For those recently graduated from a public high school, where the student government had their small amount of power to organize dances, pep rallies and the occasional senior class event (but only with unanimous approval from administration), many incoming freshmen do not initially expect much more from a student government.
However, at orientation and Ram Welcome, you become acquainted with the notion of a whole new degree of seriousness and gravity that a student government at the university level holds. There is more diversity among students, more needs to be met and more opportunities to be explored compared to a high school that is limited by a school board that desperately does not want to step on toes. Amidst the shuffling from event to event during these programs at the beginning of your college career, it is hard to retain all the information, but at least I walked away with the idea that ASCSU really was “my” student government.
Several weeks into the semester, I had not heard anything about them in particular. Generally, the idea of a student government was far removed from my everyday life. The first thing I heard or saw about ASCSU my first semester of college was not until a Collegian article reported on a senator from ASCSU being impeached, and that the proceedings were being held behind closed doors.
Surprised that this was the first thing I heard about my student government since I had been in college, it came to mind that ASCSU barely had a presence on campus. It is accepted that negative news makes more news than good news, yet it seems reasonable to think that a proactive student government would be making headlines with new legislation, or ideas for programs.
Considering that the organization would go to the extent to impeach one of their senators, it is clear their jobs are undeniably taken seriously. However, it seems there is either a major misunderstanding with what ASCSU has capability to do, or more can be done.
It is important for the incoming class to know as soon as possible what exactly their student government can do for them, what it can’t do and to know who to go to when they want something brought to the attention of someone with some power. The less questions left up in the air over what ASCSU’s role is, the more involved the student body can be and help provide necessary contribution to the organization itself. It is, after all, a student government.
While students need to actively participate, ASCSU cannot and should not always wait for us. Taking on the responsibility of representing us requires them to actively advocate for us. Keeping ASCSU transparent, enthusiastic about student affairs and needs and fighting for them constantly would ultimately benefit everyone, even ASCSU themselves. If ASCSU will claim that they are our student government, then we both need to do our part to help form a student government that meets everyone’s needs.
Collegian Columnist Alexandra Stettner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @alexstetts.