The 2022 poll marks the third Cambridge SU election since the merger of the Cambridge University Students’ Union and the Graduate Union in 2020Louis Ashworth/Varsity

Campaigning for the SU Lent elections is in full swing, with polls opening at 9am this morning (28/02).

Cambridge SU is an organisation designed to “fight for, advocate and represent the interests and needs″ of all Cambridge students. The SU is led by a team of paid, full-time sabbatical officers, alongside a number of part-time volunteers known as Portfolio Officers.

This year’s election will see polls open for eight sabbatical officers and a number of voluntary positions, including a University Councillor, who sits on the University Council alongside the SU presidents, but is not officially part of the SU.

Votes are cast using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system via the Cambridge SU website. Students will be able to vote from tomorrow morning until 5pm on Thursday (03/03), with results due to be revealed later that evening.

Campaigning began on Friday (25/02) with all of the candidates’ manifestos now available to view online.

With the hopefuls set to speak at the hustings at Newnham tonight, here are some of the key issues in this year’s elections.


Several candidates have made Cambridge’s climate policy a key part of their campaigns, with Undergraduate President candidate Zak Coleman, as well as Postgraduate President candidates Amelia Jabry and Savannah Phillips promising to push for the University to adopt a 2030 net zero target.

Climate policy is also high on the agenda in the battle for University Councillor: Sam Carling says he will “keep the climate crisis on the agenda” and push for “more ambitious policies” at the University level. Eve Blain hopes to hasten divestment across the University and lobby to prevent companies “tied up with fossil fuels and arms” from working with the University Careers Service. Ruari McColl has pledged to support “full divestment” from fossil fuels and arms across the University by 2030.


Many candidates also pledge to push for further measures to implement decolonisation across different aspects of University life. Undergraduate President candidate Zaynab Ahmed has promised to create a “Cambridge-specific decolonisation manifesto”, to include measures such as curriculum reforms and enquiries into individual colleges’ links to colonialism. Coleman, her rival for the job, intends to create an SU “decolonisation hub” and push for mandatory anti-racism training for staff.

Both candidates for the Undergraduate Access, Education and Participation Officer job, Neve Atkinson and Lily Ingram, have also made decolonisation a priority, with Atkinson hoping to achieve this through a “Decolonisation Assembly”, while Ingram has pledged to make courses “more engaging and learning environments more welcoming.”

Kefeshe Bernard, running unopposed for the BME Officer position, hopes to create a “multi-disciplinary decolonised reading list”, which they describe as “sort of like iDiscover but prioritising authors of colour”.


Several candidates vow to make the SU a more social space, by opening new facilities or assigning new purposes to old rooms.

Zak Coleman wishes to open an SU bar and cafe in the new SU building, while Zaynab Ahmed wishes to create study spaces, a bar and a cafe in the current SU building, and allocate rooms to existing Cambridge societies.

In terms of facilities across the wider University, Ruari McColl is calling for the expansion of gender neutral bathrooms and working with Project U to extend the U-Bus route to include Girton and Homerton.


Improving student mental health was a visible concern across manifestos.

Zaynab Ahmed vows to create rewards for student achievements of a non-academic nature, and to standardise the intermission process across colleges. Zak Coleman supports delivering a reading week on the grounds that a break from academia mid-term would benefit student welfare.

Elia Chitwa, who is running unopposed to be Disabled Students’ Officer, pledges to lobby for students to have a choice between online and in-person access lectures, and says that they will review fitness to study procedures at both the University and collegiate level to ensure they cannot be used punitively.

Savannah Phillips, who is running for the Postgraduate President job, would review plans for a reading week, as well as make mental health first aid training compulsory for all supervisors. She would increase the visibility and support of Nightline, the telephone line open 24/7 for students struggling with their mental health.


Mountain View

Zak Coleman to run for re-election as SU undergraduate president

Meanwhile, Daisy Thomas, who is running unopposed for the role of Welfare & Community Officer, has made campaigning for the retention of the University Counselling Service self-referral system a key manifesto commitment.


Candidates have offered different ideas to make the SU more representative of the diversity of the community it serves, or to better advocate for marginalised groups in the University.

Savannah Phillips would create the position of LGBT+ officer at the SU. Women’s Officer candidate Marina McCready pledges to ease the process of changing names on University systems for trans and non-binary students. Her rival for the job, Eseosa Akojie, intends to work with local groups such as Cambridge Diamonds and the Encompass Network to improve inclusion for trans students.

Daisy Thomas pledges to campaign against the “University’s collabroation with Hostile Environment policies which target migrant students and workers.”

Neve Atkinson and Lily Ingram would both push for maintaining alternative exam arrangements. They would make sure all lectures are accessible, for instance by universalising the recording of lectures and their sharing on Moodle.


Improved access for postgraduate students is high on the agenda for the Postgraduate President candidates. Amelia Jabry would lobby for the creation of new bursaries for master’s students, and for every PhD offer to be matched with a funding offer. Savannah Phillips would campaign to scrap the remaining postgraduate application fee, after SU campaigning successfully decreased them this year.

Access for the student community as a whole is a key part of many manifestos. Neve Atkinson calls for making the accessing of hardship funds “more transparent and less intrusive”. For her part, Lily Ingram would “reinvigorate” the rent strikes, as well as install study skills workshops to decrease the attainment gap.