Jargon Buster.

With elections nominations open, you may have heard some complicated language being used. We want elections to be as accessible to as many people as possible, so we’ve created a list of words and terms to give you some clarification.


The slip where a voter places their vote and marks their choice. Unlike national elections, we use online ballot papers during the voting period.


The act of attempting to gain votes in an election through a variety of means, including using social media, banners, and talking to students.


A person running for a role.


Similar to campaigning, this is the attempt to gain votes from the electorate.


The individuals able to vote in an election. At Royal Holloway, this means any student who is a member of the Students’ Union. Unless you have opted out, you are automatically a member of the SU, and are therefore eligible to vote.

Ex Officio

Certain roles are automatically given membership of Executives and committees due to the role/position they hold. An example of this is that the President and College Principal are ex officio members of College Council.


A form of interview or debate for candidates. This often takes shape in the form of a Candidate Question Time event, held during the voting period - ours will be held on Thursday 10 March 2022.


The individual who currently holds a role. For example, Henn Warwick is currently the incumbent for the position of President.


A document outlining the aims of the candidate, including policies and goals for their year in office.


The process of putting yourself forward for a position. Once you nominate yourself you will become a candidate.

NUS Delegate

A student representative from the University who represents Royal Holloway Students’ Union at the NUS (National Union of Students) Conference.

Officer Elect

A newly elected individual who will soon be beginning their term, they can also be referred to as an incoming officer.

Outgoing Officer

An individual currently occupying a role or position, who will leave at the end of their term.

Returning Officer

The individual responsible for ensuring fairness in the elections. For the main elections, this role is filled by a representative from the National Union of Students, and the role of Deputy Returning Officer will be filled by the Students’ Union’s Deputy Head of Membership Support and Engagement, assisted by the Student Voice Manager.

R.O.N (Re-open Nominations)

An option on each of the roles. This is selected when a voter does not wish to vote for any of the candidates, and instead believes that nominations should be reopened for a new batch of potential candidates.

Sabb / sabbatical officer

One of the four officer positions (President, VP Education etc.) that you can run for. Each officer holds their position for one year, or two if they run for re-election and are successful. They lead on the Union’s campaigns, sit on important College committees, and are a big part of the decision-making processes within the SU. They are also trustees of the Students’ Union and sit on the Board of Trustees.

Student Trustee

A current student who sits on the Students’ Union’s Board of Trustees. They help guide the Students’ Union’s strategy and ensure work is being done to deliver the organisation’s aims and objectives. Sabbatical officers are automatically trustees of the Union while additional Student Trustees are recruited every year.

STV (Single Transferable Vote)

The voting system used by the Students’ Union. This system gives voters the ability to rank their candidates in order of preference. You can learn more about STV with this handy video.


A period of approximately 12 months where the elected individual is in office. Sabbatical Officers can be in office for a maximum period of 24 months.