Thursday, 30 April 2009

The Snark: This time, when they tell you your vote is important, you should listen.

The Snark is a guest blog and the Snark's views are not necessarily those of the organisers. It's just that he won't shut up about them.

Student Union elections make my crotch curl. Lots of people standing in public areas, telling the world that they are the best possible choice for whatever it is they want to be. Policies? Too much to fit on a piece of paper, or even a speech. Just shout out your awesomeness, that'll do it.

Hell, some don't even go that far, just making posters of how shaggable they are in the hope of short-circuiting the few brain cells you'll give to the voting decision. (I see it's being done this year. That said, I do love a woman in uniform, there's just somethi...ah crap, they got to me).

In case you haven't gotten the hint yet, I don't like student elections.

Maybe it's the feeling that 'yes we can' will too easily become 'no, we can't'; it's possibly down to the sick feeling in my stomach that the whole student body, each person with a JCB, couldn't shovel the uni out of the crap it seems to be under right now and it's definitely to do with having the kind of cynicism that could crack diamonds.

But I still have to watch. It's so bad that the Americans even have a word for what I'm doing - rubbernecking.

But let's not kid ourselves: the student union is on life support. Aside from Big Fish, music nights at the Rocket are far too quiet for one of the country's largest student bodies. The student radio society is a facebook site with a couple of dodgy podcasts on it and the magazine is nowhere near as well done as those of other universities.

Throw in last year's election fraud, the need to have two nominee drives just to get a minimum of candidates and the look of surprise when I tell people that elections are on and someone really needs to tell Houston that you have a problem.

Yeah, you. Especially you at the back there - don't think I can't see you mooching back there. A student union doesn't exist on it's own, floating on university money and hard-working elves, it's an expression of the students and there to support what you want. Universities with a vibrant student body have strong, active unions that do a lot and in which people, in turn, get involved. The union is there to provide an outlet for students, so its failure says something about your own attitude.

And if it goes down, you won't think that it'll be missed...until it really is and it's too late to do anything about it.

As for me, I'm going to watch. I'm going to listen. And I'm possibly going to shout at a few people as well. Because all this would be a lot easier if it didn't matter.

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