The Slovenia Times

Yellow, Orange and Indifferent?



Every student with status has the option of running in the election, be it as an independent or as a part of a particular list of candidates. In Ljubljana, the two most prominent candidate lists are the so-called Soncnice (Sunflowers), recognizable by their yellow attire, and the orange-clad Independent Academic Group. As the elections in the largest faculty city in Slovenia draw nearer, Ljubljana's colleges are buzzing with the two colours, amidst a fierce election campaign. In the past, much to the satisfaction of students everywhere, this campaign consisted of the handing out of cookies, must, orange or yellow badges, balloons, plastic flowers, pens, handy folders and, naturally, pre-election parties in the city's many bars and taverns. But not anymore: according to the new Election Campaigns statute passed by SOU Ljubljana, the distribution of any food and drink, as well as the distribution of any type of propaganda material over the value of 300 SIT is now prohibited, be it in or around the campus. Moreover, the representatives of the orange and yellow lists claim that by some decree, presumably by the dean of the University of Ljubljana, even gifts under the prescribed value are, as of recently, forbidden. The badges and folders can no longer be found. With the persistently-low percentage of student voters, who react only to "bribes" and usually do not know exactly what they are voting for, all are left wondering how many will decide to attend the elections this year. Student Arena But perhaps all is not so grim in faculty land. Student Arena, a major three-day event at the beginning of October, organized this year for the fifth time by SOU Ljubljana and the Council of Student Clubs, shows that there is still hope of bolstering student awareness. Arena's main goal is the connection of the educational and business sectors, providing students with first-hand information and, at the same time, enabling universities to gain knowledge about the interests and needs of the students. This is achieved through exhibitions by the faculties, companies, student clubs and other organizations, as well as lectures, workshops and round-table discussions, where students gain information on education, employability and how to create and spend quality free time. And it seems to work - last year's attendance was around 24,000, forcing this year's Arena to move to Gospodarsko Razstavisce (Ljubljana Fairgrounds), the only exhibition facility in the country large enough to accommodate it. It would seem that the student population is not as passive and indifferent as one might think - when it comes to their own interests, the students are capable of action, capable of sacrificing a precious moment or two. So perhaps it is time that they realize that their future is not bettered only in the lively environment of the Student Arena, but it could also be improved by electing a competent student assembly and SOVZ - but then again, why pick on students, when the whole country seems to be somewhat uninterested when it comes to politics? Organizational structure The so-called SOU Ljubljana is part of the Student Organization of Slovenia or SOS, a self-governing community that operates on a system of parliament democracy. The goal of both organizations is to improve the quality of student life, be it in the capital city or elsewhere. Not that the students are particularly aware of this goal. Not many actually know that SOS consists of SOU Ljubljana, SOU Maribor and SOU Primorska, and that each of these has its own student assembly; its legislative and therefore its highest political body. Within a particular SOU, each faculty also has its own governing body known under the Slovene acronym SOVZ. The representatives of both the student assembly and the SOVZ are chosen directly by their peers in an annual student election - and this is what these elections are all about.


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