Hey SGA, what do you do?

by Beacon Staff • April 1, 2009

Can I be honest for a moment? Okay.

I really have no idea what you people do.

It's not that I don't care-but listen: I'm really busy. And for the most part, I don't know how to keep tabs on you people. Or even if I should. I think you always encourage me to come your meetings, but when are those? Tuesday afternoons? Sunday nights? Really.

In fact, it seems the easiest way to know what you're doing is to be your friend. From what I can tell, you're all pretty social and have a lot of them. Friends, I mean. Thing is, I get the sense that most of your friends are each other.

That wasn't a knock. Student organizations are a keystone of Emerson social life. Cliquishness is inevitable. But in a lot of ways, you fall prey to all the same kooky, campy brouhaha of any student organization. Your Speech Night, for example, was a little like hanging out with a comedy troupe. As an outsider, it was hard to tell sometimes if what I just heard was a punchline.

I know civic participation-or lack thereof-isn't the responsibility of any single group. When we lament our country's shoestring voter turnout, we blame everyone: disengaged citizens, disconnected politicians and inarticulate media. Actually, you might share a few similarities with our federal government. Egos seem to impede progress, very few of your constituents know your names and your suits fit a little funny in the shoulders.

That was a knock. Sorry.

If we're being fair, Emerson students are a lot like the American people. Many of us will never care about government unless we actually need it.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to speak-whenever you can-a little more directly and plainly about what you do. It doesn't mean you shouldn't find innovative ways to share your ideas. And it doesn't mean you shouldn't stay cool and focused in the face of dramatic, hard-to-wrangle, ego-driven bureaucracy. I can think of one Oval Office holder who's a particularly good example.

iBrent Baughman is a junior writing and information broadcasting major and a columnist for/i The Beacon.,Brent Baughman, iBeacon/i columnist