What Student Council Does

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Chairperson of Student Council Steering Committee Rohini Ghosh (right) with Secretary of Student Council Steering Committee Keshni Sritharan

 

Student Council was first incepted after the Students Association started gaining size and importance. The SC at UNMC mirrors  the dynamic between the Student Council and the Student Union of the UK campus, and basically exists to try and provide transparency, accountability and continuity within the SA and all its underlying bodies.

We provide an open platform where all major policy and constitutional changes to the SA Constitution (the SA Yellow Book) are made so that they can be fairly debated by all those who are interested, and voted on by representatives of the student body.

It may not seem like we significantly impact the average student’s everyday life, but this is how changes get made to things like an SA Executive Portfolio or the structure of the Education Network or where new problems and solutions are brought forth that can then be appropriately channeled and handled. We deal with many facets of the SA, but all we really aim for is harmony.

I became the Chair of the Steering Committee of Student Council because I thought my previous experience in the SA would be an asset. I wanted to help identify and seal any cracks in our armor, leading Councillors to be the best they can be for students. So far, I have been able to strengthen the working relationship between the SA and the SC, which I hope will be beneficial in the long run as portfolios take on more and more scope.

I also hope to increase the visibility of Student Council – I just want students to know we exist purely to serve them.

Councilors have responded well to the new reporting structure, and have given us a great set of records that students can refer to if they want to find out what any councilor has been up to. Hopefully will see greater attendance during future Council meetings. Then the student body can use these meetings as a platform to discuss any and all problems they face, in a way where they will be heard. I also hope that in time we will devise a structure that includes more voting members from a larger range of student reps on campus.

Student Councilors currently consist of the SA executive officers, the Faculty and School Representatives and the Hall tutors. However, this structure might change slightly this year, in order to make the voting process more concise. You must be one of these student reps to sit on Council as a voting member, or to run for Steering Committee elections in the following year.

Council is not directly involved in the elections process, but is responsible for selecting (by vote) the candidates who make up the Elections Committee (who then go on to run elections as an autonomous organization). Council meetings are also where major changes are made to elections guidelines. For example, in the previous semester the SA Vice President brought up a number of regulatory changes; the council then voted and drafted what they thought was the best set of guidelines to be used in the upcoming General Elections.

The Elections Committee is scarce in terms of numbers this year, and we really hope to see some applicants with a passion for student governance and the managerial/logistical/marketing know-how or experience to really push for better, more transparent elections this year. The EC isn’t just about organizing the elections, it is also about maintaining the fairness and integrity of the entire process.

I look forward to elections this year, because we are finally settling in to what are relatively new SA Executive Portfolios, and I hope to see eager and creative students who are ready to raise the bar and further build upon the foundations that have been set by previous Execs. Now is the time to not only continue the legacy SA execs are leaving behind, but to keep innovating and fine-tuning what currently exists.

Our 25th Ordinary Council Meeting (open to all students, with free pizza afterwards) will be as follows:

Time and date: Tuesday, 3rd March 2015 at 7 pm
Venue: F1A13

The selection of new Elections Committee members and important changes to SA Executive Portfolios are currently on the agenda.

The Annual General Meeting (also open to all students) will be as follows:
Time and date: Tuesday, 7th April 2015, at 7 pm
Venue: TBD

Do make note of these dates on your calendars if you want to be a part of the action and join the discussions!

Rohini Ghosh

Chairperson,
Student Council Steering Committee 2014/15

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and positions of the editorial team at IGNITE

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