Editorial: Student elections matter

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File Photo / Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

When I was in first-year, I was scarcely involved within the Laurier community. As someone who lived off-campus, I wasn’t enticed by orientation week and didn’t pay close attention to many of the events and activities that were taking place.

Even as a consistent writer for The Cord, I somehow managed to completely miss the Students’ Union elections that year.

It wasn’t until my second-year, when I was a part of covering the elections for The Cord, that I realized how important it is to pay attention to the Students’ Union and elections in general.

Having been exposed to what the Students’ Union does, the decisions they make and how it effects me has enlightened me on why all students should be informed.

The Students’ Union makes a myriad of decisions that directly effects every undergraduate student. They make decisions pertaining to funding and the fees we pay with our tuition, they decide on school events and initiatives that take place and much more.

As someone who is far more informed than I was even a year ago, I can honestly say that it is so important to take the time to read these platforms to see which ideas resonate the most with what you feel would make your experience at Laurier more positive.

They are the people who advocate on behalf of all undergraduate students. If you want more initiatives surrounding mental health, better study spots or more parking options — the individuals elected this month are the ones most likely to either make or not make that happen.

Another important aspect which the Students’ Union decides upon is referendum questions.

This past December at a board meeting, the board of directors actually discussed a referendum question pertaining to pro-choice rights. A group of students were rallying for the union to take on a pro-choice stance as an organization and the board decided whether or not this would be implemented. Ultimately, the ballot was dropped.

Without attending the meeting or closely watching their Twitter feed, this information isn’t widely known to students. In fact, I’m sure that some students aren’t aware that referendum questions pertaining to such topics could be discussed amongst the Students’ Union.

This election season, the voting ballot will include two referendum questions in addition to candidates running for the various positions.

For example, one of the questions that was passed by the board pertains to a new fee which would be charged to all incoming first-year students. The fee is to allow for further implementation of transition activities and mentoring initiatives for incoming students.

As an undergraduate student, you can have a say in this.

The Students’ Union commonly advocates that they are the voice for us, the students. However; if we, the students, aren’t listening or conveying to them what we would like advocated on our behalf, then the things the Students’ Union decides upon will be solely based on their opinions and not the student body as a whole.

Last year, only 22 per cent of the undergraduate student body voted. This statistic could not be stressed enough since 22 per cent is far from an accurate depiction of the entire student body.

This year, there are four presidential candidates who have brought forth really interesting ideas within their platforms.

As someone who is far more informed than I was even a year ago, I can honestly say that it is so important to take the time to read these platforms to see which ideas resonate the most with what you feel would make your experience at Laurier more positive.

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