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2021 SUPRA election results see international students hold strong

SUPRA has historically seen very low engagement from students.

The results of the 2021 Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA) Council elections, announced on Tuesday, saw the continued dominance of international student factions.

Of the 38 candidates who nominated for a Councillor position, 27 were elected. 

All six tickets were based around international student groups, including Alpha (which secured six seats), Ubridge (five), Vision of Us (four), Teamup (three), Smile Quokkas (three) and Pineapple (three).

2020/21 President Minran Liu, as well as previous President Weihong Liang, were returned as General Councillors.

Some of this year’s Councillors are no strangers to student politics, with outgoing USU Board Directors Benny Shen and Di Wang, and 2020 USU Board candidate Ada Choi all securing a seat.

SUPRA is the peak representative body at USyd for postgraduate students. 2021’s candidate field was mostly indistinguishable in terms of policy; most candidates  broadly promised to organise social events, advocate for academic concerns and provide career opportunities.

SUPRA elections tend to be apolitical, with tickets instead built around social groupings. Candidates do not have to run as part of a ticket.

SUPRA has historically seen very low engagement from students, with voter turnout reaching only 4% in 2019.

For an organisation which receives almost $2 million in SSAF funding (more than the undergraduate SRC) and which provides stipends to senior roles, SUPRA has previously struggled to increase its visibility and advertise its services to postgraduate students.