Vote! For the greater good

| Senior Forum Editor

Student Union Senate and Treasury elections are today and tomorrow. I don’t always get high, but when I do, it’s on a sense of civic duty and post-election euphoria. After the national elections last week, I was inspired not only to vote in the SU elections, but also to actually read the candidate statements instead of voting for the candidates with the most syllables in their names, like I usually do. Looking at the candidate statements, I soon realized that the Senate elections are, for the most part, uncompetitive. This is somewhat surprising, given the kerfuffle over Senate activity like the proposed plastic bag ban. While I don’t like to nag, a lack of contentious elections indicates an overall lack of enthusiasm for student government. While greater transparency and communication on the part of SU could help solve this problem (Special election? What special election?), it’s on the rest of us to vote and pay attention to Senate activities.

Only five people are running for six available Arts & Science Senate seats, this after the number of seats was reduced last year from 10 to six. Clearly, there’s still plenty of fat to be trimmed from the flabby tummy of Wash. U.’s democratic process. This isn’t to say that our Senate representatives won’t acquit themselves admirably. But competitive elections encourage accountability and hard work.

This isn’t just an ArtSci problem. Art has no official candidate; it looks like another write-in campaign is in order. My prediction: it’ll be a three-way tie, with votes divided amongst your mom, Nate Silver and “that one chick on the Circ who always has paint in her hair.”

The School of Architecture seat does have two contenders. However, given that the challenger is a freshman whose main “experience” is serving as the editor-in-chief of his high school yearbook “team,” the incumbent, a junior with extensive SU experience, will probably win. Kudos to Andrew Pandji anyway, for making the election at least ostensibly competitive.

And of course, there’s the Olin School of Business. I’d say I was surprised that there’s only one guy (a freshman, no less) running for the open seat, given that I assume all B-school students are power-hungry Gordon Gekko types, but then I realized they are all busy running for Treasury. Good luck, Billiam Feng, B-school’s latest soon-to-be freshman senator…literally.

Optimistic person that I am, I choose to view this vacant ArtSci seat as an opportunity, rather than a sign that Wash. U. students are apathetic until SU does something to completely piss them off. I’m taking this opportunity to announce my own candidacy. Just type in my name. As a senior, I have a ton of experience being a student here. I know what matters to you. If elected, I vow to end Connie’s Choice, allocate the entire $2.6 million budget to WUChurn and make the bells in Graham Chapel play “Call Me Maybe” instead of the alma mater. After accomplishing these goals, I vow to immediately cede my position to Nate Silver, who, by my calculations, has an 88 percent chance of turning out to be God.

Apart from my newly minted candidacy, there is one other bright spot in the sea of uncompetitive elections. Kudos to engineering; despite soul-crushing amounts of homework and a supposed lack of people skills, they’ve managed to round up five viable, breathing candidates for two positions, making their election competitive. Treasury is also very competitive; read those bios carefully because these are the people who allocate money to student groups and fund speakers. If you’ve ever participated in a SU-recognized group or been to a speaker series, you have an even greater stake in the process.

If you were enraged (or encouraged) by the plastic bag ban campaign, if you want to improve diversity on campus or if you’re wondering why Monday’s special election wasn’t better publicized, you have a stake in SU. In fact, if you’re a student here, you have a stake in SU. And remember ArtSci readers to vote for me because, you know, you might as well. At