600 in the report proposal; however, the pilot questionnaire showed that the respondents were stating similar opinions consistently, making it unnecessary to ask this many. [...]

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