$2.1 million up for grabs…who wants it?

We at Student Life are giddy at the prospect of something truly rare: a broadly competitive Student Union election. At stake is the SU’s largely discretionary budget, commonly acknowledged to stand at around $2.1 million dollars, which its officials are free to spend as they see fit. Given the not-small sum on the table, it should come as some surprise that our last two SU presidents ran uncontested races. For anyone at all familiar with this school, however, our anemic politics are nothing new. But this year can be different. And seeing as the first announcements of candidacy hit in today’s issue, we think now is a good time to challenge you to make 2010 an actual election year.

Elections, even wee collegiate ones, are a good thing. They force candidates to make clear promises to voters and, more importantly, legitimize the whole electoral process. They grant the elected a genuine mandate based on popular support from the student body. When students are not offered a choice of candidates, it becomes far too easy for the administration and for the student body to dismiss the concerns of SU merely as the grumblings of out of touch bureaucrats.

We are confident that some real races will happen this year, hopefully for every position on the ballot. But that doesn’t mean we can’t recommend that you, the average student, throw your hat in as well. This election doesn’t have to belong to SU veterans. We know that there are many students who are consistently dissatisfied with the actions (or lack thereof) of SU. Furthermore, many of these concerns are shared by large, organized groups of students like Green Action and those involved with Greek life. Why not run?

You don’t need to be a current member of SU, and even if you don’t win, forming your own slate is a great way to make sure that your particular concerns are heard and addressed. You will be able to capture the attention of the student body for at least as long as you campaign, as well as the attention of the other candidates running for office. And who knows, you might even win. Dreams are a lot easier to chase with $2.1 million to throw at them.

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