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Sabb Elections: A Chance To Have Your Say

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With Sabb elections fast approaching, Emily Tanner argues that however little difference you think it makes, this is your chance to have some say in the place you call home during term time.

As an unknowing and naïve fresher, coming out of halls one morning in January two years ago I was utterly baffled when a blonde man dressed in running shorts (in itself surprising for the January we were having), a hoodie and sweatbands jogged up beside me and handed me a flyer asking me to vote for him as AU president. I probably didn’t even know what the AU was then (Athletic Union for fellow sports-a-phobics like me) let alone that it had a president who someone somewhere voted for. That I could vote for? What were these elections going on?

Image credit: Exeter Guild
Image credit: Exeter Guild

These mystery elections – that caused that young man to kindly jog all the way from the path to Holland Hall to Queens with me that day, telling me all about his exciting sports based policies that I merely politely smiled at – were the Sabb elections and in two weeks time campaigns will once again sweep across campus. You may be handed sweets three days in a row on your way up Stocker Road, gladly take them and throw the accompanying flyer in the bin; you may encounter a flash-mob in the Forum plaza and stop to see what all the fuss is about; you might even decide to take the time to log onto the Guild website and vote at some point but whatever you think about elections, for five days on campus it’s virtually impossible to avoid them.

Every student who has ever been confronted with an overzealous campaigner on their way to a lecture will have learnt the techniques to try and bypass the campaigns. iPod in and focused stare is always a good one, sneaky cut through Reed Mews from that side of campus was one I definitely tried a few times in first year and the infamous “I’m so sorry, I do really have to take this very important but very imaginary phone call” will be seen all over campus by campaign teams and candidates. However, if you do have the time to spare on the way between classes, take out those headphones, stop making excuses and have a chat with the candidates and their teams. You’ll probably get some free sweets out of it at least.

Whatever you think of the Sabbs, the work they do and their importance on campus, this is our one real opportunity each year to engage in student politics, influence the way in which the Guild will be run for another year and do our best to get what we want from our Students’ Guild. Often Sabbs may not live up to their idealistic manifestos but you can’t complain about those unfair 9AM essay deadlines three weeks in a row if you haven’t voted for a VP Education, or moan about the fact that there aren’t enough chairs in the Ram if you didn’t go out and look for the best candidate for VP Participation on Campus.

However little difference you think it makes, however much you don’t really think you care, this is your chance to have some say in the place you call home during term time and try and get a little bit more of what you want from university life. Dive into campaigns week, enjoy the fun, frivolity and freebies of many of the campaigns and maybe put some crosses in some boxes if you get the chance.

Emily Tanner

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