In this past week’s Student Government Association (SGA) elections, the SRYOU ticket swept its opposition, Your V.O.I.C.E., in every category. With 1,854 total votes being cast, the most votes cast in a Slippery Rock SGA election in recent history, it is troubling to understand how a sweep was possible, especially considering that both parties had balanced and organized campaigns and focused on similar issues.
While it’s not completely necessary to deem the SGA elections as a “popularity contest,” it does feel as if one party clearly overpowers the other when elections come around. While SRYOU had qualified candidates who deserved the positions they will receive, it seems that the voters in the student body have a habit of voting for the ticket that their friends are involved with and sticking to that ticket throughout the voting process, completely unaware of who the other candidates are and why they might also be qualified.
Also, the SRYou ticket is primarily made up of students who had served on this past year’s SGA, possibly meaning that students who had voted decided to stick to the names that they’re familiar with instead of branching out and learning about the other candidates.
Every student at Slippery Rock should take a side in the SGA election, especially those who are heavily involved in on-campus organizations.
Voting for your student leaders shows that you have an interest in what happens on campus and that you’re interested in making a difference. Under no circumstance should a student claim that he or she is passionate about being involved and making a difference on campus if he or she is unable to spare five minutes to vote for their peer leaders.
Slippery Rock’s SGA is one of the most structured and respected SGA’s of the state schools in the Pennsylvania State System. SRUSGA has held conferences in the past to show other universities how to successfully govern their student bodies. So, despite not picking new faces to represent our student body, at least both parties offered students the option to elect students who will surely keep the respected reputation the current SGA members and past governments have instilled.
It seems that if you get involved with SGA early, you are most likely to fall into the pattern set by previous SRSGA’s. As long as they get “in” with the current SGA executive hand early in their student careers, the more likely they are to get positions in the future.
Of course, this should not be considered a bad thing, because at least these students have witnessed what makes SRUSGA’s so successful, so as long as the system isn’t broken, maybe there is no reason to fix it.
However, if students want change, they need to take the initiative to change things, and that’s why it’s their responsiblity to spread their messages and ensure that the ones they want to see in charge are elected.