The UC SRC is running its annual election this semester to determine who will represent the student body in 2022. Nominations for the fourth UC SRC election close on the 15th of September at 5 pm.
Eight council positions are up for grabs, representing each faculty, undergraduate students, postgraduate students, international students, and the Ngunnawal centre.
Student governance aims to provide the entire student body with representation and power within the university, working directly with students the SRC aims to address specific concerns, as well as sitting on the University Council and Academic Board. This gives the representatives position in the university to reflect the views of their electorates and effect change in policy, procedure, and many other areas. The SRC also hosts regular events to provide social support and recognition, among other things.
Students who are elected to the council are expected to attend regular meetings, manage emails and contact from students, and fulfil duties set out in their individual portfolios.
All eligible students have been sent a notification email outlining the positions and providing instructions for nomination. Instructions can also be found on the UC Student Representative Council canvas page.
At UC student governance bodies have had a rocky reputation for years and underwent a restructuring and re-brand from the UC Student Association (UCSA) to the UC Student Representative Council (UC SRC) in 2018. The change came after the UCSA was reported on multiple times in 2014 for ‘spiralling debts’ and accusations of systematic mismanagement. A review was conducted by the University of Southern Queensland’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Carl Rallings, which found “brand damage due to historical mismanagement, very low membership numbers, poor organisational structures, internal division and no business or strategic plan.” An internal review in the same year recommended the UCSA “either fold immediately or drastically re-structure themselves.” Re-structuring took place in 2018, and the first UC SRC was elected in 2019.
Since its inception, the SRC has received criticisms for its handling of Proctorio, car parking concerns, and the running of SRC forums and town halls.
Running for the Student Representative Council can mean your time at UC will have a huge and lasting impact on the community. It can also be a big commitment, so we spoke to current SRC member, Jacob Webb, to find out what it’s like to represent your fellow students.
Jacob holds the position of Undergraduate Rep; he is the Diversity Officer and represents the SRC on the University Council.
“I have absolutely loved my time on the SRC, I couldn’t recommend it any higher to anyone. If you want to get involved, even if you have the thought that it could be fun or it could be interesting, you’re nothing short of a fool to not act on it.”
Jacob said his role on the University Council has allowed him to make genuine changes at UC.
“You come in with that view that [the executives] don’t have, and they never really could have. And they’re really receptive of that and they really value what students have to say. […] It’s been nice to see that at the highest levels of the university.”
“My own personal philosophy is that you always need to leave a place better than you found it” Jacob said. While he has big plans for next year should he be re-elected, his current priority is making sure that work will continue even if he isn’t in the role. He is in the process of setting up a queer safe space on campus and a queer governance body to ensure LGBTQI+ students will have representation for years to come.
“I’ve really enjoyed doing the queer space work, that has been the most rewarding due to the fact that I know that once it’s done, I’ll be able to look back on the campus and see a physical thing and go ‘I did that.’ That’s really fun.”
This is just one example of the work that can be done as an SRC member. Current SRC President, Alanah Pike, is the Women’s Officer and Faculty of Health Representative. She has been working closely with her faculty over the past year and hosted a faculty town hall to address specific concerns raised primarily by the Nursing and Midwifery cohorts. Additionally, she has been improving the women’s room and parents’ rooms on campus, hoping to make the space warmer and more accessible.
Every SRC role will allow you to make a difference in the UC community. Jacob says that being a part of the SRC is a beautiful conduit.
“I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘I don’t like this,’ so then I can say, ‘Okay, let’s change it.’”
“I have violently enjoyed policy review,” Jacob said, “and I know that makes me a huge nerd, and I’m okay with that, I’ve accepted it. Policies are like living documents that dictate students’ daily lives and how they interact with the university, their studies and their lives as students. And there’s nothing more rewarding than knowing I’m having the conversations that are writing the policies that are going to affect people for the next 10-15 years.”
“Get involved in any way that you can because I’ve loved it and I hope everyone else can love it as much as I do.”
Nominations for the annual election close on the 15th of September at 5 pm.