Staff Editorial: Student demands for change don’t have to stop at the ballot

The Student Government Association election returns came back just before spring break, and it’s encouraging to see a record number of students hitting the polls this year.

More voters not only means that students are taking a greater interest and putting greater effort into having an impact on the University, but it means the SGA has a stronger student backing as it lobbies UH administrators for real change.

We applaud the students who took the time to cast their ballots despite the distractions of midterms and an imminent holiday. Even more, we applaud the candidates for running tough campaigns and making students aware of their goals and of the election itself.

Candidates participated in debates, handed out flyers, wrote to The Daily Cougar and talked with their constituents about important issues and how to solve them. Although we still don’t agree with Redvolution’s decision to push itself as a party, or UHNow’s for that matter, we respect its effort to get out the vote by campaigning en masse in front of the library and going door-to-door in the residence halls.

The new senators officially take charge next week, and we hope the enthusiasm and dedication, by senators and voters alike, continues through the next administration. All of the candidates in this year’s races brought important ideas to the table, and those who didn’t win their seats must continue contributing to the UH dialogue regarding tuition, fees, PeopleSoft 8.9, financial aid, student wages, food services, parking, veterans’ services, social issues and campus safety.

Even more than specific topics, the most important goal of the SGA Senate should be to make students’ voices heard. Our University has a lot to offer, and it has a lot of challenges ahead that can’t all be fixed by a single senate. But by continuing this election’s vocal precedent, the Senate can help make student collaboration an integral part of University decisions and not just a token gesture.

The Senate took one step in encouraging independent participation on the ballots by removing party labels, and candidates took another by pushing harder than ever for voter turnout. But the election is only the first step – students must continue to communicate with their senators, UH administrators and each other if we want to see change on our campus, and senators must continue to communicate with students and campaign for the issues that affect them.

It’s good to see student body support of the SGA growing, and it’s good to see senators and executive officers reaching back. Only by the two groups continuing to work together can students’ concerns have an impact on this campus.

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