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It’s finally that time of year: the time of year when we students get to exercise our democratic rights and vote for next year’s SRO. But does anyone really care?

What is an SRO?

SRO stands for ‘Student Representative Officer.’ It is a salaried role and, according to the Liverpool Guild website, they “exist to make progress by identifying the important issues for students and working with each other, student volunteers, and a team of professional staff to make change happen.”

Do students care about the election?

Almost 22,000 students are enrolled at the University of Liverpool. But how many will actually vote?

We got in contact with the Guild, and they supplied us with these statistics.

2011-2014 election statistics

 Number of students who voted are on the side.

From 2011 to 2013, student turnout was averaging at about 5300 (roughly 24%). This drops significantly to only 2683 in 2014 (about 12%), probably because the vote was only open for 5 days, as opposed to 9 days in previous years.

The following table, taken from the 2013 vote, shows that students studying histories, languages or cultures were most likely to vote (32%), closely followed by life sciences students (30%), arts students (29%) and psychology students (27%). Trailing far behind were the dentistry students (7%) and HLS and post graduate research students (8%).

2013 SRO votes by department

 

Why is there such a low turnout?

After the failure of nation-wide student protests against the increase in tuition fees to £9000, perhaps students are disillusioned? How can our voices make a difference? What’s the point in voting?

Maybe students can’t see how the Guild benefits them? Why vote in elections for an organisation that is omnipotent – but never seems to do much?

What have our current SROs done for us? 

  • The ‘Call It Out’ anti-sexual harrasement campaign was put into action by our SROs.
  • They helped start the ‘lecture capture’ system (all important for those who want to balance hangovers with not falling behind in class!)
  • Appointed 10 students to help organise University events, including the Summer Ball, to give students even more input into the running of events (you can now vote for what theme you want this year’s Summer Ball to be by clicking here)

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Click here for more information on what our current SROs are up to.

Why should we care?

Our SROs help us in so many ways. Many of them are difficult to see because they are behind the scenes, and many of them affect us every day but we don’t realise it.

If the Guild is the foundation stone of university life, SROs are our tools to help carve that foundation stone into something we can be proud of. Something that is relevant to us and provides us with the best support possible. Support in our academic lives. Support in our social lives. Support for our future careers. Support against bullying. Support against sexual harrasment. Support against homophobia. Support against racism. Support against mental illness. Support financially. And much, much more.

If we all voted, our university lives would be all the better for it. It only takes a minute of your time. Do it whilst you’re waiting at the bus stop, watching TV or even to take your mind off a boring lecture!

How and when to vote?

Voting opens on Monday 16th March and closes on Friday 20th. Simply put down the names of your favourite candidates in order of preference, sit back, and enjoy democracy at its finest!

You can read the would-be SRO manifestos here.

Got questions for the candidates? Why not ask them directly? The Guild Hustings (candidate question time) are taking place on Thursday 12th March at 5pm in the Courtyard.

Don’t forget to keep checking LSMedia for the latest on the Guild Elections 2015.