On Student Government

When we spoke to students about the upcoming SGA elections, it didn’t seem like most people had much to say. Not about the elections, not about the candidates and not much about the entire organization.

On the surface there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the student body and those who are elected to represent them. Why are so many students uninformed about the SGA and what it does? How can we get more students to be involved in the SGA process? These are questions that need to be addressed.

While some of the students professed no knowledge about the SGA at all, it would be unfair to blame them entirely. Most students commute to campus and have little to no time to spend at school more than they need to. For most times of the year, the average student would not notice anything having to do with student government on campus, unless they were paying attention.

But SGA is not faultless.

Last year they budgeted thousands of dollars for their public relations committee, but it’s hard to say how well that money is being spent when in some cases the organization can’t even seem to properly announce its events.

For example, SGA failed to send out an invitation in time to invite students to its Town Hall event last week, which spurred valuable discussion on important issues on campus. The invitation came almost exactly a day late for most people.

They had backup lines of communication and promotion, including social media invitation and flyers around Georgia State, so the event was by no means a total disaster. But the point remains: there’s a great deal of room left for improved communication, and it is SGA’s responsibility to bridge that gap between the students and their representatives.

Indeed, to really succeed in their mission to “serve the students,” to move that phrase beyond the realm of bumper sticker slogans, they have to engage students who would not otherwise be interested.

While it is important for students to be active if they want their interests represented to the university, it is ultimately up to the SGA to take the time to approach the student body.

Holding more Town Hall-style meeting is a good start, but should only be one piece of the puzzle, especially as the March 28 SGA debate looms near.

It may seem like a difficult task, but student politicians must understand that the people they represent are tired, overworked and underpaid. In short, they are college students and will often take any short cut they can to lessen their personal workload. Ignoring student government – like regular government, in many cases – is a natural choice.

It’s a tough road, SGA, and you’re making an effort. You’ve extended your hand to the students, but you haven’t gotten them to grasp it yet.

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