As I am sure a few of you have noticed, campaigning for student government positions is in full swing, but beyond the creative decorations and snarky comments they provide, why should we, as students care? There are so many answers to that question.
First, we go to school at RPI and anything we can do to improve our institute benefits us. The elections are about deciding how we, as students, want to be represented. Beyond this, engagement in the election process is one of the strongest signals we can send to the administration that we do, in fact, care about the future of the Institute and our time here. Many people have legitimate concerns about issues on campus. I believe that the root of many of these issues is difficulty in communication between students and the administration. We care about certain issues, but without sustained engagement, our voices are often lost.
The student government campaigns offer a unique opportunity for us to get involved and make our voices heard. Whether you want to get elected or simply talk to the candidates, now is the prime time. Just one week ago, I created a Facebook group aimed at facilitating just this, and in that time, we have gotten participation from all of the GM and PU candidates as well as many candidates for other positions. This is a truly democratic process and it requires your help. If you have questions or concerns, please join the discussion, get engaged. Go to http://rpi-gm-discuss.tk/ to find the group and get involved.
Thus far, all three GM candidates and both PU candidates have outlined their positions on the role of student government on campus, and many other people have voiced their opinions and concerns. Candidates Andrew Neidhardt ’11 and Ben Hunt ’10 contended that student government has not gone far enough in actively engaging with the student body and acting on their will, while Michael Zwack ’11 argued that they should focus more on action and be open to listen when students come to them with concerns.
We have also had a lively discussion on the role of parties in the election process, during which the Vector Party was challenged on its lack of a cohesive message, and Zwack, who is running for re-election under the Vector Party banner, provided us with insight about why he joined and why he works with them.
As the elections draw closer, I urge you to take the time to go on Facebook (come on, you’re there anyway), and learn first hand about the candidates who are vying for your vote: http://rpi-gm-discuss.tk/.