This isn’t the first time students at the University of South Dakota have voted in the Student Government Association elections —and it most certainly will not be the last.
But year after year, SGA elections still seem to garner meager election numbers, albeit last year was the most the university has seen to date with 2,031 students participating out of the 7,000 students enrolled as undergraduates.
It was only a few months ago The Volante published an editorial on the importance of voting in national, state and local elections. The November editorial said something along the lines that voting is not just a matter of civic duty, it is a matter of taking a stance on issues that mean something to you.
These words never rang more true less than a week before the 2013 SGA elections. While voting in a national election may not give too many people the satisfaction they are making a choice that will directly affect them on campus, choosing an SGA senator, vice president or president does.
The decisions SGA can make include such acts like allocating money to or from a student organization, proposing changes to campus policy or hosting events at USD. These acts are ones directly felt by the student body, whether they want to or not. But this does not mean students do not have a voice.
On the contrary, it is up to the students who elect members of SGA to determine what direction they want the university to go. On a campus like USD, it is true that every vote matters, and with all SGA has under its domain, it is important to show the representatives how students want them to wield the power in their best interest.
So, vote — but be an informed voter. Do not just pick a candidate because of the sheer number of organizations they are in, or their sense of style. Do not just vote for them because they are your friend.
Get to know the issues SGA is currently dealing with and what the candidates want to change or continue. Attend an SGA meeting, pay attention to campus media’s coverage of their activities and talk with current senators to get a feel for what SGA does. Attend the SGA debate tonight at 7 p.m. in the Al Neuharth Media Center, and ask candidates the kinds of questions that matter to students all over campus.
The SGA elections are one of the few times every student has the same opportunity to make their voice heard, to vote for the people they want to represent them for the next year.
Do not let this opportunity slip by. Vote.