Lift every voice – Students’ opinions matter

“Wathintha oyedwa usi thinthe sonke,” which means “injury to one, injury to all” in the  Isizulu language, is one of the famous South African proverbs.

This is the ideology I live up to as a student and a civic leader. With a myriad of clubs and organizations on campus, I was astonished to discover that we do not have a council that represents students’ interests to campus administrators. 

We have a Student Leadership Council and Student Ambassadors but the question is, do these two organizations serve as voices of students, listening and attending to the grievances of students and ensuring that Kirkwood’s leadership serves the student body well?  

A student representative council (SRC) is a group of volunteer students working together with an advisor within the framework of a constitution to provide a means for student expression and assistance in college affairs and activities. 

This also gives students an opportunity to gain leadership experience and skills.   

 Typically a student representative council attends to the grievances of students and presents them before campus leadership to advocate solutions in the best interests of students. 

They represent students in management meetings and ensure that no student is left behind within the academic space. 

Sometimes it is better to talk to someone who is your peer as a student and tell them the problems or difficulties that you are facing on campus. 

Being peers, they relate to your perspective, and with that familiarity, you are able to fully express yourself, more than you would if you were to approach the office yourself. 

An SRC serves this role, and they are able to lodge your complaints or struggles to the relevant office.   

 When I attended the Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa, I served as a secretary of the House Committee for the Department of Law. Each department had a House Committee, and we would compile all the grievances the students had in their respective departments and present them to the SRC. 

The SRC would present them to the university’s management and seek ways to deal with such matters. Believe me, management sometimes makes the mistake of making decisions on behalf of students, assuming it is the right decision, and that their final decision is final. 

However, oftentimes the decisions do not work well for the students, and students sometimes must succumb and abide by the set decisions because they are not being given an opportunity to add their point of view. They are afraid to oppose the decision because that will be viewed as rebellious. 

Students must not feel as though they are under bureaucratic leadership and management, and I believe that Kirkwood is a community college of inclusivity and diversity in all aspects of the college.   

I know the management might think that they have everything under the control, and yes I agree, Kirkwood Community College has active management that ensures most of the college’s services and resources are fit for students.   

 I had an opportunity to randomly ask students around the campus about the need for the SRC on campus and one student, Brian, mentioned that if there was an SRC on campus he would contest the Day 1 Digital services. 

He further mentioned that they are unable to save on textbook material because using the D1D services requires you to pay for the services in full, whilst using the actual textbook is cheaper because you can often shop around for cheaper options. I quite agree with him on this one.  

 The Student Representative Council seeks to develop the culture of the college and represent the voice of the students by being the link between the students and the management to source for any requests, grievances or needs that arise from students.

Categories: Editorials, Opinion