Guest student blogger- Stefanie Turner

My name is Stefanie Turner and I’ve been at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, for a while now, going onto my fourth year as an integrated master’s Creative Writing student. Since my first week, I have found myself involved with the Student Union. I started from going to high energy council meetings to becoming a part time officer in my second year.

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This is me!

 

In my three and a bit years I’ve seen several elections come and go. The atmosphere on campus changes dramatically when election season is among us.

In my first year, the elections for the full-time and part-time positions were going on in my third term. Several students who were finishing their third year spent a week or two making their campaign posters, videos and treats to offer the students. It was incredible to watch and be around them. First, you would see students and their teams filming videos, next the posters for election season went up and then, once the voting was open, manifestos, posters, cakes, sweets and chocolate were flowing, but I wasn’t bothered. While I was still involved in the Student Union, I wasn’t really fully interested in the results.

My second year was different. If a position wasn’t filled yet, usually a part-time position, then the Student Union does a Bi-Election, which is essentially a second chance for someone to fill the empty position.  That year I decided to go for it and nominated myself to be the next Students with Disabilities Officer role. I had one opponent and I was so nervous. I was given posters and told to write a manifesto. I went around halls, gave my posters to people and nervously told them who I was and my aims for the year.

The results were a low-key affair.  Unlike the larger elections, where the results are given with an audience, we were called into the reception area above the Student Union and we were told one by one who was voted in.

I was ecstatic to hear that I’d won!

The next year, I was even more involved in the elections, as I wanted to re-run for the position. This year, however, I campaigned online as I was not on campus, as I had to go home to work.

Despite this, I had friends campaign on campus whilst I used social media. This year I had three opponents. I was even more nervous than last year. Again, I won and I was overwhelmed by the messages of support I received. Being trusted by so many students was humbling. As a result, when I decided I would continue on at Lampeter at the end of my third year, I nominated myself for the role again. This year I had one opponent. I was the only part-time officer who was contested. This year, as it was my last year, I decided to go big. I made banners and hung them from bridges and from the windows of the halls of residence. I was given support on all three campuses and I was again, given lots of support by staff and students alike. Elections this year were like no other I’d been to. The bar was emptier but the tension made it hard to breathe. The results started pouring in. “And for the position of Students with Disabilities Officer on Lampeter campus…” All eyes were suddenly on me and my hand was being squeezed by my friend. They read out the results and announced I was, yet again, elected. I was ecstatic. Congratulations came in, and I went home, had tea with my friends and talked about what I had planned.

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This is the Lampeter Campus, where I study

 

I’ve taken part in five elections thus far, each as exciting as the next. Three for the position I hold now, and two to become the NUS delegate for the big conference they hold every year. I won both of those as well, but was unfortunately only able to attend one conference. Some of the processes have hiccups, and it can cause a lot of stress, but at the end of the day, the people who are running for these positions are passionate about what they want to do, so regardless of any problems encountered, the results are almost always worthwhile. Every election, every position and every candidate is part of making the student experience the best it can be. Democracy works well for us as a student body, but it’s only worth it if the students get involved and vote. Without your voice, you’re denied the chance to have your say. Personally I’ve always aimed for one thing. Equality. I’ve never promised anything that I didn’t think I could deliver. It can be difficult sometimes, but in order to achieve what you want you must work hard at it. Unlike the politicians of the real world, the students and full-time staff who work as part of the Student Union tell the truth and really do work in favour of those who vote for them.