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How you can help change things with referenda at Sussex...

In light of the high-profile EU referendum: which saw an unprecedented voter turnout in British politics, many people from all walks of society are now aware of what a referendum actually is.

In a similar manner to central government - the Students’ Union offers the platform for students to submit a motion to the student body in an effort to make a definitive change to the way the Students’ Union operates. Just as Britain voted to leave the EU, students have voted on a wide variety of topics.

Student referenda

Examples of these include students’ decision to stop Union outlets from selling Nestle and Coca-Cola products, and their votes on another referendum also resulted in the creation of new full-time officer roles (Society and Citizenship/Postgraduate Education).

Referenda can also prompt the Students’ Union to take a stance on a wider political issue. Recently, students voted that the Union should campaign for the UK to remain part of the EU, and also that the Union should formally oppose the renewal of Trident - The UK’s nuclear weapons program.

Any student can submit a topic for referendum via either a petition of 150 students, or by submitting the question to Council or one of the Full-Time Officers to take to Executive committee.

Petitions are also good ways of testing the water as to the overall opinion of students on campus. Voting statistics on your chosen topic can provide a very good idea of how popular your proposal would be should you choose to pursue it further.

Annie, Elected President of the Students’ Union is a keen advocate of the democratic ideals behind these referenda:

"Referenda are the most direct form of democracy where every single person's vote counts, so they are super exciting. Within the Students’ Union referenda are a great way to make decisions with lots of students involved." 

There are two referenda periods scheduled for this year with voting from 28 November to 2 December and alongside the elections in the spring. To be considered in time for the November voting period you must submit your petition or ensure Union Council or the Executive Committee have accepted your proposal by 10am on Monday 7 November. 

Referenda allow students the opportunity to shape the Students’ Union and its activities. So get involved, and be part of making change happen!

Find out more including how to set up a petition at www.sussexstudent.com/referenda

 

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