1. Elections for High Comms: Yay or Nay?
2. Powers of club advisors: Widen or restrict?
3. Honestly, what is gonna happen for the next SRC term cause we are curious lah?
Should clubs and societies implement elections to vote for their next board? Will having an election command a majority of votes based on popularity rather than good talents? Should club advisors interfere with the appointment of the next board? Will students be able to make the right and educated choice when voting for the next board? What does SRC have to say in all of this?
Our recent sit down with the President and Vice President of SRC raised and answered many questions. In the spirit of DEMOCRACY, SRC believes that Elections should be the right way around choosing the board of directors of each club and society on campus. This is of course contrary to common practice over the years. For those outgoing high comms out there, I'm sure you're thinking how would a group of people who are not involved in the running of the club possibly objectively elect the RIGHT PERSON for the job? Honestly, why change the practice that we've had thus far? Well, this is what SRC has to say about it. The believe is that transformation of power should be fair and smooth. Back then, the number of people in clubs and societies weren't that many so it wasn't much of a problem. However, now clubs and societies in MMU are getting bigger in number. Therefore, there is a need to implement elections.
A question was then raised as to whether students would be able to make an EDUCATED VOTE or just vote for the most popular of the lot. To which they responded by saying, based on the student body, SRC goes on a big scale as it includes the involvement of all students during elections which is about 3000 voters. However, it is different in clubs and societies because they are all from one community. Therefore, it is tremendously easy for the popular students to win. He mentioned that although it is easy to win, in order to know what is going on in the clubs, the students will have to be active in their participation of the club's meetings, events and plannings. By being aware of the happenings of the club, the students will be able to discern and to choose who the next line of board will be. A suggestion was tabled to revamp the structure of clubs and societies in order to give new students opportunity to fully understand the ins and outs of a club and hence make an educated vote.
Moving on now to the role ADVISORS play in the workings of a club. The sentiments here were that advisors should not interfere with the appointment of the next board as they are just an advisory board. This is because he believes in student autonomy. Students should be able to make the right decision. The process of choosing the next board should be done in a democratic way. Club advisors have the authority to give advice on matters that are related to the plannings of the club. However, with regards to student politics, club advisors should not get in the way of the students as the fundamental gist of democracy is check and balance. Although it is a fair enough notion, we would be naive to think that in some instances the club advisors might know better. Let's take into account the fact that they have been advising the club for ages and seen each board through the ups and downs of each academic year. To diminish the role of a club advisor to a mere bystander would be unwise.
It is the responsibility of the voters to QUESTION THE PLAN of the upcoming year to lead the club. It is also the responsibility of the candidates to pitch their manifestos and plan for the upcoming year. However, the current culture in MMU is not matured enough to choose their next leaders but that cannot be the reason to deny the right of the students and give the advisor to choose next line. This is why elections are needed in order to ratify the culture. As for now, elections are not imposed yet. He mentioned that we should be imposing elections and he hopes that the next SRC board will take this matter into consideration.
Daniel Saw also mentioned that it is very important to have a SENSE OF BELONGING to a club. Sense of belonging in clubs and societies will lead to more than just good vibes and friendships. Belonging is what allows the students to feel like they can be their authentic selves without fear of different treatment and it has a major impact on performance and retention. When there is a sense of belonging to a club, it impacts the engagement and the success of the clubs and societies leading to better collaboration and problem solving abilities. Therefore, it is important to create a culture of belonging. One thing though that rang true was Daniel's statement that the one thing that ensured the continuity of clubs and societies was the feeling of BELONGING. This was something that can be worked on with bonding events and the demolishment of the hierarchal culture.
This current term of SRC has been focusing on STUDENT EMPOWERMENT. They have been involved in several meetings which have solved and fulfilled many of their promises in their manifestos such as the WiFi problem, facilities, lift and have implemented the ID project. Daniel Saw and his team hopes that the next term of SRC will make use of the efforts that has been done and also to promote STUDENT DEVELOPMENT. SRC as a student body has to provide more opportunities regardless of whether on campus or off campus. As a last note, Daniel and Shouie Jie mentioned that they hope the incoming council will acknowledge the previous terms efforts in empowering the students and take that work to further develop to student body. All in all, here's to an amazing year ahead.
By Dviana Mavani