By Cristina Paolozzi, March 3 2020—
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — the Students’ Union General Election. How many of you collectively groan at the posters that pepper Mac Hall, or at the candidates who give a quick presentation at the beginning of your 2 p.m. lecture? It’s a big ask to be able to keep your eyes open, let alone listen to some guy implore you for your vote. And why should you? This upcoming school year will be tough — increased fees and tuition, apathetic university administration and a government more than happy to keep cutting costs at the expense of students. Things seem pretty bleak, and it’s understandable why students may feel as though the SU is something that acts as a resume line for the individuals lucky enough to get elected. Why should you vote in the SU election?
The Students’ Union is one of the easiest and most direct ways to ensure that external and internal boards and governing bodies have students’ best interests at heart. Whether it’s advocating for better mental health resources, ensuring that the cost of textbooks is mitigated with the use of Open Educational Resources (OERs) or even expanding the food options on campus, the SU makes a whole lot of decisions on behalf of students.
This year, the university went ahead and increased the cost of tuition for all new and returning students, to differing degrees. While it is understandable to feel as though the Students’ Union did little to help negotiate with the incoming government and university representatives on a certain outcome concerning the budget, it is exactly this body which will be still responsible when advocating for students next year, as the most recent budget announcement has the university anticipating more losses to our community. It makes no difference whether you believe the SU election is bogus because these positions have real consequences to the lives and education of U of C students. You are being asked to vote for individuals who genuinely believe they have the skills to make a change — and I don’t know about you, but I could never in a million years put my face on a poster and bug people in Mac Hall with a bucket of candy. It takes courage to put yourself out there like that, which should be applauded in its own right.
Sure, there are people who just want a resume booster, but it’s up to us to make sure that the SU has knowledgeable and reliable people working for us, who can manage to advocate for students when the going gets tough. Even though it may seem like a feat to even attend your geology lecture, make sure you pay whichever candidate who steps into your classroom at least a little attention, and make sure to vote on D2L from Mar. 3-5 — your U of C community is counting on it.