If you’ve attended an O-Week Market Day, grabbed free breakfast or coffee from the BKSS, or participated in a club, then you’ve benefitted from the work of the ANU Students’ Association (ANUSA). ANUSA is funded by your money, run for your benefit, and is governed by students you elect. As such, you have the capacity to directly influence the future of ANUSA through the general elections happening this term.
You, humble reader, will likely be bombarded in the coming weeks by campaign material from all the various candidates who are running. Many will promise big things, and some will have no capacity to deliver on those promises. Caught in a deluge of mostly-bad campaign memes, weirdly cultish photos, and countless joke tickets making fun of it all, it’s easy to take the cynical route and switch off.
However, I would urge every undergraduate student to earnestly engage with the ANUSA elections, because we all win when ANUSA does well. So, if you’re keen to make a stab at engaging, here’s a quick guide to which positions are up for election, and what the hell they’re supposed to do.
ANUSA has 39 elected representatives broadly split into four different groups – seven Department Offices, 14 General Representatives, six Executive Officers, and 12 College Representatives. In addition, you’ll get to vote for ANU’s ‘NUS’ delegates and the undergraduate member of the ANU Council.
The seven Department Officers, one for each of the Disabilities, Ethnocultural, Environment, Indigenous, International, Queer*, and Women’s Departments, generally represent marginalised groups in our society. They play an important advocacy role within the University and provide a voice for those groups within ANUSA. Only students who identify as one of those things (except Environment, which anyone can vote for) get to vote for those positions.
The 14 General Representatives play an important accountability role in ANUSA, undertake projects throughout their term, and help out with the activities of ANUSA. As one of the larger blocks on the SRC (which we’ll get to later), they can wield real influence within the Association. Everyone gets to vote for these guys, so choose wisely!
The six Executive Officers, including the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Education Officer, Social Officer, and General Secretary, manage ANUSA’s day to day affairs. They work very closely with ANUSA’s professional staff, and each has specific responsibilities for areas of ANUSA’s functioning. They also sit on a bunch of important university committees and can be the first line of defence against shitty ideas from the university. Like Gen Reps, everyone gets to vote for these positions.
Lastly, the 12 College Representatives (two for each academic college), represent students of a particular academic college (think CASS, COL, CECS, etc.). They sit on their college’s College Education Committee (CEC), and generally advocate for students from their respective academic college. If your degree falls under a college or two, you get to vote for those representatives.
If this sounds like a lot of humans, it is. However, every one of them has a role to play within ANUSA, particularly through the Student Representative Council (SRC). The SRC functions as the ‘board’ of the Association. They set the strategic direction of ANUSA, can decide on matters of policy such as NUS accreditation, endorse/not endorse certain campaigns, refer office bearers to the Disputes Committee, and can bind the Executive to undertake certain actions. As such, any ANUSA rep should have the capacity to think critically, ask challenging questions where needed, and be willing to read 70-page agendas and sit through three-hour meetings.
You’ll also be able to vote for ANU’s delegates to the National Union of Students’ National Conference. The National Union of Students (NUS) is a federation of student associations like ANUSA that advocates for student issues on a national level. NUS delegates shape the direction of the organisation by voting for its ‘policy platform’ and office bearers for the coming year. Be sure to ask delegate candidates whether they’re affiliated with a ‘faction’ or not and whether they’ll be voting to allow student media to film on conference floor (hint: it’s historically been banned).
Last, but certainly not least, there’s the ANU Council member. Essentially, they’re a student who sits on the board of the ANU. Many important things get decided and discussed there, and every student gets to vote for them.
Now that you know what’s up, there’s no reason not to vote! Voting will be online, and so it’s easier than ever to have your say on the future of ANUSA and campus life at the ANU.
Interested in running as a candidate on a ticket, but don’t know how? Submit an expression of interest for the ANUSA elections. Submissions will only be seen by ticket conveners.
Alternatively, you can also run as an ‘independent’ candidate. If you want to know how, check out Tom’s guide to running as an independent candidate in the ANUSA elections!
Elections are during week five from 21-24 August. Voting for elections will occur on the MSL platform accessible through the ANUSA website.
Tom Kesina is a fourth year Law/Policy Studies student who is an ANUSA General Representative, likes making sandwiches, and blah blah blah you’ve stopped reading.
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