Writing in is the right thing to do

by Beacon Staff • March 24, 2011

At issue: Emerson students aren’t stepping up into the student government.

Our take: The rewards from participating in SGA are worh the effort.

 

In 12 days, Emerson will elect next year’s representatives to office in student government. With more than 50 percent of voting positions left unsought, we can only hope more people will turn out to vote than ran for office. But the task appears daunting, at least for a school of more than three thousand that cannot muster even sixteen candidates to serve their student body.

We understand the hesitancy to run for office. There are aspects of the SGA that deter members of our student body from choosing this form of public service. This year, we saw elected representatives send snotty text messages to each other, quit their positions, and sign away thousands of dollars to some organizations while arbitrarily denying hundreds of dollars to others.

But if student representatives can still improve our school amidst the drama we’ve seen in past years and semesters, we wonder what a new cohort, free of old political alliances and bad habits, could accomplish.

Historically, despite it all, student representatives at Emerson have worked to enact changes we support: creating gender neutral bathrooms and housing, streamlining the financial aid office, and demanding cage-free eggs, for example.

These successes are the result of the hard work of the students on SGA who put their constituents first. Not those who show up for a Tuesday meeting for the purpose of filling their resumes.

Being in public office will probably mean feeling vilified and under-appreciated, more than a few times by this paper and the larger Emerson community. But it will also mean finding funding for a new organization, getting one extra section of that in-demand social media class, and representing the students’ voice as administrators decide which path the college will take. And—let’s be honest—it will mean having a bit of power. To those of you who see room for improvement on our campus, consider this: inaction has a terribly low ROI.

This is a sentiment supported by Spiderman’s uncle Ben’s musing, “With great power comes great responsibility.” What Spiderman’s uncle left out is that with that great responsibility comes the opportunity for a kind of fulfillment unique to making a difference in, if not the world, at least the corner of Boylston and Tremont. And that is not an opportunity to pass up.

If you have a friend whom you believe would be good for office—who knows the curriculum, who can collaborate with other students, and has shown leadership before—ask him or her to run a write-in campaign. We have 12 days to pinpoint and persuade the next students who will represent 3,400 Emersonians. Let’s make sure they’re the brightest among us.