After only 10 percent of students voted in the 2012 Student Government Association executive board election, the executive and elections boards are making changes to draw more student interest.
“I think it is ridiculous that 6,000 [students] vote for Homecoming, and [about] 2,000 do for a student body president who makes decisions for them,” SGA President Chris Wilkey said.
This year, executive board slates will add an another week of campaigning and an additional debate. Slates will now campaign for three weeks and participate in three debates. The elections board will also hold an open forum where the election process for SGA will be explained at 7 p.m. on Jan. 29 in Teachers College room 102.
Kevin Thurman, SGA elections board chairman, said students should pay more attention to SGA or consider running for office because the effect is more powerful than some students think.
“I think it is underestimated by many students at times,” he said. “This is a direct line of communication with the administration to help solve any issues on campus.”
SGA has contributed to changes on campus such as the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, the Blue Loop shuttle and extending the semester by a day to eliminate Fruesday.
“[Being a part of SGA] is more than just sitting on a bus, complaining or at dinner complaining with your friends about how the sidewalks weren’t plowed,” Thurman said. “There’s a reason the Student Government Association is here – to help students solve any issues on campus and make this community better for the current students and those to come.”
Slates are made up of candidates for president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. Election packets for applying executive slates will be available at 8 a.m. Tuesday in L.A. Pittenger Student Center room 112.
The SGA president receives a stipend worth full in-state tuition and his or her own office in the Student Center. Other members of the executive board receive varying amounts of compensation.
Students who apply do not have to have any prior SGA experience.
“It’s a student body president position, not just a Student Government Association [position,]” Wilkey said. “My big push is for people to know, because even if we don’t have a lot of slates run, at least people know that the position is paid by their student activity fees, and that they are making decisions on behalf of the students.”
Wilkey had only a little SGA experience before applying. He said he thinks it helped his leadership perspective, because he questions a lot of SGA procedures.
Slates competing will be announced at the SGA Nomination Convention on Feb. 4.
“I would love to see five or six slates run,” Wilkey said. “You would have your choice, and you wouldn’t just have one or the other. You may have one that fits you perfectly or if you don’t, run your own slate.”
Available 8 p.m. Tuesday
Student Center room 112
SGA Elections Open Forum
7 p.m. Jan. 29
Teachers College room 102
8 p.m. Feb. 4
Location to be determined