Next week, students will be given the chance to vote in new executives to the Student Union Society (SUS). In their year-long term, the current SUS executives have succeeded in some areas (the launch of the Advanced Leadership Program, reintroduction of the food bank), and failed in others (a cancelled $20,000 concert, failure to follow through on many stated initiatives).
If you don’t plan on voting because you believe who runs SUS doesn’t affect you, or because you aren’t familiar with the candidates and their values, goals, and visions, I urge you to reconsider. Just as who runs our country affects us as citizens, so do SUS executives affect students.
Student unions are intended to advocate for students, provide services to students, and to support students academically and otherwise. The entire point of a student union is to represent students, both internally and externally, and who we vote in is significant in determining how the SUS will be run, and by extension, what we as students get back from them. And what we get back from them matters considering the $141.23 we pay each semester for their various services.
The SUS has jurisdiction over clubs and associations (to which they now only provide funds for fundraising events) and the majority of the Student Union Building (any room or equipment in the SUB must be rented through them), the shuttle bus, and have the ability to plan and host events for students. In short, the SUS determines a substantial amount of student life at university outside of class time.
In case you missed the Q&A periods, The Cascade conducted interviews with prospective candidates: Tripat Sandhu (president), Gurvir Gill (vice president external), Thomas Cohen (vice president students), and Kimberly Hunter (vice president students). Jaleen Mackay (president) and Andrew Stahl (college of arts representative) were not available for comment. You can find the Q&As in the news section of this edition, or on our website.
Further, the Chilliwack campus candidate mixer is Wednesday, March 27 at 4 p.m. in Main Course CEP, and again Friday, March 29 at 4 p.m. in the SUB atrium. Take an hour out of your day to meet the people dictating a substantial part of the student experience and decide whom you’ll vote for. If you can’t make it to one of the mixers, check out each candidate’s statement on the SUS website.
The voting period runs from April 1-4, and can be done through your student email or at voting stations around campus.
As I said, student unions are there to serve the students. It’s up to students to decide if the student union is doing enough, and if they’re not, it’s up to students to speak up about it (through voting or otherwise). As with everything else, words aren’t enough. Action needs to be taken, and in this instance, it’s as easy as educating yourself on the candidates and, when the time comes, voting.
Image: Cory Jensen/The Cascade