The SFUO’s GA on March 14 was its first to reach quorum. Photo: Eric Davidson, CC, Ross Dunn. Edits: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik.
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Salary drama or not, these assemblies give you tools to help fix the student union

After years of failed attempts, the SFUO held its first proper General Assembly (GA) on March 14. It was successful. Motions were passed. People cheered. Someone even mooed at one point.

So I know what you’re thinking: how will future GAs live up to that? Why would I want to show up to a GA where there’s no big controversy over salaries?

Well, you don’t need to worry. As somebody who’s covered multiple failed GAs, I can tell you that there’s plenty of reason to show up when it comes to less controversial events—even if you’re not as big of a nerd as I am.

First of all, there’s the budget.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but SFUO finances have been the subject of constant controversy over the years, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on that. And if you’re concerned about SFUO dollars, the GA is the place to be. Every assembly features the vice-president finance going over the budget in front of the crowd. They’re often in the room after the event to answer additional questions you might have.

If you want to discuss serious problems like last year’s near-bankruptcy, or talk about financial troubles that are brewing, this is the perfect time to raise questions. You can save yourself, and all of your fellow students, a big headache down the road.

Second, if you do decide to go and the event reaches quorum, this recent GA has shown that you can pass motions yourself, despite a new rule that reduces power to the GAs.

If you have a concern involving the SFUO there’s a real chance you can make a solution happen yourself, if you can back it up. And it doesn’t need to be over something as dramatic as SFUO pay raises.

Third, the GA is the place where you, an individual student, can make your voice heard across campus. There are many points during this meeting where you are allowed to address the room, and many others where you have the opportunity to talk directly to executive members of the SFUO.

And if that’s not enough, you can have your message spread throughout social media.

Several attendees of the recent GA live-streamed the event, and it got significant reach, since many students already had the assembly on their mind. And of course, the campus media will always be present to report important points from the meeting, whether it’s drama-filled or not.

And finally, an event like the GA is the best way to get involved with student politics if you’re busy. While it may sound like a two or three-hour long meeting will take up a lot of your time, it’s nothing compared to the SFUO’s policy-setting Board of Administration meetings, which can last seven to nine hours.

So in the end, if you’re worried that future GAs won’t live up to the hype, don’t be. Whether or not the climate in student politics is boiling or balmy, the GA is a useful tool for you to help fix problems you see in our student union.