Zak Coleman leading a campaign against colleges' investments in fossil fuels last termRosie Smart-Knight

Zak Coleman, the SU’s current undergraduate president, will be seeking re-election as candidates announce their bids for this year’s election.

He’ll be facing off with the current Access, Education and Participation Officer (AEP), Zaynab Ahmed, for the role.

Other candidates have also announced their bids as part of the first in-person SU elections since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Voting will open at 9am on Monday 28th February, and close on Thursday (03/03) at 5pm, shortly after which the results will be announced.

So, who’s running for the roles?

President (UG)

Only two students are contesting the role of undergraduate president, both of whom already hold positions on the SU. This number of candidates is fewer compared to previous years, as four students ran for the job last year, and five fought it out in 2019.

Having studied HSPS at Jesus College, Coleman spent the past year prioritising divestment and the easing of student workloads by campaigning for a mid-term reading week. He’s lead several demonstrations and initiatives, one of which included giving “grades” to colleges based on their divestment record.

Zaynab Ahmed is the current Access, Education & Participation (AEP) Officer for undergraduates. A Classics graduate from Newnham, Ahmed ran for her current position on a manifesto promising to retain aspects of online teaching, like the ease-of-access to lecture recordings, as standard practice across all faculties, and to streamline the exam mitigations process for students.

President (PG)

Amelia Jabry, running for postgraduate president, is another candidate with experience on the SU. As the current postgraduate AEP officer, she successfully got the University to commit to eliminating application fees for doctoral courses and reducing the masters fee to £50.

She’ll face off against Savannah Phillips, an MPhil Philosophy of Science student at Magdalene College. Alongside her studies, Phillips is a content creator with over nine thousand subscribers to her YouTube channel which follows and myth-busts her day-to-day experiences as a postgraduate at Cambridge.

Access, Education & Participation Officer (UG)

Neve Atkinson is a History finalist at Murray Edwards College and the current undergraduate president of the SU’s class act campaign which represents those facing social, educational, cultural, or economic disadvantage at university – including estranged students and young carers.

She’ll take on HSPS student Lily Ingram: current Peterhouse JCR vice-president, class act officer for WomCam and activist with the Cambridge Period Project – a group determined to widen access to menstruation products.

Access, Education & Participation Officer (PG)

No candidates were declared.

BME Officer

Kefeshe Bernard will be running uncontested for the job.

They study HSPS and are the Jesus College student union’s environmental officer. They’ve worked with the UK Student Climate Network and Generation Green, and describe themselves as an “environmental liberation activist”. Bernard also competed as a Blues sprinter last summer, and keeps a YouTube channel documenting their time in Cambridge.

Disabled Students Officer

Elia Chitwa, a third-year NatSci and current undergraduate president of the SU’s LGBT+ campaign, is standing uncontested for the role. Before that role, Chitwa was the 2020-21 BME representative on the SU disabled students campaign.

Welfare & Community Officer

Daisy Thomas, a third-year at Robinson College, is running uncontested for the role.

Women’s Officer

Eseosa Akojie is a postgraduate student at Queens’ College who was elected as postgraduate officer for the SU’s BME campaign in November 2021.


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Her competitor, Marina McCready, is a Classicist at Clare College who has been the women’s rep in the SU’s LGBT+ campaign for the past year.

University Councillor

As was the case in 2021, the role of University Councillor is highly contested.

Three candidates are vying for the position, two of whom sit on the committee of the Cambridge Labour club (CULC).

Eve Blain is a second-year historian at Queens’ and current co-chair of the CULC. They’ll be up against CULC treasurer and Christ’s JCR president, Sam Carling, a second year NatSci. Ruari McColl, a first-year Economics student, is also campaigning to take on the non-sabbatical role.

This will be the third election cycle since the 2019 merger between two formerly separate student unions, the Graduate Union and CUSU – a move intended to improve the representation of postgraduate students at Cambridge.

Undergraduate turnout in SU elections nonetheless remains consistently higher – hitting 30% in 2021 – with lower postgraduate participation bringing down the average of overall turnout to 17.91%

Campaigning kicks off today (25/2) and in-person hustings will take place at 5.30pm next Monday (28/02) in the Lucia Windsor Room of Newnham College. Questions to candidates can be submitted via a form on the Cambridge SU website.

Varsity’s coverage of the election will continue throughout the week.