Letters: Be the change you always complain about

Guest Author

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board. Letters to the Editor reflect the view of a member of the campus community and are submitted to the publication for approval. 

In today’s politicized social climate it seems like everything has potential to turn into a heated political debate, from health care to the parking situation around campus. With all of the news and information that is thrown at us, it can get confusing on which elections or issues are the most important to focus on, especially for college populations, since we have a very limited amount of free time.

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At the end of the day, all of these little everyday issues we encounter in the City of Fort Collins and on the Colorado State University campus are in fact influenced by our local government.

Given this reality, I have a simple question for you: How many of you voted in your most recent local election? According to the City of Fort Collins, only 28.25 percent of registered voters submitted a ballot in the 2017 municipal elections. Now a second question: How many of you voted in the Associates Students of CSU student government elections in 2017? Not many since The Collegian reported that only 18.22 percent of the student body voted. So, what’s the big deal? It’s not like these small elections are concerning big issues like healthcare, the environment, or LGBTQ rights, right?

Well, let me ask you this now, how many of you have missed your target GPA because an A+ and A are a 4.0, but an A- is a 3.8 or one professor uses the +/- systems with grades and another doesn’t? Or how many of you had to buy a parking pass with the City of Fort Collins because your house is on a 2 hour a day parking block or got fined for violating the U+2 act? I have personally experienced some of these struggles as well as many of my friends. It can be very frustrating, but I realized I was focusing my frustrations on the wrong things.

Do you know who controls all of these local and university ordinances and policies? The politicians that run in the small municipal elections and ASCSU student government positions. So why didn’t you vote in those elections?

These issues have a serious impact on people because it can mean the difference between getting that internship this summer or finding a summer job instead or an extra $300 in your bank account.

Although young voter turnout for major elections (like presidential elections) is larger, there is a severe lack of young voters in local elections. This makes no sense considering these elected officials have more of an impact on our daily lives here in Fort Collins.

A possible explanation for this behavior may be that the major issues seem larger and more important than these local ordinances. Students should still be working to make our voices heard. It is our health, our rights that are caught in the crossfire, we should have more of an input on these issues.

It’s local elections where your actual voice is heard, because it’s on a smaller level. These local elections are just as equally important as the larger elections, because they impact you more than you think. 

Making Fort Collins and CSU an environment that harbors a more student-friendly environment, there are some simple ways you can get involved:

  • Go to city council meetings

  • Write to your landlord and ask them to attend local meetings and advocate for your interests

  • Vote in local and ASCSU student government elections

  • Email local and student government officials with your concerns

So next time you get angry at the U+2 ordinance or the parking issues near campus, ask yourself “Did I make an effort to voice my concern?”

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Bianca Banuelos

Fourth year psychology student 

 

The Collegian’s opinion desk can be reached at letters@collegian.com. To submit a letter to the editor, please follow the guidelines at collegian.com.