The term for the 2010/2011 SRC has almost come to an end. In the beginning of the year, plans and promises were made. But has the SRC managed to cater to the needs of students housed in residences?
“I feel the SRC was always there for the residences and that we could always count on its support,” said Howard Saffy, Taaibos Chairperson (2010/2011). “[The SRC] always has our back[s] and stands up for the residences, especially in the constant fight with management,” Saffy added. The SRC Residence Affairs portfolio this year was headed by Anzel Steyn, a former primaria at one of the residences.“I believe that the residence portfolio was one of the most challenging portfolios and [yet] we succeeded in quite a few aspects this year,” said Steyn. According to Saffy, Steyn did an excellent job standing up for residence traditions and helping out individual residences with their issues.
In addition, each residence was allocated an SRC representative who would attend house meetings and report back on the grievances that arose in residences. Some residences had active SRC representatives, while others didn’t even know who their representative was. “The allocation of specific SRC members to residences didn’t work so well. I don’t know who the SRC rep assigned to Taaibos was,” said Saffy. One of the issues tackled by the SRC was food prices. “It’s the first time that the SRC successfully managed to lower food prices in the dining halls, ensuring that the students receive a quality meal,” explained Steyn. However, some students felt that prices should have been lowered even more.
Another issue that residences felt the SRC needed to look into is the communication gap between res management (e.g. HK) and university management. Students feel that the res culture is under threat by management. “The university management is not supportive of res culture,” said Zaré van Dyk, Magrietjie Primaria. Earlier this year, there were rumours that university management might cancel res culture events such as Serrie. But students were then assured that Serrie would not be cancelled. “Often the management does not seem to take our concerns seriously and prefers to treat students like children. We need to be taken more seriously,” said Saffy.
According to Steyn, the SRC had meetings with the residences’ executive committees to hear what their feelings were regarding day-to-day issues. The SRC also managed to organise a meeting with management to talk about the orientation week programme, thus allowing students a platform to discuss the difficulties they experienced. Nevertheless, there is still the feeling among students that management has the final say, whether the SRC fights for residences or not.
The SRC has being accused of not being visible enough for students to know who the SRC members are. “I truly believe that the visibility of the SRC improved and students felt more comfortable to approach us with problems and issues they experience. I dealt with a lot of students and in most cases I was able to assist them sucessfully,” said Steyn. According to Samali Nowe, an international student in res, the SRC is not visible enough to students. “I know they [the SRC] are there, but I don’t who they are [individually],” said Nowe. Nowe added that the SRC should make themesleves more visible to first year international students during O-week.“They [SRC] weren’t that visible. They were more behind the scenes, working more with the HK than with the students,” said Van Dyk. “The HK knows what the SRC is doing, but the house doesn’t,” added Van Dyk. Steyn said that the SRC still has a lot to do for the residences in the remaining part of the year. “We are busy negotiating the continuation of the pre-Spring Day bash. We are still waiting on the outcome,” said Steyn.