SGA presence after campaign season inadequate

Illustration by Dan Nacu.

Noura Bayoumi
Guest Columnist

When I think of our Student Government Association, I think of the relationship between the U.S. government and its citizens. They address concerns and issues that people may have; they’re responsible for allocating money and dispersing it to other places; and their direct communication skills are lacking.

Last week, you may have noticed SGA candidates tabling inside the Commons, promoting their election campaign and encouraging students to vote. They served coffee and pastries to those who took the time to vote on their provided iPad. I took the time to vote because their personability attracted me to their table. Their hospitality and friendliness was overwhelmingly positive, and I felt welcomed. I thought to myself, ‘Where have they been all year?’

While the SGA has certainly displayed a commitment to making VCU a better place, there’s still plenty of room for both implementation and improvement. Students need to be more aware of the SGA and interactions between the SGA and the larger student body should be more prominent on both campuses. After all, this is an organization that is supposed to represent the entire student body. People should more than just know about it; we should care about it.

If students become more aware of the practices of the SGA, it will perhaps motivate them to become more involved in the organization. The number of attendees at events and seminars will increase and the SGA can become more successful in governing the student body.

When it comes time for elections in the SGA, their campaign skills are successful. Maybe they just have an effective elections committee, or maybe they believe campaigning is the most important part of the SGA. The type of campaigning that is seen during their elections should be seen throughout the entire year. Students don’t just vote for a candidate because they have nothing better to do; they vote for that candidate because they want to see them make a difference in our school.

Engaging with the student body is essential for any SGA to be successful. If there’s a lack of communication between the SGA and the students, then what is the point of having an SGA in the first place?

Almost every college or university has an SGA, so it’s obviously an important organization to have. Along with representing the entire student body, it’s also designed to foster leadership skills, encourage school spirit and teach democratic principles to students. Members are meant to be the role models of our school by participating in community service, extracurricular activities and student events. It’s this kind of behavior that we should see throughout the VCU student body as well.

Fliers for events and seminars should be handed out personally rather than just posted on Facebook. A table should be rented out once a month in the Commons to inform students about the organization and how to become involved.

If the SGA becomes more assertive on campus, students don’t have to feel like there is a big barrier separating the SGA from the rest of the student body. They are equipped with most of the tools in order to become a successful Student Government Association. The only thing missing is the actual student body.

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