Edinburgh University Student’s Association (EUSA) has proposed new initiatives to increase student interest and involvement.
The association is working on its ability to reach out to students on an individual level, hoping to increase enthusiasm and participation for those who don’t know how to get their voices heard.
The new initiatives come in the wake of low turnout in recent EUSA by-elections, with some positions receiving voter counts in the single digits.
A survey to gather student input is set to be conducted soon.
EUSA President Jonny Ross-Tatam has been working to increase student enthusiasm since his election last March.
He told The Student: “Everything is up for discussion, from student council to the roles of elected officers.
“Many students are already actively involved in our Students’ Association, whether by being one of the 23,000 Society and Volunteering Group members, Peer Support volunteers, or representing students as one of our hundreds of class or school reps.
“But the problem is that not enough students have been involved in the running of our students’ association, [and] sharing their ideas.
“I think that in the past, EUSA has not always focused its attention on the big issues facing students on a daily basis. Symbolic political statements can be important, but they should never distract us from relentlessly focusing on the issues that matter to students.”
Awareness of the existence of participation opportunities seems to be a key issue in the waning involvement of students in EUSA.
Edward Medgar, a first year International Relations student, told The Student: “As a fresher, you hear about EUSA as an untouchable entity with high walls. Getting involved in voting in elections or being able to share your thoughts on a subject doesn’t seem easily accessible.”
EUSA sabbaticals have worked to introduce new ways to garner interest and approval amongst the student body.
Ross-Tatam believes that EUSA is an organization which can and should have the power of the entire student body of the university behind it.
He told The Student: “Our Students’ Association makes a dramatic difference to all our lives, not least by supporting our 250-plus societies and volunteering groups and giving vital and impartial advice to thousands of us through the Advice Place.
“Most importantly, it is there to represent and makes changes for us – and we need help from the whole of our student community to make that happen.”