More students need to vote in SGA elections

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

With Student Government Association elections starting this week, it is important that students head out and vote for the SGA president they want for their university. 

Last year, only a little over 2,000 students voted in the SGA elections while 43,488 students were enrolled in the Spring 2022 semester. This means only around 5 percent of the student population participated in the elections for president. 

This is an alarming number as SGA decides on many things that directly impact students. SGA can suggest bills relating to parking expenses, syllabus changes, student jobs and even student fees. 

If students are not voting, these decisions will not accurately represent student wishes and demands which can lead to a conflict of interest. 

The purpose of SGA is to represent students but this mission can be easily muddled. Many students are unaware of the candidates on the ballot which can create confusion and mistrust. In order to become an administration that abides by its students, there needs to be transparency and a push for student engagement on campus.

A way for students to become informed on elections and their candidates is to attend the SGA Presidential Debate. This year’s debate was held last Thursday in the Student Center Theatre and also live-streamed. 

The total attendance for this year’s debate was 121 students according to assistant director Allyson Yolland from the Center for Student Involvement. Again, this number is a stark contrast compared to the student population. 

A lot of this information is new to many students which only emphasizes the divide students have with SGA. The main contributor to this divide is that it’s the students who have to take the extra steps to become informed about the elections rather than SGA doing a better job of implementing it into the student life and culture.

Student government does not sound fun or enjoyable to many students which is an acceptable feeling to have. But when student fees and budget reallocations are on the line, there should be a concern as to how these issues are dealt with. 

To increase student engagement in regard to voting, there are usually giveaways for students who cast their votes. Last year, it was a Nintendo Switch and this year there’s a chance to win a TV or an air fryer to name a few. 

So even if student government issues are not your cup of tea, casting your vote will get your voice heard but might also get you an air fryer. 

It’s a win-win situation. 

Cindy Rivas Alfaro is a journalism sophomore who can be reached at [email protected]

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