"I love voting day. I love the sight of my fellow citizens lining up to make their voices heard." — Beth Broderick
The AGM (Annual General Meeting), held on the 18th of February 2020, allowed RGU students the chance to come together and vote on the matters they believed were important.
119 attendees turned up to RGU’s AGM. This is approximately a 66% increase from last year’s attendance of 79. The increased promotion of the event on social media seems to have been effective, with many Society social media pages encouraging their members to attend.
Whilst RGU did have a good turnout compared to previous years, where they barely met the quorum of 60 attendees, it is still only a fragment of the number of students that it is meant to represent.
The AGM is important as it allows students the chance to vote on topics they feel would make a positive change to their university experience. It is then in the hands of Student Presidents to carry forward these suggestions and tries to make them come to fruition.
Ursula Ojiji, President of Communication and Democracy, stated, "If you want to make a change, you have to step forward and make that change."
Our Student Presidents and Vice Presidents have currently been working on improvements such as ‘Full Time on Initiations’ and the MYRGU app. Equally, there have been negotiations with First Bus to try and get free late-night buses all through the semester; this is after the achievement of 24/7 study spaces being made available.
It is actions like these that create a positive sense of equality amongst the university community and allow for a much more flexible student life. A member of the audience commented that it was, "...great to see everyone come together, we've had disagreements tonight but still we're here."
To lighten the mood of what can be a heated evening of the debate, there is free food and a raffle for a cash prize of £100. The free Domino’s and sandwiches proved a much-needed boost as the AGM lasted for just over 2 hours.
The AGM follows a set pattern to allow fairness of representation. Each proposer has 1 minute to propose their motion, which is then discussed and voted upon. Whilst some motions had a majority vote for or against, others received heated debate.
The motion that seemed to be extremely popular amongst all students was that to “Bring Back RGU’s Social Spaces”. As we are the only university without a social space, excluding the University of the Highlands & Islands, it is a very prominent issue. Students even sought short-term solutions to amend it. Student Presidents have been asked before to try and resolve this issue, however, when an assembly member asked if the Presidents had been working on it, the President of Education and Welfare stated, “I don’t know.” This was later amended to suggest that the Presidents were, in fact, trying to work on it. There was some concern at the lack of certainty among Presidents regarding pertinent issues.
For motion 4, “Access to Success”, neither the proposer nor the seconder attended the AGM. Whilst, a member of the audience commented that they had, “never had a real issue on library funding at RGU”, another disagreed by stating that RGU does need, “to provide, students of law, and other courses, more resources.” With many recommended textbooks being hugely expensive and the library copies often being taken out at the very start of the semester, voters agreed that there did need to be a solution put in place.
In an evening of lively discussion in a community forum, all 11 motions were passed. Two amendments were denied, including introducing pay and display machines in RGU. This was an attempt to address the contentious issue of on-campus parking. However, as an amendment to motion 8: “Take Action on Road Infrastructure”, it indicated conflicting views with the main aim to encourage more people to cycle and to walk.
It is important to remember that the AGM provides a vital opportunity for students to support the issues they believe in. As a reminder, the Student Elections are fast approaching and it is definitely worth taking the time to vote so that you can feel represented in your place of study.
To find out more about RGU's 2020 Student Elections please visit: https://www.rguunion.co.uk/news/article/6013/Student-Elections-2020-Stand-up-for-RGU-students/