Unsurprisingly, there are many students on campus who are completely unaware of the 2016 Tasmanian University Union (TUU) elections, after I approached a diverse range of students outside Morris Miller Library on Wednesday afternoon about their knowledge on the topic.
In total, I interviewed sixteen students studying across a variety of degrees, ranging from Arts to Science, Psychology, Law and Engineering.
In response to the question, “what do you know about the TUU elections?”, ten out of the sixteen people replied with “absolutely nothing”, or a variation of such.
Only two out of the group knew that voting was next week.
Despite their lack of knowledge of the candidates, the second question was “will you vote?” Nine people claimed that they would vote – with most deciding on the condition that they were on campus at the time and that polling places were conveniently located.
One student did not even know that they could vote.
It wasn’t until my third question that delivered the most insight.
“What would you like to see the TUU prioritise with their funding?” This provided a selection of varied responses.
There was a large response for cheaper and more diverse food options, with one student stating that ‘Lazenby’s’ and ‘The Ref’ are, “basically the same thing, so we need more variety.”
Another three students expressed disdain at the state of amenities, with one saying, “fix the darn toilets! The lights are always blown and there’s never any toilet paper.”
While the important issues such as stopping the deregulation of fees were raised, one student said she wouldn’t be able to attend university anymore if the cost of degrees increased.
Students also mentioned a need for more books in the library, more water fountains around campus, raising sexual assault awareness and more social events throughout each semester.
So as a message to all candidates, here are just some examples of what students want from you. And to the students? I encourage you to have a chat with the candidates if you see them on campus.
If you tell them what you told me, maybe you might get some better food. Or at least cleaner bathrooms.
This piece was written for the University of Tasmania’s student magazine, Togatus, in my capacity as Election correspondent. It’s part of a series of coverage of the Tasmanian University Union (TUU) 2016 elections. You can find it here: http://www.togatus.com.au/tuu-elections-fix-the-darn-toilets/