To be quite honest if we were to go back two years ago to my first year at UT when I had the opportunity to vote during Student Government Elections for the first time - I was completely apathetic.
I wasn’t aware of its importance, the students who were running, and I wasn’t familiar with the issues. Last year as I was more involved on campus, I started to learn more about the process, the structure and its impact.
This year, I’ve been more involved than I ever had. I have been helping with Mandy’s campaign for University Wide Representative and I’ve loved every minute of it. It has also helped me see how much passion you can bulid by being involved in the process beyond simply voting. By becoming involved in the campaign process I’ve learned even more about how important it is to express our voice by voting for the student leaders who we want to represent us in the Student Government Assembly. It is so easy to be apathetic and I can completely understand those who are because I was, too. But it gives you a much greater sense of ownership when you become informed, vote, and even better when you take your involvement a step further and get involved in a campaign.
When Mandy asked me if I would support her in her efforts to run I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to really help, having no experience with the elections (not even by casting my vote). But we put our heads together and along with a group of supportive friends we put together what I think has been a really effective campaign. And definitely one that I will always remember regardless of what the outcomes will be. When I least expected it I was ordering T-shirts, flyers, a banner, was on the West Mall encouraging people to vote, handing out flyers, holding up banners, wearing the campaign T-shirt for days, and engaging in discussions about elections in which I can actually be an active participant in and in which I can educate others on the process, particularly those who like me two years ago, are apathetic.
This year is particularly special now only because of my involvement in a campaign, but in general, because an unprecedented number of students are running for positions. As an example, five students are running for Student Body President. This has raised discussion in many groups and in my classes, about what may have caused this historic election. Is it the absence of a ticket system? Could the 2008 Presidential election have an impact? Is it the issues that are up for discussion? Whatever the actual reason may be, it is really really exciting to see people involved, voting, and running for positions.
If you want to read more about some of the discussions that are occurring about this unprecedented number of students running for student government, take a look at this article from The Daily Texan on Dr. Sharon Jarvis’ talk in LEAP last week.
Additionally, these elections are also special because a good number of my good friends are running for positions in Student Government and other university positions that are up for election: Liam for Student Body President; Amanda, Justin and Minator for University Wide Representatives; John for Graduate Student Assembly; and Mitchell for the Texas Union Student Events Center President. I think that the fact that they are running for positions has also encouraged me to get even more involved in the process.
If you are a UT student and haven’t voted already, make sure you make your vote count, vote by 5 p.m. today at www.utsg.org. If you are not a UT student, I encourage you to get involved with your student government elections- by either helping out during a campaign and/or simply casting your vote. You can do this whether you are in college or high school. By voting, you are able to have a say in who you want to represent your voice. Don’t let others choose your leaders when you can have a say, too!
The results will be in tonight and of course I am hoping for the best. But regardless of the results the experience has been completely worth every moment of it and it is definitely one Student Government Election to remember!
Voting for Student Government at UT started on Tuesday, March 3 and continues through Wednesday, March 4 at 5 p.m. Students at UT can vote from any computer at www.utsg.org.
To learn more about the UT Student Government visit: www.utsg.org