The Student Government Association elections are today, and the candidates for office represent a wide array of directions for Auburn’s future growth and well-being.
We worry you do not fully realize the power you have right now, and we want you to know what your vote really means this year.
At stake in this election are a vast array of issues and problems facing our campus.
You may not realize it, but the SGA does actually have a fair amount of power on this campus.
The SGA Senate’s Organizations Board gets to decide what groups have a right to form and be a part of life on this campus.
The SGA also gets to allocate your $15 student activity fee.
While your $15 alone may not seem like a lot, when combined with the activities fees of Auburn’s other 24,136 students, the number is given greater meaning: $362,055.
$362, 055 is only the student contribution to the fund which usually tops out at well over $1 million each year.
The activity fee is only a small part of the money controlled by the SGA.
The activity fee is just the money that affects what bands and acts the UPC brings to Auburn, the publication of the Glomerata and Auburn Circle and the airwaves of WEGL and Eagle Eye, among other things.
A budget of $1 million is just one of the piles of money the SGA distributes on this campus.
The SGA president has the added responsibility and power of choosing a cabinet, handpicking the people who run our campus blood drives and major events.
These same students lobby on your behalf as student ambassadors in the Capitol hallways of Montgomery and the world at large.
The SGA are our student leaders, and they have the powers to affect us all.
Proposed constitutional changes are a rallying cry for the SGA this year, changes mainly to do with the Jurisprudence Court.
There will be new executives, a student chief justice and attorney general, as the Jurisprudence Court will become the venue for organizations and activities projects with grievances against the SGA.
There is a great deal at stake in these elections, but we don’t realize it.
Honestly, it’s because the SGA campaigns are treated in a sophomoric fashion.
The campaigns act as giant pep rallies, throwing out slogans, candy and coupons like some sort of demented, vote-grabbing Mardi Gras float.
Platforms and issues are seldom discussed outside of the usually unwatchable debates; concourse dancing and chants are given prevalence instead.
Not since the days of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall have votes been so blatantly bought, as students trade their votes for discounts to Moe’s and TCBY.
Many of us know several students who vote simply based on the quality of coupons given out.
Why do we encourage this behavior?
Why do we let the candidates do this?
In some ways, we are getting what we deserve.
By treating these elections as if they were little more than pep rallies and coupon machines, we, as a student body, continue to travel down a dark and frightening path.
What we would like to see is an SGA executive group that actually follows through on the promises made in its collective platforms.
Sadly, the best of intentions exhibited in those well-meant platforms end up being left by the wayside when the realities of their jobs set in.
Rare is the executive who follows through on such promises.
Jacob Watkins’ victory in securing the Toomer’s Ten was a remarkable feat, and his name will go down in the annals of Auburn’s history as one of the more effective SGA presidents.
We are happy to see pedestrian safety present in the platforms of several candidates.
Environmental sustainability, financial responsibility and student affairs all get head-nods from the candidates as well.
Bully for mentioning the issues, candidates, but not one of you offers any concrete plans as to how you will accomplish these goals.
However, this may not truly be the candidates’ fault. Their predecessors also lacked concrete plans for implementing their agendas as well.
We need to expect more from our student representatives.
We must hold them accountable for the promises they make and question them on the issues facing students on this campus.
As a campus medium, we assure you we will do everything with in our power to make sure the SGA and their actions will be covered.
We will not waver or fail in our efforts to make sure that you, the electorate, will continue to be informed about the new executives and the people who will come after them.
But, for now, Auburn, take pause before you vote and look at the candidates’ platforms.
Make your vote an informed, and don’t simply click the button in waste.
Your vote matters. Vote well.