At a university of music and performing arts, vocal training is first and most essentially domain of singers, of course, although future teachers as well as actors also train their voices as part of their studies. But one can also conceive of voice training more broadly: as the practice of involving oneself in democracy and civil society. Raising our voices literally or figuratively (by voting) enables us to express our concerns, contribute to discussions, and ultimately help make decisions – and one way to do so is in the upcoming Austrian Student Union (ÖH) elections from 16 to 18 May 2017. These elections determine which students will represent our degree programmes, our institution, and Austria’s universities at large for the next two years. Every vote counts, and the best part is: your voice remains yours even after you’ve thrown your vote in the box.
The atmospheric tuning at the mdw, be it “well-tempered” or “meantone”, depends in large part on its students. Through the ÖH, we can all have an even greater effect than any of us on our own. The ÖH’s elected representatives sit on studies commissions, search committees, and in the University Senate, where they express their opinions, contribute their ideas to daily academic life, and make general student concerns heard. Moreover, students’ representation in various decision-making bodies enables them to coordinate and agree on compromises with instructors and administrators. The alternative to democratic representation, on the other hand, is to have our voices – and thus our concerns – go unheard. And who wants that?
Voting in the ÖH elections helps lend our concerns more weight and ensure that they’re acted upon. Your opportunities here go beyond mere voting, though: all mdw students also have the right to become candidates and collect votes themselves. Any of you can do that, may do that—and maybe you should! So whether as a candidate or as a voter, now’s the time to get involved and lend us your voice!