Dear New Sabbatical Officers,
If you’re reading this before the results drop, good luck. If they’ve already happened, congratulations! You’ve all worked extremely hard to get here – many of you had strong opponents, and even those who didn’t still took campaigning seriously. Well done.
I’m writing this because the Union needs work, and you’re soon going to be in a position to change it. Here are some points you may want to keep in mind over the next year.
The first and most important thing is to not lose sight of why you are where you are. Don’t forget why you ran, or who put you there. We may get a lot of students voting in our elections, but it’s not as if people are really engaged. That’ll only change if you reach out, and if you keep ordinary students in mind when making important decisions.
It’s easy to get tunnel vision as a sabb – to forget the university extends beyond Level 2 of the Union Building. You might fall into the trap of doing a lot of work yourself, perhaps alongside the other sabbs or staff members, but without really keeping students in the loop. My advice would be: involve us. Students need a real say in what the Union does, and nobody elected any of the staff members. Though some of them may claim expertise regarding the university, they aren’t the ones who should be making the decisions. You are. We are.
You may not realise it, but it would be easy for you to overrule staff who at the moment wield so much influence. All it’d take is a little cooperation. You’re the ones with the mandate; work together, involve us in your decision making, but for the love of God, don’t let people with no accountability tell you what to do.
Finally, you’re more than just a role description. You may have many obligations, but you weren’t elected because someone read a contract. You were elected to represent us. If something significant happens, something which affects students, all of you have a duty to step forward. People are counting on you. Best of luck.