Student government system flawed

JULIAN WYLLIE | Columnist

The newly-elected Student Government Association president title is a coveted one. And the hype of the coming elections proves this.

But aside from the festivities and glamour associated with the position, the average student does not seem to have a strong interest in SGA matters.

The candidates this year, Chad Pingel and Robert C. Gale, both have interesting platforms and campaign strategies. A voter cannot go wrong with either choice.

But once elected, the future SGA president must to do better to include and inform students on Butler University affairs.

A fantastic campaign strategy with high-definition quality videos, funny slogans and social media buzz are not enough to interest students on a personal level.

Concrete ideas have to be advanced in order for students to see the true value of SGA’s role as a liaison to Butler President James Danko.

Gale, in his press release packet, lists three points of focus for his potential presidency: inclusive leadership, communication and action.

When I questioned Gale about students being uninterested is SGA affairs, he said he believes it was the responsibility of the organization to get students involved.

“We need to be able to communicate about what we have to offer—show students the passion and love for SGA,” Gale said.

Pingel says his goals are to be engaging, efficient and representative of the student population.

He said he believes  transparency and becoming an accessible president would open lines of communication.

“I hate the fact that some people are very vague about their goals. I want to make them concise, understandable and relatable,” Pingel said.

I agree with both candidates’ platforms in a general sense.

But I will patiently wait for the results.

I am not interested in a list of buzz words designed to gloss over the issues.

SGA focus is to empower student groups and organizations, because these associations ultimately affect large portions of the campus.

But what is there to be said of the individual student?

Students, SGA and each of the two candidates must ask themselves if the system is doing enough to remedy concerns of the Butler community.

We should wonder how many students, particularly incoming freshmen, care about the SGA process or if they even understand what needs to be done.

Gale said he recognized the issue that some students simply don’t know what SGA is really about.

Pingel said he feels that, in order to gain attention from freshmen, SGA must set aside positions reserved for the underclassmen.

“A lot of that starts with the Welcome Week program,” Pingel said.

Pingel and Gale both referenced Block Party as a tool to inform  incoming  students about SGA.

While that is a good start, more can be done.

SGA needs greater transparency, accessible leadership, interested students, open lines of communication and a rejection of the status quo.

If SGA really wants the average student to be interested in the process, the system needs to be altered appropriately, and the next president should be responsible for that change.

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