Never heard of the SRC? No idea what it does? You’re far from alone. As campaigning and voting for this year’s SRC are underway this week, our brief explainer answers the most pressing questions about what the SRC does, why it matters and what all those fancy titles mean.

Stupid question: What is the SRC?

Not stupid at all! Even students who’ve been here for years don’t really know all that much about the SRC.

Let’s start with the obvious: SRC stands for Student Representative Council and it’s a key pillar of student representation on campus.

And what does it do?

It represents all students on campus, lobbies the University, and holds DUSA and its executive accountable.

Sounds pretty vague, to be honest.

Yeah, I see your point, so let’s look at some of the stuff the SRC did last year.

For example, its members pushed the University to make reading lists available at least two weeks before the semester starts. That’ll allow students to buy cheaper books that might take longer to be delivered.

And we can get a head start on our reading for the semester!

Yeah, but who do you think you’re kidding?

If you enjoy the free WiFi in halls, that also started with the SRC. Can you imagine previous generations of halls residents had to put up with cables or buy a router on their own? Yes, first-world problems, but still awful.

Last year’s SRC also encouraged the library to provide more power sockets for charging laptops, pushed for an earlier release of exam dates so students can get cheaper tickets for going home, and passed a resolution supporting the living wage for all University employees.

Sounds pretty relevant, no?

It does, but how come I never heard about any of that?

The SRC usually has to rely on others to make changes. It can’t force the library to open earlier on weekends, for example – councillors can only lobby for it. Same with DUSA, where policies are set by the board.

Both the university and DUSA’s executive pay attention to the SRC, though, so it has become a real voice for students.

So who is on the SRC?

There are 50 people from all walks of university life, as the cliché goes. You can’t vote for all of them this week – some are there because of other positions they hold – but most will need your support.

Let’s start with the elected positions. I’ll try to keep it short, promise.

  • The SRC Chairperson is the official head of the SRC, chairs its meeting and sets its agenda.
  • The Learning and Teaching Rep deals with learning and teaching matters (duh) and feeds student comments back to the University. There are also a 1st Year Learning and Teaching Rep, a Postgraduate Rep for Learning and Teaching, and an International Students Rep for Learning and Teaching to focus on issues particularly relevant to these groups.
  • The Services and Facilities Rep handles matters relating to DUSA and University services and facilities (like the library or eVision). There are also a 1st Year Services and Facilities Rep, aPostgrad Services and Facilities Rep, and an International Students Rep for Services and Facilities.
  • The Environment and Sustainability Rep works with DUSA and the University for a greener campus. He or she is also actively involved with DUSA’s commitment to Fair Trade, so you can drink your coffee knowing it wasn’t picked by Guatemalan kids who are paid a penny a day.
  • The Equality and Welfare Rep deals with equality and diversity on campus. If you’re straight or LGBT, a man or a woman, tall or small, or individual in any other way, shape or form (that’s everyone), he or she helps create a discrimination-free environment for you.
  • The Disabilities Rep handles disability provision concerns. A huge part of his or her job is to ensure that students with disabilities have as good a time at university as everyone else, from easy access to lecture theatres to fun nights out.
  • There are three SRC Councillors without Portfolio who deal with questions not covered by the other Reps. So if you have an issue but don’t know who to talk to, these are the people to bother!
  • It’s sometimes easy to forget that not all students are in their late teens or early twenties. That’s where the Mature Students Rep comes in. He or she works on matters that are particularly relevant to students with more life experience than the average halls resident.
  • Students of every school also elect a school president who gets to sit on the SRC.

Ummm… What school am I even in?

No idea. If you don’t know, check your student profile on eVision.

You mentioned other non-elected SRC members.

Well, most of them actually are elected, just in different ways. Members of DUSA’s Societies Council send two Reps, a Student Staff Rep represents DUSA’s student employees, there’s a Halls Rep for students living in University accommodation, and DUSA’s media outlets (of which we are one) select a Media Rep. The Sports Union, DUSA’s exec and the rector are also represented.

All these guys are campaigning on campus and it’s super annoying. Why can’t they leave me alone?

Are you one of those who never run or vote for anything and then loudly complain about everything? No? Then don’t be such a grump, man. Get some candy, enjoy democracy in action, and see which candidates offer more than a boilerplate “I want to improve your student experience.”

Okay, I’m pumped to vote now! How and when can I do that?

Awesome! Voting starts Thursday at 9 AM on MyDundee and closes Friday at 5 PM. The candidates will probably make sure you don’t forget, though.

Standard disclosure: DUSA Media is part of DUSA. But you already knew that.