Every year the SU hosts an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and it is one of the biggest democratic events in the SU calendar, coming close to the Leadership Race (taking place in March, btw).
So, why is the AGM so important? As the SU is directed by its members (that's you, USW students), the AGM is used to adopt a collective stance on key issues and decide the direction of the SU for the year ahead.
The build up to AGM this year has been massive so, it was a huge relief to see a queue of students stretching outside the building waiting to register and take part, helping us surpass the 100 students required to hit quoracy by at least 70!
Chisomo Phiri, NUS Wales Women’s Officer opened the meeting, welcoming students and after some points of order, the AGM was away!
This year, we had a fantastic 12 motions put forward by students, and the debate on the floor was fierce! It was great to see so many students passionately sharing their stories and engaging in our democracy.
The policy proposals put forward will result in a big step forward for the LGBT+ community and other liberation groups in the university. ‘Keep the T’, ‘Times They are a Changin’ and ‘Save the Dates’ all proposed by Gender Identity Officer, Kay passed with some amendments from the floor. I can’t wait to see these changes take place.
Then it was on to the call to action proposals which were mainly focused on funding for services and activities. One of these, proposed by Student Activities Officer, Rhys Pewtner called for ‘Fair funding for USWSU’. The motion highlighted the constraints placed on the Students’ Union by the subvention it currently receives from the University. After questions and debate the motion was passed by the floor.
Other hotly debated ideas included ‘Counselling conundrum’ and ‘No campus left behind, end campus discrimination’ proposed by Szimona Szoradova and Katie Moore respectively. What was clear from these ideas was the need for students to be involved in changes to provision and for transparency in decision making processes. With these motions passed, we can now begin the hard work and conversations needed to create real change.
My experience of this years’ AGM has been a positive one. Hearing students speak passionately about their ideas and vote unanimously in favour of proposals to improve our University and Union has highlighted the importance of a strong and united student voice at USW.
So What Happens Next?
The motions that were approved give a mandate to us, the Sabbatical Officers to lobby the University for change. Campaigning and lobbying can be a slow process and the results of the AGM by no means imply that all the work is done.
So from me; thank you all for taking part! Please continue to submit idea to our Student Council, and get involved with the Union to help promote further changes and development.