AUTSA are excited by prospect of new Student Representative Council
By David Williams (he/him)
AUTSA wants students to put their names forward to be part of the 2023 Student Representative Council. President Sara Youssef says being a part of the council is an experience which will change your life. “You get to learn skills you never thought you would.” The Student Representative Council is a group of AUT students elected by their peers to represent the student voice on campus.
There are 22 positions on the SRC and elections are held annually. The body is led by a president and two vice presidents, who each traditionally hold two year terms. South Campus Representative Ashley Kirkness says campus reps do very important but often overlooked work of embedding the role into the infrastructure of the campuses. “Something I have been working on is to connect the role to the heads of the campuses.” “That role is always going to be who the team turns to for student feedback.
If they have a seat at the table, you'll get a better understanding and can better argue your case.” Turnout, both in terms of voting and number of candidates applying for the positions, has been down in the past few years. Kirkness says conducting the process online was very hard and probably had an impact on turnout. “AUTSA wasn’t perfect in the Covid space. We didn’t really know how to conduct elections.” Current SRC members are looking forward to holding an election campaign on campus rather than over the internet.
Part of AUTSA’s draft strategy this year is to get at least 10 percent of AUT students to vote in the upcoming SRC elections. Youssef says she, Kirkness, and Community Vice President Zina Abu Ali all went through their election processes online and that it was terrible. Kirkness says students talking to students is the strongest avenue. “Social media and online marketing do their job, but you get so much clutter coming through on social media and in your inbox.” “There is a buzz you get when you’re on campus - you feel like something is happening.” Nominations are now open and will run until the 12th of August. Students will need the support of two others to qualify for a nomination.