Editorial: Considerations for SGA candidates

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • March 29, 2012

At issue: Another year, another lackluster turnout of SGA candidates.
Our take: Reelection may seem inevitable, but representatives can’t rest on their laurels.

__________________________________________________


Twelve months ago, former President Jeffrey Rizzi waltzed into the top SGA position with a write-in campaign, setting into a motion a year rife with departures, housekeeping issues, and a mid-year change of leadership. Along the way, the SGA of 2011-12 has seen one major initiative almost to its conclusion: a proposed reform of dining services on campus.

We have yet to watch how far Business Services will go to implement SGA’s suggestions, but we urge them to listen up. Student advocacy can only do so much if administrators don’t live up to their end of the relationship by addressing our concerns.

This is SGA at its best. We elect representatives to rally around our interests and vocalize them. Last night, the Beacon’s editorial board met with a cross-section of hopeful student representatives, from eager freshmen to jaded-but-not-discouraged juniors. We spoke to executive board members, departmental senate hopefuls, and students seeking to represent their class year. Hearing their frustration and optimism heartened us to the potential this group of leaders will have as most of them are inevitably reelected. Whether they reach for it will be theirs to decide.

Next year’s crop of leaders will be largely self-determined and incumbent. While the faces around the tables in L151 of Piano Row may stay very much the same, we implore them to resist business as usual. Through this school year, the Beacon has observed three major areas in which we challenge our leaders to improve.

Commitment
Following a rash of resignations first semester, we call on next year’s SGA hopefuls to be cognizant of their schedules and other campus commitments. It does the student body a disservice when student representatives who asked voters to choose them fail to follow through on their full terms.

Transparency
As journalists, we’re gluttons for easily accessible information and sticklers for accountability. Posting minutes from meetings on time is the bare minimum SGA can do to keep students informed. Instead of scrambling to publish materials they’re required to post, we hope the marketers, filmmakers, and journalists on SGA will challenge themselves to proactively engage with their constituents through media, particularly online.

As the Beacon learned this year, the key to maintaining a website is designing one that’s enjoyable to use and gratifying to develop. In that spirit, we hope the web will no longer elude SGA as a platform to communicate with the student body. An increased Twitter presence has set that goal into motion, but that’s a fraction of the work that needs to be done.

Realistic Goals
Finally, SGA needs to focus on results. One of the most refreshing suggestions we heard last night—working to make the alleyway of Boylston Place more of a campus hub—came from Lauren Mandel, a freshman marketing major running for her class presidency. This tangible, pragmatic proposition doesn’t have the daunting gravity of tuition reform or overhauling Information Technology, but it’s something from which we all could benefit.

We trust that SGA will keep fighting the big battles on our behalf. Those, like dining services reform, are essential. But as speech night nears, we want SGA candidates to consider how they can balance those lofty goals with results-based initiatives.