KSU already has 10 new members joining the team for the upcoming year, but one seat is still empty.
Tomorrow, University students will be voting for their candidate of choice to occupy the role within KSU of Culture & Entertainment Officer. But does it being the only position still up for grabs make this election a lot less exciting? Well, not quite.
Tomorrow’s election will essentially be one between SDM and an independent candidate, unheard of in recent years of constant competition between SDM and Pulse for the KSU throne, aside from the latter’s decision for the past two years to not contest at all.
Essentially, like last year, the 2017 SDM candidates thought they had it easy; an automatic election following the KSU AGM without the need to campaign or even justify their candidature to the student body.
Yet, SDM candidate Harley Mallia, known on campus both for her active participation in organising Students’ Fest and her fiery identical-to-Merida locks, has to face an election for the remaining KSU chair.
Nicholas Martinelli, former Pulse candidate at KSJC and Events Manager for UoM Futsal, decided to break the SDM deadlock and contest independently. Even though he was the only University student to do so out of more than 11,000 on the Maltese campus, his move hasn’t gone unnoticed.
A considerable number of students who usually don’t even consider making the effort of setting foot into the voting booths, might just do so in response to Martinelli’s ‘KSU Ghal Kulhadd’ (‘KSU For Everyone’) slogan.
On the other hand though, the majority of Arts students on campus, and others heavily involved in Students’ Fest and other cultural activities organised by KSU, seem to be backing Mallia, together with the rest of the numerous SDM supporters.
So honestly, we can’t really call it. Although Martinelli’s candidature is a breath of fresh air, and he himself is very popular on campus, the whole of SDM has Mallia’s back, and so does everyone else who practically cannot see anyone else but her making all the decisions for next year’s edition of Students’ Fest.
But pulling off a Sai Mulan-like production isn’t and shouldn’t be the only thing on people’s minds when marking their ballot sheet (again, only if they actually make the effort to be in that position). Let’s compare both candidates’ manifestos.
Interestingly enough, both candidates have put forward 10 key proposals, albeit Mallia having to share her section in the SDM manifesto with the already elected Culture & Entertainment Coordinator Luke Abela.
Frankly, neither set of proposals come close to the Ten Commandments, but some interesting features do emerge. Mallia’s proposals seem to be very focused on being environmentally-friendly, whilst also continuing on what has proved successful for KSU in the past years.
Her proposals in fact include continuing Students’ Fest, the Arts Festival, Campus Fest and talent competitions similar to Kokka Kampus. Martinelli’s manifesto doesn’t feature these staple KSU events at all, but instead does mention a Street Art Festival on campus, 3 Expos specifically promoting different genres of art, and some sort of ‘Volunteer Hub’ as an initiative for Valletta 2018.
Martinelli’s proposals go on to present potential collaborations with the likes of Heritage Malta and Sport Malta. Ironically being Martinelli’s passionate field, Mallia instead is the only candidate to mention collaborating with Malta Futsal to create a new team for Junior College students.
Aside from a couple of interesting green initiatives like the Tree Nursery and a ‘Bring Your Own Mug’ initiative, Mallia’s proposals on behalf of SDM aren’t really that innovative when taken as a whole.
Martinelli tries to be more creative with his proposals, but in reality none of them go above and beyond what other much smaller student organisations already do successfully on an annual basis.
He might be taking more of a realistic approach, with proposals he surely thinks he’d be able to put into effect, but Mallia’s more detailed proposals are strongly backed by SDM’s successful track record in culture and entertainment.
Martinelli seems to be relying on his strong mission statement of being a representative for all students, not just those affiliated with SDM or Pulse. Mallia, on the other hand, has openly welcomed her competition, claiming that Martinelli’s choice to contest independently has increased students’ interest in KSU’s work.
Defending herself for not having experience in a student organisation executive before this election, Mallia believes she has something different and essential to offer to KSU.
All in all, it is very important for all UoM students to exercise their voting right tomorrow and voice their choice. It really isn’t that hard or time-consuming at all.
Johann Agius is a fourth year law student who is currently the CEO of Insite after fulfilling the roles of Public Relations Officer and External Relations Officer in previous years. He joined Insite as a writer and photographer in 2013 and was elected in the executive for the first time a year later.