“You should ask for big things from the people standing”

Every year, students from our own number step up to present their views on how they would make all our experiences in Oxford better. It isn’t easy. The people whose promises and claims have been set out in these pages, on social media, in manifestos and at hustings make significant personal sacrifices.

But, it is important you quiz them. Whilst many people may run because they want to improve Oxford, many who have previously been elected through OUSU elections have not truly cared about the things they have claimed to (or haven’t done anything about it). The recent history of OUSU is a story of those doing amazing work being held back by those who aren’t. You need to make sure that the people you elect are honest, genuine, capable, and committed.

Buzzwords will fly around like “representation”, “liberation” and “engagement”. Ask candidates what they understand these terms to mean. “Don’t let people hide behind the buzzwords. Ask for more effective representation, ask for concrete action to help the liberation of oppressed groups, ask who needs to be engaged and how they will engage them.

OUSU is changing — we are updating all our governing documents to make it easier for your elected officers to do things. We are expanding our activity to increase support given to RAG and clubs and societies. We are unifying the system of course reps and departmental representation. You should ask for big things from the people standing.

And make sure you expect a lot from those running for NUS delegate, Student Trustee and Part-Time Executive roles. Whilst they may still be doing their degrees, the people who fill these positions act as some of the key links between the Student Union and common rooms, campaigns and the wider national student movement of which we are a part. Don’t compromise on these roles as they can have a significant impact on your time in Oxford.

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This time can be a great opportunity for you to say how crap OUSU is. And on many fronts, you would be right in saying that it isn’t great. But don’t be an armchair critic.

Get involved by looking at manifestos and voting. Ironically, you can do this from an armchair. So actually, feel free to be an armchair critic, just make sure you have a computer there and vote, even if you vote to re-open nominations.

I ran because I was tired of the same old rubbish coming from the people who represented me. I wanted a student union that did more for more people and did it better. You have the chance to change your student union and subsequently your experience as a student. You don’t even need to make a silly video or a manifesto do it. It does actually matter a lot, its not very hard to do and it will make me happy, so please do have your say.