Voting for What?
Another week has rolled around and what may appear to be next on the student agenda are the university elections. It is hard not to be aware of the steady stream of self-advertising on Facebook, showing that the students of St Andrews are fully engaging in the selection of their future role models. Crafty graphic designers have created their own snapchat and profile picture filters, and these compete against the equally gifted yet more humorous among us, photo shopping their faces onto stock photos. The elections remain light-hearted, fun and engaging and whilst it seems like this can only be a positive thing, I ask that we contemplate a slightly different outlook on things.
Let us consider the purpose for which these candidates are up for election. Do they truly have that burning flame of passion for the well-being of the entire student body that they claim to have or is there a far larger stench of self-interest?
In essence, I question whether empty promises are made in order to gain that essential line in their C.Vs.
The accusation I want to make has not-so-subtly been approached. The finger is being pointed, and the fault lies with us.
I’m sure this thought has occurred to the majority of the people involved in the process; that what is essentially being fought for is a title that can be slapped across your list of leadership credentials: a must-have for future employers.
My eureka moment occurred during a visit to the Careers Centre on Market Street where I was shown an example C.V in order to improve my own. It was then that the key to my future success stared up at me underneath a bold, underlined title of leadership -a university title. The writer of the example C.V had himself claimed to be the creator of the gastronomy society, to which I then thought, “How hard can it be to set up a group which I can then claim to be in charge of? A cooking group is hardly a bad idea.” before I snapped out of it and remembered “Kirsten, you can’t cook. This is ridiculous”.
I guess my point here is that the allure of assuming a leadership role within St Andrews for the title rather than out of genuine passion and a will to improve the university is a strong one. This is worsened by the small number of people that run for each position combined with the very large selection of roles available (a grand total of 122 attempting to secure 61 roles), a lack of competition by any standards, which makes succeeding in securing a role all the more easy and thus all the more tempting. There are not enough talented people applying leaving too much space for the lazy.
So I ask that before you support your friends or vote for the most attractive looking candidate, please ask yourself: does this person have the drive to work for this role, and the desire to fulfil their promises?
Do these people have the time to truly invest themselves in an important position or will they stroll around campus with a title, doing the bare minimum to maintain it? To finish with a cliché: perhaps our representatives should be asking not what the university can do for them, but what can they do for the university.