Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Democracy: A Student's Perspective

Walking through the Students Union in recent weeks is a far cry from the scene that usually meets the eye. Banners, posters, flyers and a hefty load of determined campaigners have been endlessly waiting to promote their electorate messages to the masses of un-be known student passer-bys.

Now that the elections are over, the final votes have been cast and the winners claim their new titles within the SU, the question that is on many students’ lips (journalists and others alike) is; have the elections really been a success?
The short walk through the SU is only the tip of the elections iceberg, if you like. Many don’t really understand what the candidates do on a day-to-day basis and what the individual campaigns have really meant to the candidates and their campaign teams as well as the mass of attractive voters that is the student body.

This year’s elections were voted for online. The second year using this method proved to be a success as many people took time out of their day to vote. Results showed that this new-age voting system reached out to many people, with the Education Officer post being the only one that had to be taken on to a second stage in order to define a winner.
The Chief Executive of the SU showed his enthusiasm for the still relatively new voting system. He said: “If you’re going to have a properly conducted election that is fair, which enables potentially 30,000 people to access it, you can’t do that for nothing”.

Many students did, in fact, use their vote, including Matt Richardson, 20, a second year Product Design student. Although he didn’t vote till late on in the process he still managed to ensure his voting voice was heard. He said: “I think it is extremely important to hold the elections, we live in a society where every person has the right to vote and we need to make sure that every person can voice their opinion and make themselves heard”.

First year student in Public Relations, Antonia Murray, 19, also got involved in the elections by casting her vote to good use. She experienced much of the campaigning first hand whilst around campus. She said: “I wanted to get involved and I wanted to hear what everyone had to say”.
“If everyone voted it would be fairer, people who don’t vote might complain [about the outcome]. I think everyone should be made to vote so that it’s fair” she added.
It seems that the responses from those who did vote, are mostly positive. However, for those who did not vote, the importance of the elections did not fall to the way side, the priorities of university life were simply elsewhere. Kirsty Hunter was one student who didn’t vote. She explained that due to a large workload at this time of year, there is not much time for much else. However she expressed that the elections are an important part of life at the University of Central Lancashire.

The democratic structure within the universit’sy elections was easily seen both in the Students’ Union and all around campus. The idea that every student matters and every vote counts encouraged many to have their say in the future of the SU. There is no doubt that the elections were a great success, socially and politically.
Student Union Chief Executive’s enthusiasm for the event shined through as he said: “People will learn a lot from it and develop skills from it and getting involved can be a life changing experience for people”.
“It’s fantastic”.

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