Addison Smith | Opinions Editor
As The Duquesne Duke comic that ran last week showed, it’s officially Student Government Association election season. Don’t worry, signature packets were due on Jan. 20, so no one will be hounding you for your John Hancock and last six digits of your Duquesne ID anymore. However, come Feb. 3, election season will be in full swing again.
While some students may look at SGA elections as pointless or a waste time, they are not. SGA at Duquesne plays vital roles in running the Loop Bus during the weekends, giving student organizations student funding, running and granting access to the Student Organization Resource Center and playing huge roles in Homecoming and Night of Lights.
So yes, maybe you should be paying attention to the elections.
While some years have been better than others with student leaders, you have to admit that student government doesn’t have the easiest job. That said, the main focus of SGA is to better serve the students and help them, so participating in the elections and getting to know what the candidates can do for you is vital.
“If, in the rare occasion no one was elected, all of those things would be taken away,” current SGA president Pete Samson said. “The loop bus would be taken away, the SORC room would have no new access … and there would be no new student organizations on campus. That said, if student government didn’t do anything new … they still did something. We’re left in charge in all of those things, so even at our simplest form, we continue to provide that.”
Pay attention to flyers and social media accounts that will be popping up from potential student government members in the coming weeks. Sure, you can vote for your friends, but if someone is running with an issue that you feel passionate about, vote for that person. Sure, your friend’s graduate school application or resume may not look as padded, but by voting for someone who is passionate about something, there will be a higher likelihood of things getting done.
However, involvement in student government doesn’t just stop when you vote for a candidate. If something is truly bothering you, go to an SGA meeting and bring it up. If you need funding, don’t be afraid to apply for it. If you have an issue with administration, talk to SGA and they will facilitate a compromise, or at least try to.
According to Samson, 966 people voted for president and 957 people voted vice president positions in the 2014 election cycle. Nine percent of the student body voting in student elections. That’s not where it needs to be for students to become involved.
The next time you complain about something at Duquesne on a social media platform, realize that whining won’t get anything done. If something truly bothers you, go to student government to attempt to nullify or to better address the problem. The more you work with the SGA, the more that will be done at Duquesne.
“With these new candidates, they want to do more than just provide those things, they have new ideas,” Samson explained. “When I ran we tried to improve student accommodations with the library, improve student relations with the bookstore, provide more student organizations with funding for conferences and increase school spirit. For an individual student to see changes come about, the best way to see this happen is to vote for the candidate who matches the changes they want to see.”
So, come Feb. 3, start paying more attention to the SGA candidates as they meet with Fr. Hogan. By Feb. 17 election day, have a good idea of whom you’re casting support behind and vote for that person. Get to know the candidates as much as you can at Meet the Candidates on Feb. 10. The more active you are, the better the 2015-16 academic year will be for you with a strong student government.