Returning volunteer, Rahul Mathasing, explains the importance of the upcoming Exec elections and why you should vote.
“Not another one!”, the cries ring out across campus.
“Didn’t we just have one?”
To some, the academic year can seem like one long election, with someone trying to get elected for something. Silly costumes and weird challenges, or boring manifestos and a smart-looking picture as far as the eye can see.
Whilst it can seem a bit tedious, elections are a key part of what makes the Students’ Union tick over. Fundamentally it’s a democratic organisation with representatives left, right, and centre.
This is even truer when it comes to the Exec Elections. Here we have a collection of people who have either had the most incredible experience at Loughborough and want to share that, or have spotted something that they would like to change; either way, they want to make a difference to the Student experience. In order to do that though, they need members of the Students’ Union to vote for them. As representatives of the whole student population, the more people who vote and have a say, the more representative the Executive is.
The number of votes has varied over the years, peaking at about 7,500, and dropping to as low 5,000. However, with a student population of around 18,500 – that’s not really ideal on paper. Yet, when compared to other SU’s across the country, our voting proportion is actually higher. Bigger Universities have higher numbers but lower percentages… We had to find a way we would win something, this is Loughborough after all.
Still, that percentage could be higher.
But what’s actually going on?
Well, the candidates will be revealed on 28th February, campaign for a week, and try to get students excited about the elections and hopefully win some votes along the way. They’ll go through a gruelling week, with the soapbox on 1st and 2nd March being one of the toughest processes, but it’ll be so worth it by the end… Or it will be a crushing experience, draining you of all motivation; fun times.
When I went about campaigning, dressed as a six-foot-two-and-a-bit Lion, I did feel a bit ridiculous and everybody was a bit confused and turned off by the idea of the whole thing. “Why should I take it seriously if they aren’t?”, which is a very valid question.
So over the last 2 years, the themes and costumes have been stripped away, and the candidates have no gimmicks to hind behind; it’s all about the people, their ideas, and what they stand for. These people can make a real change to how you experience University. The Union isn’t just a nightclub that plays the same 3 songs every night – it’s a place and its organisation is supposed to ensure you have the best time at University possible, whether that’s help with academic or personal issues, it’s there for you.
As good as the candidates and eventual officers may be, none of it matters unless the students have their say.
So let’s all take an interest and start asking the questions we want answers to, and when voting opens on Tuesday 3rd March (closing 6th March), let your voice be heard and make sure you vote.
Featured image by Rahul Mathasing