Stop shouting into the void, attend the SU debate

From cancelling WILD to pseudo-fighting with Social Programming Board, Student Union has been in Student Life’s coverage quite a bit lately. As such, Washington University students are beginning to realize the power SU has over their day-to-day experience and how they’ve relinquished their voices in the matter. Come this Friday, the student body has their chance to make their voice heard again by coming to the SU debates and making candidates answer the hard questions.

In past years, student attendance at SU debates has been abysmal. Even worse, two years ago the junior class council candidates walked out of the debate because every position was uncontested. Similarly, during the recent budget meetings, nearly half of the SU senators left the room, neglecting their elected and expected jobs.

The severe apathy on campus towards our student politics has bred a climate that allows the few elected SU representatives complete autonomy in making decisions. As a result, situations similar to what happened with the cutting of fall WILD are allowed to arise. The student body must combat the lax environment surrounding our student government by holding each and every candidate accountable, not only to their promises but also to their most basic duties.

To create a more cohesive and progressive student government, it’s on us as students to become educated and invested voters. A good start is attending the debate and asking your questions of the candidates. Another way could be visiting the candidate profile pages on either the SU or Student Life website or even visiting the various candidates’ Facebook pages.

At the very least, just vote. Student voter turnout has traditionally been incredibly low, last fall totaling just 28.3 percent of the student body. The highest voter turnout in recent SU history was fall 2014, at 35.4 percent, with average turnout usually hovering around 30 percent. Having less than a third of the student body make decisions for the whole is an egregious failing of our governmental system and ultimately a reflection on our priorities as students.

Together, we can shape the student experience at Washington University for the better. This Friday, make an effort to attend the SU debate, submit a question for the candidates and just get out and vote to have your voice heard on campus.

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