Connect Student Government, constituents

Last week, Student Government (SG) launched the #FindYourSenator campaign, which encouraged students to find SG representatives wearing signs around campus and post selfies with them on social media for a chance to win prizes.

The campaign was a SG’s part to make its presence more visible to students.

Oftentimes, it can seem like the role of SG goes largely unnoticed, excepting the two weeks of executive board elections each spring semester.

Despite the lack of praise and attention SG receives from the student body, the organization’s work is legitimate and effective.

As shown by the Hurricane’s Senate Recaps, SG members continuously make progress on existing projects and proffer new ideas at each meeting.

Policies have the potential to significantly alter the campus landscape, from the addition of late night dining to free Metrorail passes for students commuting to the medical campus.

With all of these accomplishments, why does SG still seem so uneventful from the outsider’s point of view? Progress takes time, perhaps in terms of years.

Current SG administrations are still working to finish initiatives begun years ago, like the Plus One scholarship program, which was first introduced in 2013 and only came into fruition this semester.

SG could try to balance out long-term initiatives with short-term goals that can be completed within a semester or a year-long tenure, like a bike rack expansion.

Seeing a quicker turnaround between initiatives and results could strengthen students’ interest in SG.

SG can also increase student involvement by making more efforts to reach out to their constituents and to start a dialogue with the general student body, perhaps by holding periodic town hall meetings or similar events. Other outreach programs along with #FindYourSenator show that this year’s SG administration is recognizing this disconnect and attempting to improve.

However, this relationship is a two-way street. Students should take the initiative to be aware of new SG developments, whether by reading Senate Recaps, talking to their representatives or following updates on social media.

As a result, more students can take ownership for reshaping their campus experience rather than placing that responsibility on what they perceive as a nameless and faceless organization.

Both SG and the campus body benefit from increased investment in campus policymaking.

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

March 29, 2015


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