By The Gatepost Editorial Board
On April 13, Student Government Association (SGA) will hold its annual election. Students from any class standing may cast their ballot virtually by simply heading to RamLink.
SGA is a vital organization at our University. It is how student concerns are brought to the attention of administrators. SGA is also responsible for allocating funds to student organizations and events on campus.
These elections sound important, right?
Well, in the past few years, participation in SGA elections has been minimal at best.
The general consensus is few people other than those in managerial positions in student organizations vote in the election or even have much knowledge about who the candidates are.
This needs to change.
Similar to the state and federal governments, SGA student representatives are responsible for finding solutions to issues on campus, and for speaking on behalf of the student body on the problems that matter to us.
Along with holding weekly open forums, they also hold Administrators’ Forums every semester at which students can share concerns and suggestions for the University. After these forums, SGA representatives are responsible for following up with administrators and reporting back to SGA on an action plan for how these issues will be addressed and/or resolved.
Every year, SGA is responsible for the allocation of a budget of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This past year, the amount available for allocation was $363,600.
This isn’t free money.
This is your money.
Students pay a $70 activities fee every year. The money accumulated by our payments is called the Student Activities Trust Fund (SATF), and SGA decides who and what this money goes toward. The purpose of this money is to benefit students. It exists to assist in creating a vibrant student community and provide resources to students. If students do not vote in the SGA election or stay up to date with their representatives, this money could essentially be allocated to anything they want without consequence.
SGA represents the students. It is in the name of their organization title.
However, they cannot properly represent you, your concerns, or wants if you do not make your voice heard to them.
The Gatepost encourages you to become informed of and participate in student government.
There are many ways to become informed and make changes that matter.
The first step students can take is to attend Candidates’ Night on April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the alumni room. There, students can become acquainted with who is running for each position, what their qualifications are, and why they believe they deserve to serve in their elected roles.
Students can also become involved by attending SGA meetings, and participating in open forums.
Another way to be informed is to read The Gatepost. We cover all SGA meetings as well as Administrators’ Forums and any other news that relates to the functioning of our University.
All of this active participation leads to the most significant action a student can take: voting.
Not just filling out the ballot online, but making informed choices.
Know who is representing you.
Talk to those people.
Understand their intentions and goals in serving these positions.
The role of these student leaders is to ensure the student body is receiving a fair, equitable, and enjoyable college experience.
But they cannot do this without you.