PERSPECTIVE: Multiple candidates, voter turnout benefit SGA

By Katherine Burgess
Managing Editor

Last month my Facebook newsfeed lit up with status after status about the election, telling me who I should vote for and why I should vote for them.

The choices were not Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, however, but Caleb Valentine, sophomore biblical languages major, and Luke Trammell, junior political science major. Both ran for president of Union’s Student Government Association.

Not only was the presidential election contested, but every SGA executive officer position had two candidates this year, one of several steps forward in the rapidly improving SGA.

Having more than one person run for each position, something which has not happened in recent years, has great benefits.

Instead of officers merely moving into roles other students expect them to have, the student body could decide for themselves on a candidate.

Student voters had the ability to exercise their voices with regard to every position, instead of voting for uncontested candidates who thus did not need those votes.

The record number of voters who joined in on choosing their executive officers also shows that more students have become interested in being involved with leadership.

Last week a friend of mine, who is a senior, told me that during her freshman year many students regarded SGA as a club. Today, however, the many votes show that students see SGA not as a club but as a representation of the student body.

SGA staff members often come from different circles on campus, making them a varied group that represents a varied student body.

At Student Senate I have seen increased participation as organizations fill their two senate seats, voting on legislation.

Representatives from many campus organization come together every other Wednesday, interacting with friends and students with whom they may not have much contact on a regular basis.

I, as a senator, have seen my interest grow as I vote on whether Union should add sweet tea to the Lexington Inn menu, fix maintenance problems and allocate money to organizations — all circumstances likely to affect either me or my friends.

According to Union’s website, SGA is meant “to foster unity between the students and the school, to promote student concerns and to advance the general welfare of the school.”

This year’s elections meant students had options regarding which candidates they wanted to lead that vision, a vision SGA already is doing an excellent job of pursuing.

Katherine Burgess is a sophomore journalism major.

About Katherine Burgess 70 Articles
Katherine Burgess, a class of 2015 journalism alumna, is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Cardinal & Cream. Her journalism has taken her from a United Nations Tribunal to the largest maximum security prison in the United States to Capitol Hill. She is now the Education Reporter for the Jackson Sun. Follow her on Twitter @kathsburgess