Eleven votes sealed the fate of two students last year: Charles Gaines defeated Daniel Burgner to become the Students’ Association president. Unfortunately, only about 25 percent of eligible students actually cast a vote.
SA, particularly the executive officers, face challenges unlike any SA has seen in many years. Construction on the Money Student Wellness and Recreation Center and the resulting parking issues will affect students for months to come. Tuition is increasing by 12 percent, and students are about to see a hike in the student activity fee. Next year, the Mobile Learning Initiative will culminate in 100 percent saturation of campus. Not to mention, SA will have to establish a solid working relationship with a brand new administration.
In a student body of fewer than 5,000 students, every vote really does count. And those votes are important. SA officers serve as the face of the student body, and we should be concerned with presenting the best face possible to administration and faculty. More importantly, however, we have an opportunity to set the agenda for next year.
Who we vote for will determine to a large extent what issues SA chooses to tackle. Contrary to some student opinion, the SA executive officers and Congress vote on more than how much money student groups get for pizza parties.
SA has proven during the past year they can be effective if they take advantage of the opportunities they’re given. It’s all about who you know, and SA seems to know a lot of people – a lot of the right people.
We’re hoping the successful initiatives and extensive networking with students and administration will continue through next year, but it could be a difficult task.
Despite the challenges, we believe SA is up to the task. We believe the students are, as well. That is, if they take the time to evaluate the candidates and make an educated decision. If you’re just tuning in, that means vote. In the end, making a choice is as important as the choice you make.