Voting is important but the Student Association needs your participation all year
Alexis de Tocqueville, French political thinker and historian, famously stated, “in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.”
The elections for the Student Association’s (SA) board of directors often end up being a thoroughly underwhelming experience for most students. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be.
The solution at George Brown starts with students, namely that we have to get educated, get out and actually vote. Students need to become more involved and we will receive the leadership we want. This only works with help from the candidates and board members, who need to remind students of the importance of voting. The caveat however is that students must also want to hear it.
And where does this apathy towards student leadership stem from?
A vicious cycle of apathy and perceived under-performance from elected officials seems to begin once the election period is over. To remain engaged, students want to see the same names and faces they voted for during the rest of year and know they are continuing to push for students’ input and for the changes they promised.
A major problem they face is many representatives don’t hear from students. Many candidates have stated how important it is to do research about and talk to students on campuses other than their home campus. But if they don’t hear where the problem areas lie, how can they work to fix things?
Board members do more than meets the eye, they advocate on your behalf. But what are they to do when students talk only amongst their friends and not to them?
Many students have ideas about how the SA should operate but refrain from seeking solutions under the pretense that they believe nothing can or will be done. Most of the board’s work happens behind the scenes causing some students to think they can’t actually be doing much of anything.
It is not simply enough to complain about an issue, maybe make one meager suggestion, then resign oneself to private complaints among friends.
So yes, get educated, get out and vote this election. But after that’s over, it’s important we continue to demand more from our student government and ourselves. When information is put out about what happens at the school, pay attention! When they try to educate us, eat it up.
And finally, we must continue to inform them how to better serve us because the more we do, the more the SA will change for the better.