Civic engagement is critical, and as Bearcats, we’re severely lacking it. Not civic engagement on a local, state or even national level, but as a campus.
The Northwest Student Senate elections for next year ended April 5, and the results from a civic engagement perspective were disappointing at best.
A total of 633 students voted. Of this 9.2% were graduate students. Even then, this number is far off from the potential total of 5,654 undergraduate students who could vote.
All undergraduate students should take a few minutes when Student Senate elections come around to cast their vote.
This isn’t a high school Student Senate — it’s a college Student Senate, and as such, they have the capability to produce real, tangible change.
Alongside the low voter turnout, no on-campus representative positions were filled during this election out of four.
The lack of positions filled and low voter turnout has multiple implications for the students at Northwest.
With no on-campus representative positions filled, the majority of student organizations are left without representation. Their voices won’t be heard, and Student Senate isn’t at fault, we as students are.
Student Senate can only do so much if students aren’t willing to fill the available positions. They can’t give representation to voices unwilling to step up and accept that representation.
The newly elected members will likely do a satisfactory job of upholding the values desired by those who voted for them, but they can’t fully ensure they’re upholding everything desired by the student population if everyone doesn’t vote. Our Student Senate can’t meet our wants if we don’t vote to show what they are.
Every week, Student Senate decides if new clubs should be made official, if they should receive funding or if they need to go back to the drawing board. That alone is incredibly vital to our community and campus, but that’s not the extent of what Student Senate can do for our community.
It’s no secret that Student Senate has a large budget with money it doesn’t know how to spend. It needs new ideas, and filling the vacant spaces allows fresh ideas to hit the Senate floor.
It’s responsibility also extends to creating, modifying and approving any fees students pay.
If we want Student Senate to increase what it does for us as a community with that budget, we need to get these new, fresh ideas to them by making sure we vote. Otherwise, Student Senate will be stuck with nothing to use their budget on. That’s simply a waste of resources at our disposal, and it’s entirely our fault.
These are just a couple of reasons as to why we, as Bearcats in the Northwest community, should be actively voting whenever given the opportunity and running for open positions, especially when they’re left unfilled.