It’s that time of year again. Time to elect the next president, vice president and senators for SGA. But, the sad reality is most students either don’t know or don’t care about the election, much to their detriment.
All students should participate in the political process by attending the debate, and at the very least, by voting for their ideal representatives. When students engage with SGA, it can be a great way for the student body to come together and create effective change.
To set the stage, this year’s presidential campaign sees Marcus Ireland and Caleb Munce squaring off against Josh Sorbe and Madison Green. Ireland, Munce and Green are all juniors and Sorbe is a sophomore.
This election cycle shouldn’t just be a passing memory for students. The SGA representatives serve in a very important manner, not just in a formal capacity, but in a practical way that affects all students. Those effects are not just small policy changes; students’ pocketbooks can be affected.
Campus remembers the general activity free (GAF) increase issue last year. Columns were submitted to The Volante, both in support and in opposition to the increase. SGA has a direct influence in the GAF student fees and allocations.
This year there is a recommendation to increase GAF allocations, and once again, SGA will have a hand in deciding which organizations receive a slice of the pie in funds.
Remember, also, the sanctuary campus resolution and the tension surrounding that legislation. This year alone, SGA has voted on two resolutions regarding legislation in Pierre on behalf of the student population.
The point is simple: SGA does affect students, both directly and indirectly. Passivity during election time can lead to consequences, whether in tuition increases or campus operations.
With that being said, students need to pay attention to the SGA election this year. An easy way to get involved would be to attend the presidential debate held in the Al Neuharth Media Center on Feb. 22 at 6p.m.
Challenge the candidates with questions. Dissect their positions and policy proposals. Find out where they stand on the GAF or other potential legislation. Invite candidates to student organization meetings.
There are plenty of ways to get involved without having to become a political person. Students don’t have to campaign or actively support a candidate to be involved. Raising issues, inviting candidates and senators to events are ways to get involved without necessarily picking a side.
At the very least, vote when the time comes. It’s so simple. Go the myUSDportal online, click on the link, cast the vote and the process is done. One can even vote while waiting for UBrew to finish their latte.
Chances are, someone will be tabling in the MUC, giving students another opportunity to vote, so it will be just as easy to take 45 seconds to vote while walking to the library after classes.
SGA is important. When debated topics come up in SGA meetings that affect students in a substantial manner, the elected representatives are going to be making impactful decisions.
It would be a shame if students let others decide without their input, let alone their vote. Luckily, they don’t have to. Get involved. Vote.