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Welcome to the SUPRA Bowl

It’s time for postgraduates to hit the ballot box, writes Mariana Podestá-Diverio.

They say the entire ecosystem would collapse if it weren’t for the tireless work of ants. It is frequently the case that something you’re barely aware of not only exists, but is also labouring away without your knowledge. Enter SUPRA.

The annual General Election of the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA) will take place later this month.

Postal ballots will be mailed out on April 14, and two physical polling days will take place on the April 30 and May 1, with booths in the SUPRA office on Science Road.

Twenty general councilors will be elected during this process.

Although all postgraduate students are automatically SUPRA constituents, one must become a subscriber in order to vote in the election. Subscription is free.

There are three major players in this election, as well as a number of individual candidates not associated with any of the three main groupings of candidates. Two of the groupings are right-leaning, and one is left.

Callum Forbes is one of the most prominent conservative candidates. Forbes made headlines in Honi last year for breaching the spending cap for a Sydney University Law Society (SULS) election campaign. Forbes declined to comment on his motivations for running.

Joe Callingham, another candidate, said he would run on a “platform of change from a position of experience”.

“SUPRA needs to morph to better represent postgraduate students,” he said.

A number of progressive students are running under the branding ‘Postgrad Action’.

“We are all activists, and we’re all committed to teaming up the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) to fight against any education cuts that we may encounter over the next few years,” said Brigitte McFadden, one of the Postgrad Action candidates.

SUPRA elections generally don’t gather the same amount of attention as their undergraduate counterpart, SRC elections. This may be due to the historically lower number of postgraduate students on campus.

In June, elected members of SUPRA’s general council will meet to elect an executive. The election of equity officers representing women, international students, indigenous students, queer students and students with a disability is held separately to the SUPRA general election.

SUPRA is funded largely by the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

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