No matter if someone has been out of college for five years or 35 years, they could probably tell you the best and worst part of their college experience. And no matter if you’ve only been in college for a few months or a few years, I’m sure you have your own best and worst parts of college so far.
There are plenty of ways to advocate and make change during your time in college through participation in student clubs, attending guest lectures and getting involved with social initiatives.
Another way is by participating in the Student Government Association. Our SGA is the direct connection between students and the university. They work to represent their fellow students and advocate for what students need to help enrich our college experience. Advocating for oneself is the most powerful tool university students have to enrich their college experience. SGA is one of the main groups that ensures and sees self-advocacy through.
One of the easier ways to participate in student democracy is through voting. Every spring, the Shippensburg University Student Government Association holds officer elections to determine the leadership team for the following school year.
Not only is the president of SGA determined, but the vice presidents of the four main committees: internal affairs, external affairs, student groups and budget and finance. These five officers work together to represent and advocate on behalf of SU students. As in our nation’s democracy, there are varying feelings about our SGA. I have heard opinions that range from enthusiastic to faithless.
Each person is entitled to their opinion, but I think opinion bleeds into nihilism when I hear someone say, “Our vote doesn’t matter anyway, why bother?”
We’ve all heard that infamous line, but never once have I seen it be successful in creating tangible solutions or encourage growth and development in democracy.
No governing body is perfect, but when voters do not engage with their representatives or try to participate in democracy, they give up their chance to be heard.
The same is true for student democracy.
Personally, the 2016 and 2020 elections are a prime example of how voter turnout holds an incredible amount of power. No matter how you feel about the student government as SU, take the time to learn about the soon-to-be announced candidates.
On election day, make the effort to contribute to your campus community. No one person or group of people can solve every problem, but any one person or group has the potential to make a difference and change. Your campus community needs you and your voice.