It’s that time of year again – SRC elections are once more upon us, and campus is once again filled with coloured a-frames, t-shirts, and extremely dense morning foot traffic down at Redfern Run.
For most students, the campaign is three weeks of trying to avoid campaigners and wondering why it all takes so bloody long and who cares anyway. I’ll admit – that was me in my first year of uni. It’s very easy to dismiss student elections as just a cynical power play by ambitious student politicians – and maybe that’s partially true – but whatever you think of the campaigners and candidates, the reality is that the SRC is an extremely important student organisation and you absolutely should care who’s running it.
Why? Here’s a few reasons:
1. You fund it: every student pays what’s called the Student Services and Amenities Fee each year which funds student organisations like the SRC (this year, roughly $1.6 million of student’s money went into the SRC’s coffers). That means funding hugely important programs like the free legal and casework service, the free tax help service, the second-hand bookshop, and student campaigns around a heap of issues. These programs make a huge difference to the lives of students, in some cases the difference between being able to study and graduate or dropping out of uni.
2. It represents you (if you’re an undergrad): the SRC is the representative body for all undergrads at USyd. The students and staff who work here make submissions and representations on behalf of students across a range of issues, like international student travel concessions, simple extensions and special considerations, and sexual assault and harassment on campus to name some from this year alone. And we make a difference! We’ve saved simple extensions and extended them across all faculties, pushed for a review into the special consideration system, shone a light on sexual harassment and assault on campus and in our colleges, and held the uni to account on how students are assessed and admitted.
3. Who runs the SRC does make a difference: like any organisation, the SRC has had its share of good and bad student leaders over its 80+ year history. Many of those have gone onto be leaders in other areas of society, such as politics, law, arts, and advocacy. During their time here, our student reps have achieved amazing things for students. We’re being paid by you and entrusted to protect your interests.
The most important thing to do is to seek out information about each team and candidate – who they are, what they want to do for students, and what their vision is for the SRC. Be informed, listen, ask questions, and most importantly – vote! For no other reason, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain!
Enjoy week 8!
Evan Jones and Marcus Won
The first month of the semester has been just as strong as any this year and we’re lucky to have remained so active. We attended the rally called by Community Action Against Homophobia on the anniversary of the 2004 amendment that specifically defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Some of our members attended various other rallies including the SCA Rally on the 17th of August, and then the NDA the week after. Members also came along for the immensely successful Wom*n’s Collective Protest held at Open Day. Massive congratulations to Anna Hush for putting this action together.
This month we were also lucky enough to see Radical Education Week happen and after seeing all the hard work that was put into organising it was an incredibly rewarding experience and we’re excited to see it grow over the next few years. With a variety of incredible workshops, there was something for everyone to learn. Thank you to everyone who put in so much time and effort into running the week.
Probably one of our biggest highlights so far was our Rainbow Wedding. Thank you to all who came along to support us and to watch us get married, I’m sure you’ll agree it was a truly exciting and fabulous day. We hope the SRC will continue to support the Rainbow Campus Campaign and our continued struggle against inequality at this university.
Looking to the future we have Queer Honi coming up. This launches in a couple of weeks and we’re excited to see it all come together. We have also been lucky that many of our members are now becoming more and more active and are bringing projects of their own. Amongst other initiatives we will be working on for the remainder of the year include putting together a library, and holding regular discussion groups to really focus on communal education, something that is immensely valuable in collectives and activism.
This has been an incredibly solid start to the second semester. Where this time of year is often a time that sees decreased engagement, we have seen our activism and involvement sustained which is very promising for the long term functioning and growth of the collective.