Another one: SGA elections breed apathy once againBy Samantha Rudelich | 02/29/2016 3:24pm
I do not want to engage in the hectic Student Government Associations elections or campus politics anymore. Unfortunately, that does not seem like an option. Everywhere I go I am bombarded with campaign buttons or invited to “like” someone’s campaign on Facebook. If I have been within a five foot radius of someone who is now running for an office, they will ask me to endorse, support, and sign a blood oath aligning myself with that person forever. It is a week and half constant chaos, in which candidates, some of whom I did not even realize held an office before, come out of the woodwork in attempt to win my vote. But what happens on March 2, when the dust settles, the Facebook pages are gone, and we finally have our new officers and legislatures?
My frustration with all the campaigns stems from the overwhelming noise for the sake of an organization that stays mostly silent the majority of the year. I am tired of hearing about all the amazing things that SGA accomplishes only during election season. Whenever I do hear about what happens, it mostly comes from Facebook posts. I believe that this tactic to engage students falls short of informing the entire student body. When students only hear from SGA officials during election season and do not experience the tangible benefits from their work, they assume that nothing is actually being done. This silence from SGA just encourages voter apathy once election season comes around because students assume that no matter who earns the position, they will spend the year doing nothing.
This year, I have felt more in-tune with the SGA initiatives than ever before. Especially with the new “Ask SGA” site and the ability to access some of the documents up in the Senate, there seems to be more outreach to students than years before. Though this year has been better, I still feel a considerable disconnect between SGA and the student body. Through more organization on the documents up for a vote in Senate and a conscious effort to engage students throughout the year, students will be more inclined to engage in voting for SGA officers.
SGA elections are exhausting me. Voting is an important right that I believe everyone should exercise as engaged students and citizens. But these petty politics used to win offices we never hear from again need to end because they make students feel frustrated with the entire process. Instead of talking about unity and making this university a safe place for everyone, we need to embody those values in order to encourage everyone to grow, learn and succeed together. Holding the people we have elected to represent us to equally high standards will bring progress and change to this university. But allowing them to clog our social media for a week and a half and then disappear into their Ferguson Center offices for the school year needs to come to an end.
Samantha Rudelich is a junior majoring in business management. Her column runs biweekly.