I have a confession to make: I didn’t vote in the last SA election. I’m guessing not many of you did either. In fact, only 7.4 percent of the student body voted in. This, believe it or not, is a pretty good turnout. We’ve had years with only 2 percent. And I think that’s okay.
I know this isn’t terribly democratic of me, but in the context of student government it doesn’t really seem to matter who’s in office. In fact, in all my years at TU it seems to me that SA’s main function is to buy pizza for the Greeks and pass bills that alter their own constitution in small ways that only really pertain to themselves. Call me cynical, but the name on the check we hand to the pizza guy doesn’t really seem to matter.
Even if it somehow did make a difference, it still doesn’t matter to the average student. I’m guessing that most of us don’t know the name of our SA representative, or even forget we have one until elections week and then forget again immediately afterwards.
I’m exaggerating slightly, of course. I know SA does other things, like Springfest, for example. But once again, does it really matter who the specific people are who put it on? Maybe it matters to SA, but for the rest of us, Springfest happens no matter who is in SA.
And even if it did matter, how are we to know which candidate would be better suited for the job? The only information we get during the election cycle are posters and personal statements that are as vague as they are unhelpful. Every time I’ve voted I’ve just picked someone at random, without knowing a single substantive thing about any of the candidates.
If the Student Association really wants us to get more involved with student government, they should give us more reason to care. For example, candidates could engage with voters more. I would vote if my representative could explain what they would do for me. Apartment representatives could canvass door-to-door, as could the Dorm representatives.
I’m not qualified to give advice to SA about how to run campaigns, and to be honest I shouldn’t have to. If SA wants us to vote, they should give us some reason to care about the outcome.