Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Student activism still alive, virtually

Considering the feedback and reaction on Facebook to my post Why I am not a Guild Associate Member I found the last word ... in the latest issue of UWA News, by Tom Antoniazzi, rather ironic. Tom writes:
Today students engage in an increasingly virtual space. We don’t march or rally or sit-in because we don’t need to be in the same place at the same time to achieve our aims. From my office chair I can post my thoughts on the Guild’s Facebook page and instantaneously connect with more than 5,000 student followers. Our education campaigns are conducted almost exclusively online – polls, surveys, petitions and key information all at the click of a mouse. In this sense the technology of today has allowed the Guild to engage with students on a level beyond contemplation in the 60s and 70s. Social media is our virtual soapbox.
which is all true. It is, of course, important that the Guild does engage with students. Responses to my posting indicate that this is not the case. Tom goes on to say:
Instead of confrontation, we now favour consensus-building. Radicalism has been replaced by a moderate and level-headed approach. The guild is a professional organisation still run by passionate students, but focused on the delivery of high-quality advocacy and services for its students.
It is clear that the Guild is not listening; in particular, food services are mediocre. I see that late entries to the the Guild Eat and Drink Survey are being accepted until June 26, implying that the level of student feedback has been underwhelming. I'd be interested to see the response to question 31.
During semester, how much do you spend per week on food and drinks at off campus outlets during your study hours?
Finally, the survey does not ask the obvious question:
Should the Guild permit franchises and external businesses to operate on campus?
Disclosure: the author is an employee of the University, and the views expressed are those of the author and not those of the University.

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