By Aiyda Khan
It’s been claimed the Murdoch University Student Guild needs to work on building its image.
Dr Ian Cook, a senior politics lecturer says just like anyone who sets foot in politics, the student guild faces an issue with visibility.
In 2017 only five percent of Murdoch’s students turned out to vote in the guild student elections.
“The involvement of students in the Guild’s activities can increase if they work on building their image and help students realise that politics is just people doing things for other people not a popularity contest,” said Dr Cook.
There are three students running for president: Kombo Mashumba – the 2018 Guild President; Yakira Venagiam – the Guild’s current Women’s Representative; and Sean Ayres – current President of the Politics and Governance Society.
The primary role of the Guild President is that of student representative within the University who is also responsible for the Guild’s external communications.
Both Mashumba and Venagiam agree that there needs to be an increase in awareness around the services the Guild provides and its policies.
Venagiam is in her third year of studying politics and counter terrorism.
She’s driven by her desire to see change in the student experience.
“If the students don’t know about the impact that the voice of the Guild can have, then they won’t take the initiative to get involved and vote,” Venagiam said.
As the Women’s Representative on the Guild, she’s played a key role in the development of the Murdoch Safe app, as the safety on campus has been one of her major concerns.
If elected Guild President she wants to use her lobbying power to make more changes.
Ayres believes another reason for the lack of awareness around the Guild and its services is that people are unaware of where the money gets used and how.
“Outside of Guild council only a handful of people know where the money goes and what the Guild has been doing,” he said.
“This is especially problematic considering the SSAF (student services and amenity fee) payments of up to $149 per semester go half-in-part to the Guild, giving them an SSAF allocation of over $1.5 million dollars
Despite some controversy surrounding the delivery of a budget, Mashumba believes he’s been successfully executing his policies.
He hopes to be re-elected in order to execute the rest of his plans.
All three candidates have their policies in place but are currently working independently to ensure that the visibility of the Guild increases.
Voting begins on the 22nd of October at 12pm on the website.