It’s that time of year again – SRC elections are once more upon us, and campus is once again filled with coloured a-frames, t-shirts, and extremely dense morning foot traffic down at Redfern Run.
For most students, the campaign is three weeks of trying to avoid campaigners and wondering why it all takes so bloody long and who cares anyway. I’ll admit – that was me in my first year of uni. It’s very easy to dismiss student elections as just a cynical power play by ambitious student politicians – and maybe that’s partially true – but whatever you think of the campaigners and candidates, the reality is that the SRC is an extremely important student organisation and you absolutely should care who’s running it.
Why? Here’s a few reasons:
1. You fund it: every student pays what’s called the Student Services and Amenities Fee each year which funds student organisations like the SRC (this year, roughly $1.6 million of student’s money went into the SRC’s coffers). That means funding hugely important programs like the free legal and casework service, the free tax help service, the second-hand bookshop, and student campaigns around a heap of issues. These programs make a huge difference to the lives of students, in some cases the difference between being able to study and graduate or dropping out of uni.
2. It represents you (if you’re an undergrad): the SRC is the representative body for all undergrads at USyd. The students and staff who work here make submissions and representations on behalf of students across a range of issues, like international student travel concessions, simple extensions and special considerations, and sexual assault and harassment on campus to name some from this year alone. And we make a difference! We’ve saved simple extensions and extended them across all faculties, pushed for a review into the special consideration system, shone a light on sexual harassment and assault on campus and in our colleges, and held the uni to account on how students are assessed and admitted.
3. Who runs the SRC does make a difference: like any organisation, the SRC has had its share of good and bad student leaders over its 80+ year history. Many of those have gone onto be leaders in other areas of society, such as politics, law, arts, and advocacy. During their time here, our student reps have achieved amazing things for students. We’re being paid by you and entrusted to protect your interests.
The most important thing to do is to seek out information about each team and candidate – who they are, what they want to do for students, and what their vision is for the SRC. Be informed, listen, ask questions, and most importantly – vote! For no other reason, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain!
Enjoy week 8!