Each year our campus community entertains certain “new” public discussions: How do we encourage diversity within student activities? How do we engage an apathetic campus? This time of year, the questions inevitably turn to, “How can you increase student turnout in campus elections? When will students recognize the importance of student government?” But these aren’t new questions, this isn’t a new discussion, and we don’t have a new answer.
Certain things just are. Students care about campus, but that level of concern can vary with the weather, the amount of school work, and, in the case of student government, the people in office. This year, we didn’t seek to provide or become an answer to the fundamental question. We just wanted to alter the perception and the reality of student government.
This year, we sought to redefine the meaning of student government’s capacity. We think we’ve got a lot done toward that goal and we hope students agree.
That’s why this election is so important to us. Election turnout can be interpreted in two ways: as a reflection on the value of the current administration or on the controversy of a potential administration. This year, the candidates are all engaged, passionate individuals, and free of controversy. So, ultimately this election tests whether or not we’ve convinced you of a basic idea: that student government can and should serve a meaningful purpose on campus.
Whether you approved of the Mixed-Gender Pilot or not, you can recognize that it was a student-driven change. Whether or not you ever read TartansWiki.org, you can recognize that it can be a tremendously useful tool for students. And whether or not you like the bike program, you can recognize that instituting such a program means having a vision, a goal, and an ability to act in the interests of students. That’s the capacity and importance of student government. We think that’s really, really important. We hope you do, too.
So from Tuesday to Wednesday, please vote, because this election is more than just the issues and more than just the candidates. It’s about the capacity of student government to do something meaningful for students. We’re not saying it will; we’re not saying that any of these candidates are the ones to “git-r-done”; but we want you to say that there’s the potential. And if that doesn’t hold meaning, please just vote because we’re asking you to.