Whenever you have bought food or drinks on campus, attended any society or sports club, or just used any non-College facility in the last year, you have engaged with the Union.

Imperial College Union is the organisation that aims to represent the views and interests of all Imperial College students, by advocating student issues to the College, and enhance the student experience by hosting events and activities. All clubs and societies, student bars and shops, student campaigns, and departmental representatives fall under the umbrella of the Union.

You may have seen STAND adverts around campus - these are for the annual Leadership Elections that end in a fortnight, on 15th March, to elect students into key positions in Imperial College Union. These elections are both for conventional roles and Sabbatical positions. The conventional Union positions include everything from departmental representatives to club presidents and other voluntary positions that students hold alongside their studies; while students lucky enough to be elected to one of the Sabbatical roles will take a year off their studies or remain on a year if they are currently in their final year to take up a full-time, paid position.

The Sabbatical positions include the Union President, one of four Deputy Presidents with individuals mandates and spheres of responsibility, the Felix Editor, responsible for the weekly publishing of this very paper, and the President of the ICSMSU.

Nominations for all of these positions close today, March 1st, at noon.

As part of the campaigning for Sabbatical roles, a live debate between candidates running for these positions will be hosted on March 6th, from 16.00 – 19.00 at Metric. The debate will be a chance for the candidates to elaborate on their vision and motives beyond the limits of their manifestos and flyers. Candidates will first be given some time to introduce themselves, and will then be interviewed about their manifestos and plans in the role. The debate will be chaired by Charles Titmuss, Felix Comment Editor, who hopes to question candidates “about the future of the Union, the state of the Union, and what they will do to change it.”

The debate this year comes with many improvements from last year’s, which did not have ICTV running the event. The year before last, 2017, ICTV was involved in the debate and produced videos of the debate for each role, which can now be found on the Imperial College Union YouTube channel. Though this was not organised last year, ICTV has been invited back to the debate this year, ensuring all debates can be watched by those who are unable to attend live, allowing more students to make informed decisions about their vote.

Another way for students to keep up with the debates will be through the Felix Twitter account (@feliximperial), which will be live-tweeting throughout. Students are encouraged to submit questions they have for Sabbatical position candidates, to bring up issues they are concerned about and change they want to see in the Union. These questions can be submitted ahead of the debate at https://goo.gl/2Q8m4k.

Voting begins on Monday March 11th and closes on Thursday March 14th.. The results of the election will be announced the following night on March 15th, with a Results party thrown to celebrate the conclusion of another year of Leadership Elections.

These Leadership Elections will govern how the Union is run for the next academic year, students are therefore strongly encouraged to vote and have a say in their university experience for the next academic year and for years to come.