Is the SUO something beyond the bus-pass-enabling desk in the UNC? Something beyond the Instagram accounts of the candidates that mass follow you around this time of year? Beyond the carnivals and giveaways, they keep up all year? And why should you care about it?
Here are five reasons that your vote matters!
1) It is your money
Every UBCO student is automatically a member of the SUO. You pay a membership fee when you get admitted, which is used to partly fund all of the events and programs the SUO and student clubs offer.
Every year, SUO hosts a public audit to go over their finances. You can go to the SUO website and see exactly how your money is being used. You can attend the Annual General Meetings and raise questions about losses and profits, and ask where the money comes from and where it is going.
2) You use their facilities all the time
The restaurants in the University Centre (UNC), plus Paper&Supply Co., are all owned by the SUO. They also run the Pantry student foodbank and the resource centres. You can get involved with new decisions being made about places on campus and have your ideas represented to the University. There are new initiatives being proposed all the time. Attending their meetings, the execs’ office hours, and keeping up with the SUO on social media are ways to stay in touch with developments and chime in when needed. Since you use the facilities, you will also have an opinion on how they are managed.
For example, at the last annual general meeting (AGM), most attendees were annoyed with Green Bean café shutting down and demanded explanations. When the time came to propose a new place, the SUO posted an open vote on their Instagram page so that everyone could engage. Those suggestions and engagements lead to actual change on campus. They recently did an open vote to bring in J’s Bistro to campus.
3) You are involved in their clubs
All UBCO student clubs and associations are subsidiaries of the SUO. If you are involved with them, you are also involved with the SUO. Club funding, room booking, promotions, and even poster-printing is managed by the SUO. They also hold information sessions with club execs each term to discuss recent changes and propose new partnerships and programs.
Being involved with the SUO helps you advocate for your clubs and student associations. You can be involved in modifying rules and changing budgets. Knowing the executives’ overall priorities will also help you understand how your club operations will be affected in the future.
4) You are part of a faculty
If you are a registered student at UBCO, chances are that you are part of a faculty. The SUO has faculty reps as part of their board. These people are responsible for representing your needs and suggestions to the respective faculties.
Engaging with them allows you to understand what they bring to the table, how they can support you, and what they in turn need from you. If you have concerns about career development in your faculty, or co-op opportunities, or want to propose changes about the courses offered, the SUO faculty reps are your liaison to the University.
5) Free stuff!
Who doesn’t love free stuff? Well, it’s not exactly free since it is your money, but hey, who doesn’t love making the most out of your money? Keep an eye out for the t-shirts, swag, cookies, coffees, and donuts that they often give out. They also frequently have giveaways for gift cards and prizes on their Instagram.
Now go vote!
SUO Elections are happening on UBC WebVote on March 6-8. Be on the lookout and make an informed decision!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sanaa Shaikh is a second-year international student from India. She is studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with a minor in Spanish. Sanaa loves spontaneous trips, petting small animals, and starting new projects that she’ll never finish. Her favourite thing to do in Kelowna is getting ice cream downtown and chilling by the marina.