Voter Apathy and ASCSU’s Elections

Brian FosdickThere’s always a push to vote whenever the ASCSU elections come around, and ultimately about 10 people total actually vote. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but as with almost all issues that require people to vote, the turnout relative to the total population is abysmal.

You can cite laziness as the main issue, although the effort to get on Ramweb and click a button isn’t exactly arduous. I really think part of the problem lies in the fact that many of ASCSU’s achievements are either overshadowed, or non-existent.

Don’t get me wrong, I have voted in an ASCSU election before. I voted my first year here at CSU and since then I’ve watched the tuition continue to skyrocket, construction on every other building continues and business as usual. There have been some improvements over the years, but almost all of them either didn’t affect me at all or affected me in a completely invisible way.

Ramride is a cool and helpful program, but if you don’t go out to drink and party it really does nothing for you, unless you’re trying to raise money for your clubs. The “Affordable Books” program is the best joke I’ve heard all year. I assume the Student Fee Review Board is attempting to shaft people like myself slightly less when paying for stuff I’ll rarely or never use, but at the end of the day it just doesn’t really seem to affect my daily life in any way and I’m still paying more each year.

I don’t even find ASCSU to be at fault for any of the issues that bother me, but I think the biggest issue with ASCSU is either that they are given too little power to change policy that is actually meaningful for the students, or they simply don’t do enough with the power they have.

None of their decisions have ever blown me off my feet. In the time that I’ve been here there has never been a single decision they have made that made me want to stay involved in the election process.

Part of it may also be the fact that news of their achievements is also almost all but invisible. Even when you attempt to look up what ASCSU has done over the years, you get more rhetoric than actual solid achievements. Everyone wants to uphold CSU traditions and achievements and blah blah blah so on and so forth. It’s the very stuff that spawns voter apathy when you can’t even figure out what’s being done among all of the promises to improve CSU.

If I have to be honest with myself though, government officials almost always have power equal to the power of their supporters and I think when it comes to student government, they tend to have very few supporters. It’s precisely because voter apathy is so ingrained in the way that we think about our representatives and their achievements that they tend to have so little power. It’s because voting itself is not enough to create change that we tend to see so little change when all we do is vote. As much as we’d like to believe that we can get a better hand in life by just pressing a button with two names by it, looking at it objectively, that will never be the case.

When it comes down to it, don’t be afraid to vote. You have nothing to lose by doing so, and the representatives may come to surprise you with how they approach change at CSU, but if there is a real and authentic change you desire, you have to go beyond that.

Remain active in your student government  and issues that are important to you and push for change, because at the end of the day it’ll do a lot more than just pushing a button.

Brian Fosdick is a junior journalism major. His columns appear Wednesdays in the Collegian Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.