Winchester On The Elections: Do We Care?


It’s that time of year again. Busy Campaigners, the debates and manifestos…it all sounds very exciting. Meanwhile in Winchester, if you ask a student about their thoughts on the elections, most students wouldn’t know what the heck you were talking about. 

How do students at Winchester School of Art feel about the elections?
How do students at Winchester School of Art feel about the elections?

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t vote for anyone last year. Why? I didn’t know I was supposed to, really. VP Winchester aside, there was no buzz, nor hoo-ha on campus about the elections or the candidates who were running in Southampton. So, I just carried on in our little bubble that is Winchester School of Art.

The only reason I know about the elections and the roles this time around is through working with Wessex Scene and through friends in Southampton who are running for various roles. I started to look into the roles and I read a few manifesto’s and I was amazed at how much these roles actually affect Winchester students. We just don’t know it yet, but why?

So, I did some research:

Out of all the WSA students I asked, only one person voted last year. The majority of us had no idea what was happening this time last year, but we would like to.

Although SUSU have done a great job engaging students in Winchester this year with the Give It A Go fortnight and the NUS debate in Winchester, a lot of students still haven’t heard about the elections.

When I asked for more details and their thoughts on the elections and Southampton in general, the majority of students felt out of the loop.

“There is no advertising or promotion here. If (the candidates) went out of their way to come here and speak to us, then more of us would vote.”

More promotion and awareness on campus would be beneficial, according to some students. A Campaign day or Candidates coming over to interact with WSA students would grab a few votes, someone suggested. If they cared about us, they would come here and show it, surely?

“I do care about the elections because they’re important, however at the same time I don’t care because no-one cares about us.” 

Another problem I found with students in Winchester, is that a lot of them do not care about the elections at all. WSA seems constantly separate from the main campus, it fails to seem of any importance to us here. The results were 50/50 when asked if the students cared or not. The answers were either a “Heeeeell no” or a “no, but I would like to.”

“I would vote if the Candidates made an effort to come to WSA and ram it down our throats. We need that.”

The few that have heard about the elections say that they know through SUSU’s twitter, Wessex Scene and posts on Facebook. The only roles students could name were Editor of the Wessex Scene and VP Communities.

So what is the issue here? Is it that not enough information is reaching Winchester? Do students feel unimportant to the University? Do the roles feel irrelevant to us? Or do we  really just not give a crap about elections? Well, students have said all of the above. It’s tough, but that’s how a lot of us here feel.

Studying in Winchester? Comment your thoughts below:


2nd Year studying Graphic Arts (Illustration)

Discussion7 Comments

  1. avatar
    Bishop of Winchester

    Getting rid of the Winchester Sab was the worst idea ever. Now you’re gonna get 8 Highfield nonces running around accomplishing nothing while WSA students are completely forgotten

    • avatar

      During the NUS campaign, both teams took a day to show up to Winchester, debate and chat to people about their ideas.
      Nobody showed up.
      The teams, debate organisers, three sabbaticals were all going around asking people to come, nobody wanted to.
      Nobody ran to be WSA sites officer this year.

      You can argue that this is due to SUSU being “shitty” with WSA students, but then you are asking a “which is older, the chicken or the egg” question.

      I think that the engagement of WSA students is issue far too complex to be solved with the “winchester sabb”, as it has been proven in the past couple of years, when we had one and students there still didn’t give a shit.

      I don’t know what is the answer to the “issue” with the engagement of WSA students, but I am pretty sure winchester-only sabb isn’t.

  2. avatar

    The old Winchester sab position may be gone, put it has now been incorporated into the VP Communities position. James Brant, who is running for this position, has been to Winchester (and all the other sites for that matter) to campaign there. Clearly James cares about Winchester students, even if none of the other sab candidates do.

  3. avatar

    “Although SUSU have done a great job engaging students in Winchester this year with the Give It A Go fortnight and the NUS debate in Winchester, a lot of students still haven’t heard about the elections.”

    No-one turned up to the NUS debate in Winchester, despite the best efforts of David Gilani on the day to bring in passers-by. It wasn’t helped by the yes team showing up an hour late and then disappearing to go shopping. I and Andrea put up a few posters but no-one was interested in talking about SUSU. I had the same experience in sabb elections last year, no-one wants to have a conversation about the union at all.

    I think the problems are much more complex than this article suggests. It’s not a case of ramming it down people’s throats.

  4. avatar

    We spent time up Wsa speaking to people and putting up posters. The teams of people going around Wsa also included certain individuals who actually work at wsa union. I love that you try and fight that we don’t include you at all.

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