As we approach the SU elections again, the current portering situation highlights how important the collective Union is in decision making. Over the past few years I have been asked why people should vote and how it affects them. The truth is, the Union affects everyone during their time at University.
The Union is more than just a facilitator for societies and clubs, a way to improve your CV through volunteering and charity work, or a number of welfare campaigns. However, the value of these cannot and should not be underestimated. The people you elect represent you and your fellow students on a whole host of issues. From the portering debate, to the direction of the library, from the shaping of colleges on Heslington East, to improvements in disabled access- the range of representation is vast. It is crucial that the right people are present to do this.
The coming elections will give you the chance to be part of the workings of the Union. The life of an officer, no matter which area you are in, is unbelievably varied and confronts you with a whole host of experiences. Don’t let someone tell you it isn’t the done thing for a fresher to run or that you won’t win because you aren’t as well known as someone else. Experience is a valuable asset for any position, although it isn’t a pre-requisite for being elected; ideas and enthusiasm are crucial factors as well. Seize the opportunity and do what you want to do.
Over the next few weeks you’ll see a host of manifesto posters- don’t just vote for someone because their poster looks nice or they’re a friend of a friend. Take time to read what they want to do and what they have done. These things will define their time in office. If you want to be at the forefront and influence what happens in your Union and University, make sure you get involved in the elections. And if you would rather let someone else do it make sure you affect who they are; you have a vote, make sure you use it!