Leadership Perspectives

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Each year the student body has the very important task of electing its future student representatives. As a student body, we are choosing who we want to represent our needs. But how important are student elections? What does the student government do? How do they impact our lives? This could be a potentially contentious debate, and the answers you receive depend on whom you speak with.

In reality, the role our elected student representatives play — serving students’ needs, graduate and undergraduate alike — is integral to the functions of Carnegie Mellon University. These needs range from forming new student initiatives to stewarding programs from the past and finding liaisons to interact with the administration and with the outside community.

I have been impressed by the impact that students can have, by either joining student government or by participating in student groups. Important initiatives that affect student life and the greater Pittsburgh community have been the result of successful student leadership.

There was a time directly after this country’s most recent Presidential election when a swell of opinion around the statement “Yes, we can” created a sense of optimism that increased political and public participation. And although the imagery and hype has subsided, the sentiment remains. As members of the Carnegie Mellon community, we do have the opportunity and ability to inspire and create change.

Although we tend to connect with the intensity of systemic and global change, it is the smaller, locals and more community-focused changes that we take on as individuals that will truly impact those around us.

On behalf of the 2010 Elections Board, I invite you to vote this coming April 3–6. Let your voice be heard: Participate in the change, innovation, and student activity that occurs on campus each day. There are four university-wide executive positions: student body president and vice president, student body vice president for finance, and student body vice president for organizations. Undergraduates and graduates can all vote for these executives. Undergraduates will also be given the opportunity to vote for their representative to Student Senate, according to their home school.

Please join us in taking the first step to decide our own future as students. Elect those among us who can represent our needs and lead the way for change.