I just voted in a campus referendum! Democracy can be exciting, and it’s great to participate in it right here on campus.
Occasionally the Students’ Union proposes a new initiative that has to go to the student body for a vote. It often generates a lively discussion on campus about the merits and downfalls of the decision, and people can be very passionate about whatever side they’re on. This time was no exception, with some students taking the initiative to design their own campaign posters or even stand outside with signs to bring attention to their argument.
The debate can add liveliness and colour to campus, and it can occasionally get heated. The issue this time was about a proposed universal bus pass, and there is money at stake for people on both sides of the issue, so a lot of students have taken notice. Regardless of your opinion on this issue, it’s great to see the students engaging in discussion and thinking about some tough issues.
It’s not just referendums that get the students talking either. Our campus has been a hotbed for a number of controversial issues throughout the years that I’ve been here, and this year has been just as active. There are occasionally political demonstrations on campus that attempt to bring attention to issues that students care about, such as a recent pro-life demonstration that got a lot of people talking not only about the pro-life/pro-choice debate, but also the medium of the message – in this case, graphic images displayed in public. Last year we had a similar issue when art students displayed some works containing nudity. Both instances generated a wave of debate on the merits and limits of free speech on campus. Again, regardless of your views on any of these matters, the discussion generated shows that campus is the place where ideas happen! To me, it’s a sign of a healthy academic community. And that’s something to take pride in for your university. That’s my U!