The first Student Government debate was held at the Student Activity Center on Monday. Four diverse and well-qualified candidates presented their platform points, addressing important issues such as sexual assault and mental health. All of the candidates also promised to improve inclusivity of student government to everyone.
It’s time students seize their power as voters. They should vote in the coming SG elections because it is their responsibility and right to select their leaders. Every voice deserves to be heard for a healthy and representative government.
All students have a right to have their voices heard. When we are given the opportunity to select our leaders, it is our responsibility to act on it. Students rightly feel overwhelmed by the excessive amount of information supplied by the candidates, but it’s important to educate yourself in order to pick the right leaders. It’s important for us to examine each executive alliance’s proposals critically because they impact the policies for the university.
Without the student’s participation, student government would be stale and unrepresentative. Students should vote to avoid continuing the misrepresentation created by big sororities and fraternities. According to 2012 data, Greek students make up only 14.7 percent of undergraduate students, but make up 45 percent of student government.
In the face of this Greek political machine, the majority of students feel their votes don’t matter. One vote may not, but when everyone else thinks the same thing, it adds up pretty quickly. However, students can make a difference, and did so when they voted Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu into office. Last year’s election had an incredibly high voting turnout, with 1,300 more votes than the year before.
This was a turning point for student government. The organization should be engaging and fun for voters and officers alike. Students should vote because it is important to be involved to make a better university.
Junior civil engineering junior Natalie Weston expresses the importance of student government.
“Student Government is an essential part of this campus,” Weston said. “Rotnofsky-Mandalapu made huge strides in changing that perception and I hope it continues onward into this year’s elections.”
Students now have the chance to shape the social agenda by voting. Big issues such as sexual assault, mental health and campus affordability are central to our everyday lives. The candidates have concrete solutions for these issues. Students should express their opinions by supporting or opposing a candidate and shaping the social agenda to their needs. Voicing personal opinions students are passionate about increases communication between the people who are in office and the people who vote. Don’t limit your possibilities. Go vote.
Kim is a journalism freshman from Austin. Follow Kim on Twitter @sunny_newsiee.