author: rashad haque | contributor
Why is it that only a small minority of people elect their leader? Is it because only a select few are allowed to participate in an election? Or is it because they don’t know what’s going on in the outside world, or outside of the classroom?
The URSU by-elections have all taken place, however, less than 10 per cent of students voted. I, alongside four others, ran for the presidency position, and at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), this problem was mentioned; Out of the 15,000 students enrolled at the University of Regina, we had such a low voter turnout.
Although I lost by a long shot, I know for the next election, I will do a much better job. This was the first AGM I had attended. I didn’t think the meeting would last about six hours, but I stuck at it until the very end.
I asked a series of questions, the first one regarding The Owl. I asked about whether my money was being spent to help finance The Owl, because it serves alcohol to students, and it is against the Islamic faith to consume alcoholic beverages. The way the executives answered my question was very consoling, and they told me that they are aware of my faith background and said that when it comes to dealing with the students’ fees, they would spend it in a way that was respectful to all faiths on campus.
While I was running for president, part of my platform included enhancing university spirit. This is because when I attended public school, there were all sorts of days that improved the student spirit, like having pyjama day, or twin day, or superhero day, and all of the students would participate. And since entering university, I haven’t seen that.
So I went to the Aboriginal Student Centre and I asked one of the students, “If there was a pyjama day on campus, would you partake in this activity?” She answered “Hell yeah, of course I would!” It’s small things like that that could really make people look forward to coming to school. Going to university is not just about academics, but it’s also about having fun, discovering yourself, meeting new people – and although I lost the election, I strongly believe that I can still make that happen.
Toward the end of the AGM, Heather O’Watch, Vice-President of Student Affairs, explained how she wanted to create a new position on the executive committee, where someone would represent the marginalized communities here on campus. I thought that was an incredible idea, because what she recognizes is that the campus community is rich in diversity.
It was a shame that not everybody stayed until the end of the meeting, because there was a lot of interesting discussion toward the end. But I can’t blame everyone – I didn’t expect to be there for so long, either.