Monday marks the beginning of campaigning week for Student Government (SG) executive board elections – the week when SG appears relevant to students’ day-to-day lives. Throughout the week, supporters wear matching T-shirts, hand out colorful pamphlets and promote the candidates’ platforms.
These platforms, which list large and small promises alike, make or break whether candidates get elected. However, once voting is over and a winning ticket is selected, the candidates’ exciting plans rarely get accomplished. These plans, which in the past have included locking in tuition and a public relations graphic tool, just become distant memories – until the next spring semester, of course.
With each new executive board, it seems SG has made less of an impact on students, by being unable to finish what it sets out to accomplish. Voters, therefore, should not be so concerned about the specifics of which students are running, how much experience with SG politics they have, or what would-be platform promises they wave in our faces.
Students should instead consider whether a ticket will be defined by real accomplishments. All tickets must hold their new president, vice president and treasurer accountable for the promises they make.
Former SG administrations under Brandon Mitchell and Nawara Alawa, in particular, stand out as the best recent examples of a student government making a difference.
Mitchell, who was SG president from 2011-2012 and previously Category 5 chair, managed to redesign the University Center when the Student Activities Center was on the drawing board. He also developed late-night dining, which is still available today.
The next year, Alawa’s ticket ran on the ambitious Plus One Scholarship program, which the university recently announced is now accepting applications from students looking to attend UM for a tuition-free fifth year.
Prior to her term, Alawa was a member of SG Senate’s Student Affairs Committee, the Parking and Transportation Advisory Board and the Civic Engagement Task Force.
Both Mitchell and Alawa were familiar with the administrators that mainly determine what initiatives have a chance of succeeding and were prepared for the primary responsibility of leading a student government – a commitment to the student body and its needs.
Mitchell and Alawa made themselves visible to the student body through realistic accomplishments for the university. For example, Alawa finished one of Mitchell’s lasting contributions to campus: the U statue that students pass by everyday on their way to class.
As students start to see their Facebook news feeds flooded with the faces of this year’s SG candidates, they must remember to vote for the people who will reflect the same spirit of accomplishment.
Look for an SG administration that listens to students and is ready to bring about change that is recognizable and practical but still packs a punch.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.