Prove your humanity

Over the past few years, the Student Guild has experienced a massive decrease in Curtin University students voting for Guild Elections. Although there are many possibilities as to why this has occurred, we at Grok Magazine have taken it upon ourselves to gain some insight as to why these numbers have dropped significantly. 

In order to reach out to as many students as we could, we hosted a poll on our social media platforms, while also contacting students directly, and asked them the following questions:

  1. Are you planning on voting for the Guild Election this year? Why/Why Not?
    2. Have you ever voted for the Guild Election before? Why/Why not?
    3. What would encourage you to vote for future Guild Elections?
    4. What issues would you like to see the Student Guild tackle?

Through hosting these polls and reaching out to Curtin University students, we received approximately 30 responses. Here are the results.

Image Credit: Jimmy Loh

Are you planning on voting for the Guild Election this year?
a) 6.67% of students said “Yes”, while the remaining 93.33% said “No”.

For those who voted “Yes”, these were their reasons:
– They are currently running for this year’s Guild Election.
– They used to be a member of the Guild.

For those who voted “No”, these were their reasons:
– Since assignments tend to pile up during the election period, they don’t have time to vote.
– As they’re only at university to study and go home, they don’t care too much about student politics. 


Have you ever voted for the Guild Election before?
a) 13.33% of students said “Yes”, while the remaining 86.67% said “No”.

For those who voted “Yes”, these were their reasons:
– They were a first-year student and wanted to get more involved with “university life”.
– They were flooded with emails.
– They ran for previous Guild Elections.
– They believed the student voice should be reflected in the student body it’s presenting.

For those who voted “No”, these were their reasons:
– They lack information about the Student Guild.
– They don’t care about student politics, or just don’t have the time to care.
– They are uncertain on how to vote.
– They weren’t enrolled at Curtin University during the time.
– They knew it wasn’t compulsory.
– They were in lockdown due to COVID-19. 


What would encourage you to vote for future Guild Elections?
a) There were a variety of answers for this question, but the main reasons were as listed:
– Knowing more about the candidates through promotions and advertisements.
– Seeing more noticeable change.
– Seeing more authority be given to Guild Executives and Representatives.
– Receiving further notice about the election occurring.
– They would like voting for Guild Elections to be made compulsory.
– Having a better understanding of what the Student Guild actually does besides running events and clubs.
– Having a physical voting system.
– If the Guild Election would have a personal impact on them.
– Offering better Student Guild/Curtin University merchandise.
– Having information about the Student Guild presented during first-year seminars, lectures and tutorials.
– Moving the election period to a date when students aren’t as busy with assignments.
– If certain candidates were to be elected for the role they’re striving for.
– Uncertain/No Answer


What issues would you like to see the Student Guild tackle?
a) Similar to the previous question, we received many different responses, but the main ones were as listed:
– Mental Health.
– Parking system and fees.
– Financial and Academic Support
– Independence and Academic Sustainability
– Uncertain/No Answer

Image Credit: Jimmy Loh

After receiving these answers, we later sat down with Dylan Botica – the 2022 President of the Student Guild – in order to get his input on why the number of voters have dropped over the last few years, as well as what he personally thought about the responses we received.

“We usually have a little over a thousand students vote for Guild Elections per year. It’s never been an incredibly high number, but we’ve noticed there’s definitely been a steady drop as of late.” Dylan clarifies. “From my perspective, I feel like a lot of students are busy with their lives, and it can be very difficult to see the value in voting for the elections.”

As we fill him in on the results of our polls and interviews, Dylan brings himself to answer some of the concerns that Curtin University students have brought up. “The Guild has strived to make things more accessible, open and transparent during the election. There will be two physical voting booths present – so those who wanted them will get it this year. We also send out emails and publish all of the information about the election online.” He explains. “Since the majority of students are usually on-campus for around three years, the sort of improvements that students want to see only really come into effect years down the track – long after they’ve graduated. Campaigning for these issues also takes a lot of patience and persistence, so voting for Guild Elections is a good place to start.”

Reaching the conclusion of our discussion, Grok Magazine asks Dylan about what he believes could encourage more students to vote for the Guild Election. “One of the things that I’d personally like to do is increase the ability for students to put themselves forward, while also giving more support to those who end up becoming Guild representatives. Over the years, we’ve put rules in place to create a safer environment for Guild Election campaigns, so we’ll continue to do that as well.” He affirms. 

“We’ve also brought in the democracy-sausage, because although it’s great to have people vote, it’s also good to give them a little bit of recognition at the end of it and say, “grab a free sausage”. It’s not a massive thing, but who doesn’t love free food?” 

If you’re interested in learning more about how the Guild Election is running this year, feel free to check out the Student Guild Website, and be sure to keep an eye on the important Guild Election dates.