From the Editorial Board: Vote!

Last year, Carnegie Mellon students broke records with their turnout in the student government elections. With an increase of 8.32 percent, 26.22 percent of all undergraduate and graduate students cast their vote for candidates for student body president, student body vice president for finance, student body vice president for organizations, and Undergraduate Student Senate.

Calling Carnegie Mellon students apolitical is almost a cliche at this point. It's common knowledge that a large chunk of the student body is here solely to get a good education and a good job, and that's fine because that's what we pay for. But this inward-facing portion of the population is beginning to lose out to a quickly growing group of passionate and vocal students. Our student body has the choice to take advantage of the global platform Carnegie Mellon sits on and the resources that come with it. In many cases, this is an opportunity to create change, and more and more students have been taking it.

The Tartan hopes that this trend continues. If you stop, look, and listen while you walk past Doherty Hall or through Wean Commons, it will be so clear how many people have a cause they believe in. The community has been especially mobilized by controversial social issues brought up by national elections. The frightening future that many of us have been forced to consider has been a wake-up call. As our rights are threatened, we pull them closer to our hearts. We've spoken up about issues that affect us to enact change, such as Title IX. This can only inspire more change if we keep up the momentum and live our values.

Every vote has the power to change something and the chance to show student government what the student body wants. We hope that more Carnegie Mellon students will seize that right this year, next year, and every year after that.

The results of each year's election affect every student. Student Government executive and senators have a tremendous say in important issues like the student health insurance policy and even the tuition increase. In addition, anyone involved with one of 346 organizations recognized on The Bridge is affected by the decisions that the vice presidents for organizations and finance make everyday, such as space and money allocations. With the university at such a turning point, pumping out influential changes almost every week, we need elect a Student Government that we can confidently count on to represent the interests of students.

Our democracy owes us the right to vote, but we owe it to the university to cast an educated vote. Students should do the research on candidates' platforms, attend the debates to get answers, and think critically about which pairs can lead us toward a better future. Don't just vote for your friend's friend or who has the prettiest website. Make your vote count by casting a vote that you really thought about.

As our interviews in this issue should reflect, this year's candidates have a lot of ambitions for the next academic year. You can visit the Elect@CMU website to read everyone's platforms. But if you want to do more, you can attend the debates that The Tartan will host Tues., March 22 from 7–9 p.m. in McConomy for the presidential candidates, and Wed., March 23 from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Adamson Wing (Baker Hall 136A) for the vice presidents for organization and finance candidates. We will also be building in time for a town-hall style question and answer portion. If what you learn excites or concerns you, you can contact candidates to have discussions. But here's the bottom line: you should vote.

You can cast your vote on the Elect@CMU website beginning at 8 a.m. on March 31 and ending April 4 at 6 p.m., and Senate will ratify the results on April 6. We at The Tartan hope to see record-breaking turnout.