Jo: Why The Union Matters To Me

This year I am Fresher’s Rep, the voice of first years’ concerns and ideas on the Student Union. I help first years vocalise and fix the many challenges they face. It’s not just first years that have problems however, and I encourage all students to champion their causes and attend the fortnightly SRC meetings to speak out. I first ran for a position on the SRC because I wanted to be a direct part of this problem-solving process. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this so far; mainly because my role enables me to try and make first year as positive an experience for others as it was for me.

Last year I ran a campaign on three main points: 1) better information about housing and earlier; 2) greater networking for first years so they can get to know their whole year; and 3) developing opportunities to ‘burst the bubble.’ I look forward to continuing to tackle these issues and I encourage you to keep an eye out for the reports SRC members will be releasing throughout the year. We would love you to get involved so check out the minutes the Union posts online or come to one of our Tuesday evening meetings. You will be able to hold us directly accountable and ensure that your representatives are acting as you wish.

I was elected as Fresher’s Rep but I also have a vote on the general business and motions proposed through the Student Union and so I get to help influence student policy. I have already been able to have my say in potentially re-structuring the SRC, the proposed marking boycott, and supporting the movement to allow women into the Royal and Ancient.  I helped the campaign around the Royal and Ancient with the open letter and helped societies with their activism, but sitting on the SRC allowed me to be part of a stance taken by the union and, therefore, had a greater impact.

All of the above are issues I care hugely about, and I am committed to ensuring equality for everyone, in all forms. We have a lot more work to do to ensure completely equal access into the university and, once students are here, to ensure equality for students with disabilities, as well as racial and gender equality. The Union is student led and it is only right that we should be the ones to fight for this equality. This is why I ran for a position on the SRC, as it enables you to make a direct change and implement policies that will continue to have an impact beyond your time at university.

Serving on the SRC has given me the privilege of working with an amazing team of people that I have learnt a lot from. I enjoy being able to collaborate with staff, SAABS, and my fellow elected members to improve our university and I have greatly benefited from their support. This support can sometimes be purely pragmatic as working within the Union gives you access to a budget for student-led projects. For example, I now sit on the Wellbeing sub-committee who have organised SHAG week (Sexual Health and Guidance Week) to ensure the safety of all students. Every student has the opportunity to get involved and benefit from these campaigns. If we all pool our talents, time, and thoughts into the Union then our university will be stronger and more united because of it.

Written by Jo Boon - SRC member for First Years