Student government elections coming soon

Last Friday, one of our board members was enjoying the Pittsburgh sun outside when he was approached by a petitioner holding a clipboard and a pen. The petition? Add readme to the Senate ballot for this year’s upcoming elections. Now, as fine a publication as we’re sure readme is, the fact that adding Optimus Prime to the ballot isn’t enough of a joke anymore means student government elections are spiraling far out of hand.

April 24 and 25 are the dates of this year’s Student Senate and executive office elections, which will, among other things, place two new people in the positions of student body president and vice-president. For years these elections have been the object of ridicule among undergrads, as fictitious robot behemoths frequently garner more votes than some flesh-and-blood students. Last year, voter turnout was an “impressive” 28 percent. With numbers like those, who needs apathy?

In reality, though, a student government is only as good as the people who make it. And that’s precisely why you should consider running.

We all have our niches to fill on this campus. But if you really want to change how our undergraduate population operates on a very real level, there’s no greater challenge than to cut through the bureaucratic flapdoodle in which our student government has mired itself and infuse some efficiency and purpose into its bloodstream. If you consider yourself a leader, student government is simply one of the best places to make a difference in your four years.

You won’t be able to take it lightly, though. The issues our student government deals with are no joke: the Joint Funding Committee, composed of Senators and Graduate Student Assembly representatives, doles out nearly a million dollars every year to make up the budgets for every funded student organization on campus. And beyond that, Senate has the power to influence nearly every major decision on campus.

What we need are some movers and shakers to get things kick-started again. And frankly, readme just doesn’t have enough charisma.

So how can you get involved, you ask? Filling out a petition is simple. Pick one up at the UC Info Desk, and if you’re gunning for a Senate seat, get 25 signatures from students in your college. For an executive office, you’ll need 100, but even that is fewer students than in some lectures on campus.

Executive office petitions are due by April 10, and Senate petitions are due by April 14. Turn them back in to the UC Info Desk, and e-mail the elections board at ( if you have any questions in the meantime.

We’re looking forward to a solid election season this year — it’s been too long since students have genuinely felt their Senate is a crucial part of campus. This year’s student government has made some important steps, but there is still much room to grow. We look to people like you to be a productive influence on student government.