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16 February 2014

Transparency would improve SG

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Flocks of students in pink and yellow shirts are a sign that it’s Student Government (SG) election season. These weeks in February are one of the few times that SG has a strong, visible presence on campus. But once election results are announced and the State of the U address has come and gone, this illusion of transparency fades away.

SG announced on Feb. 10 that it would change the way it communicates with students. In the past week, it has shared videos and photo stories about SG leaders, but the most valuable idea was an end-of-week recap on what all five branches of SG have accomplished. This is the first step in open communication between SG and students.

Still, social media should not be the extent of SG’s communication. If used improperly, it can be a crutch. The best way to let students know what SG is up to is for elected leaders to actively engage with student constituents – with the same kind of attention and reach that they have during election season.

SG should not feel the need to shy away from talking to student media for the sake of protecting their image. The point of these media outlets is to inform students of what is happening on campus. SG cannot complain about students being disinterested if they are not willing to talk about their work in an open manner.

As it stands, the lack of clear and continuous communication makes it seem like SG administrations are not effectively following through on the platforms on which they are elected. Students are in the dark, which perpetuates apathy.

SG has brought a handful of wide-reaching programs to campus, such as take-out and late night dining. But take a look at recent accomplishments of this SG administration: smoothies served in the dining halls and a school supply vending machine in Richter Library. What happened to the fifth year scholarship program we were promised during the election two years ago? Why is a shuttle to Dadeland still not operating regularly?

Communication helps students understand why expected projects have hit roadblocks. It could also put pressure on the university to move initiatives forward.

Transparency in SG comes from being a known and approachable face on campus; disseminating updates on social media, through the SG website, or in an email newsletter; and sharing information with student media rather than seeming scared of reporters.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.