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Opinion: Why Don’t Students Run for Campus Positions?

The courtyard outside the Cate Center
Photo by Olivia Slack

At Meredith, the opportunity to be involved in campus organizations is important to academic, social and professional success. Personally, I have taken every opportunity possible to become involved in the student organizations that I care about. Why haven’t we all done the same?

It is crucial that students use their voices and opinions to elect and even become leaders on campus. An uncontested race is nice for the candidate, but what if they aren’t the best choice? I recently ran uncontested for Student Government Association (SGA) Senate Chair. I myself have run in 3 uncontested races this year alone. That is unacceptable. I can’t help but wonder if I was chosen because I really was the best candidate or because I was the only option. Many members of student organization leadership, not just me, are chosen in uncontested races.

As the 2022-2023 Senate Chair-Elect, I only have three Senators serving with me next year. In order to meet quorum to vote in meetings, the SGA Senate needs two-thirds of their senators present, so only having three senators isn’t ideal. Other organizations within the SGA like Student Life and Honor Council are in the same boat. As much as I love the three senators I do have, why are we relying on three people out of about 2,000 at Meredith to make such huge decisions? It is unfair and unjust.

In an email sent to students on Feb. 21, it was stated that there were six positions still available to students on the SGA Executive Board. These positions were available even after holding campus-wide elections. This also doesn't account for the vast number of class SGA positions available. There is no reason why, on a campus of 2,000 people, positions remain unfilled and uncontested.

These six executive positions and the numerous class-level positions are filled on an application and interview basis. Staff and a few students interview and choose their friends and peers for these positions, instead of the greater student body choosing their representatives in an election. That just doesn’t sound right to me.

I understand that running for a campus-wide position is scary. I was scared to run for Senate Chair, but it was worth it. Joining an organization and running for leadership positions takes time, but I have found it to be one of the greatest uses of my time. Use your voice, join a student organization and make a difference here on campus. Change will not happen without you.

By Freya Dahlgren, Opinion Editor

1 comment

1 Comment

Mar 20, 2022

Some excellent points.

To play devil’s advocate, it has been a rough go since the pandemic. Many students are struggling to stay in school, let alone take on leadership position. it might not be so much that students are unwilling to run for leadership position but that they are unable due to other commitments, jobs, family obligations, etc.

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