Editorial: Power of one vote in SGA elections

Senior prom night ­— it’s a time some recall rather fondly, while for others it’s an event from an old chapter in their lives not to be relived. Still, out of all the Kodak moments, the one most will remember, with venom perhaps, is the most popular girl and guy getting crowned as queen and king.

Although proms fit into the age-old tale of the popularity contests that defined our days in high school, the melodrama that inevitably arises from such relationships should not have an iota of influence as we prepare to head to the polls to vote in the Lawrenceville SGA elections on Thursday, April 3, and our counterparts on the Princeton campus on Monday, April 14.

At a time when the 2008 presidential race is heating up on the Democratic side and many of us are debating whether “change” or “experience” matters more, we have an opportunity here to vote for a slate of leaders who will shape the future of the University and our college careers.

More importantly, do not misunderstand how powerful and influential our SGA leaders and Executive Board consisting of the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer are on the issues that affect our everyday lives. They are the ones who represent us at meetings with the top brass of the University and are supposed to voice the interests and concerns of the student body.

Whether it’s giving students the opportunity to list what they would like to see improved on campus on Make A Difference Day in Daly’s, awarding club recognition to more than half a dozen organizations, approving candidates for the Community Standards Board, or initiating a spirited campaign to rally us to wear cranberry on Wednesdays, the SGA has been at the forefront of pivotal issues this academic year. It also provided feedback that helped enhance the new Web sites for the University and Athletics Department.

Previous SGA leaders were instrumental in getting the card swipe at the South Entrance working again and supported bringing a Starbucks to campus. Beyond that, SGA sponsors Bronc Buffets and assists with other major events such as Midnight MAACness and University Day. It also appoints students to serve on many important committees such as parking, housing and food. To deter drinking and driving, SGA has been involved in the planning process to establish a safe ride program that will allow students to hitch rides back to campus.

Over the past few years, turnout has been rather low when compared with the population eligible to vote, that is, the some 3,500 full-time undergraduate students who have the ability to cast a ballot. While turnout peaked in 2005 when 992 students voted, it dipped in 2006 when only 751 came out. Last year, 803 voted in the elections. Rest assured, we can and must do better. One vote can truly make all the difference.

Sure, it’s easy to make excuses for why you don’t have time to vote next week, but it does not make it right. Whether it’s the endless streams of papers that have been assigned and the need to get them done before the end of the semester or the various other commitments that we have eating up our precious moments, we can all find the five minutes it takes to invest in our leadership. Not voting is like writing the University a blank check, since we all pay a hefty chunk of change by borrowing against our future to attend this institution.

Written By Opinion Editor, Jamie Papapetros

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