Last year, Georgia State’s Student Government Association (SGA) scraped together 1,282 votes during 2015’s election season. SGA’s election commission that year sought 6,000 voters of the school’s 32,165 student population, according to Forbes.
With over 1,000 votes, the amount of students who appeared at the announcement was less than 10. Is it whether students care enough to place their vote or not enough to see who won?
This year the Panther student body has nearly doubled in size since the consolidation with Georgia Perimeter College finalized on Jan. 6. That’s why it’s imperative that SGA rakes in a metric ton of votes for this season.
Now, will this consolidated student body care enough about a central SGA? Perimeter college students are used to five different presidents for each campus.
There are currently four candidates running for the presidential seat. The student elected at the beginning of April will take the reins of power over six campuses, the largest university in the state.
We are going to vote on one president for all six. How will voter turnout be? How many students know about these candidates? How about the candidates that already hold office within SGA? And why should they care? Because SGA is their next best option to getting their voice heard.
Don’t like campus food? Let SGA know. Want to express an opinion on the Campus-Carry Bill? SGA’s got your back. Sustainability? SGA’s on it. Believe it or not, the student government isn’t there for political science majors to sauce up their resume with a fancy position.
Reading over the candidates’ ambitions for their future terms, it’s obvious they have goals in mind. And they will carry out those goals the way they choose fit, unless you tell them otherwise OR bring different goals and issues to their attention. But unless the students make the effort to read up on who’s representing them, and what they have in mind, the candidates run short of reading the student body’s minds – and won’t be able to address their concerns.
Beneath the president sits a cabinet of student politicians presiding over each of Georgia State’s many schools.
SGA oversees Organizations United, the university’s club-forming arm. And together, they have the capacity to effect legislation that can impact the entire university.
Few students realize the role SGA has on any college campus. Us usually, SGA voting is dismissed. However, students should care about those they place in office to represent them.
In 2015, SGA introduced gender-inclusive housing options to Panther students, and last year it enacted school-wide laws to require syllabi to provide the contact info for services for students in need.
It’s important to be a part of the process when electing these officials. They are in a position of power that can get things done for you… or not.
SGA’s legislature recently authored letters to discourage the passage of the state House’s “campus carry” bill, legislation which would allow students to tote guns on college campuses — save for in student housing and at athletic events.
That cry fell on deaf ears, but the real-life political reach of SGA extends far beyond that of the Panther laymen.