To many students, the Edinburgh University Students’ Association elections are nothing to write home about. Each year, a handful of members of the student body go head-to-head for the chance to win one of the positions on offer. However, the results seem to not have much of an impact upon the general campus consensus. Even though every student has a vote, only a small proportion of the student body use it, so why should this time be any different?
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of work which goes into being a Sabbatical Officer. Many of us within the student body don’t tend to widen our radars to outside our own social spheres. We use the services, venues and events put on by the Students’ Association, but we don’t really think about what goes on behind the scenes. You might not think it, but Edinburgh University Students’ Association is a lot more than just Big Cheese.
A vital part of each and every sabbatical role is representation. Those that we choose, as a student electorate, become the spokespeople of this university’s student population. They are the ones that get a seat at the table, attending committees, sitting on panels and making decisions, frequently contributing the only student perspective.
Therefore, it is imperative that the right person for the job is given this responsibility. It has never been more important to choose, with motions such as the amendment to the Support for Study policy being put forward. Therefore ensuring that students’ opinions and concerns are properly represented should be top of the agenda. It must be a given that the little representation we do have on such a level is worthwhile and efficient.
Voting in the Students’ Association elections allows you that assurance. By helping to choose who gets that seat at the table, you are making sure that yourself and your fellow students are gaining the appropriate representation.
At a university where it would seem that the concerns of students can occasionally fall by the wayside, we must be certain of the suitability of those who voice them. The only way to do this is to vote.
Your vote is not just limited to Sabbatical Officers. Liberation Officers, School and Society representatives are all elected positions. Selecting the appropriate candidates to reflect and relay student issues is an indispensable way of making change. Although it may be easy to forget, our university is (somewhat) democratic and so, instead of complaining about too many deadlines, an inefficient counselling service or the lack of a semester one reading week, we must realise that it is up to us to elect someone with a greater capability than ourselves alone to see that these problems are resolved.
To cast your vote in the upcoming elections may seem trivial. It may seem a waste of your time. But the next time you catch yourself lamenting the price of Teviot Nachos or grumbling about the lack of seats in the library, remember, you have the opportunity to see that all this is changed. So, use it.
Image: Max Pixel via Creative Commons