Voice: Role of elections important lesson for new students

As Student Government Association elections approach, freshmen will have the opportunity to vote in their first election. While it may not seem important now, these elections can help shape SGA in the years to come.

SGA elections will be Tuesday, Sept. 17 and Wednesday, Sept. 18, with runoff elections Thursday, Sept. 19. All positions are up for grabs except for executive positions which were decided last semester.

All students should vote for their representatives, but freshmen new to campus may not fully understand the scope
of SGA’s duties on campus. SGA has several important roles on campus, including dispersing funds to campus

SGA allocates the Student Activity Fee that all students pay. Using a process called Student Activity Fee Allocation, the student government funds all Recognized Student Organizations on campus.

This funding allows RSOs to hold events as long as they benefit students. It also allows small student organizations that don’t have the ability to raise money to exist and function like larger RSOs.

Money is not the only thing SGA influences on campus. While the UCA Board of Trustees decides many of the larger issues on campus, SGA still has a lot of say in what happens. On most board of trustees votes, the board will ask SGA if they have any questions about the issue. SGA also gives policy recommendations to the board on issues that concern students.

Freshmen may not have enough experience on campus to completely understand many of the issues and concerns
on campus, but voting is still important to decide who will shape the political landscape of the university. All students should vote, no matter what classification they are.

Students, not just freshmen, often believe that voting in school elections is pointless, but candidates actually do have different points of view. Some candidates show more support for Greek Life or RSOs, while other candidates may show disdain for them. Knowing how your candidates feel about issues you care about is important to your experience on campus.

SGA has taken on several projects that affect student life in real and substantial ways. The amphitheater in the Student Center Courtyard was built with SGA funds and has held several live performances so far this year.

Next year, many students will have the opportunity to vote in their first national, state and local elections. Getting involved in the politics of the university community early can help students get inolved in broader political issues as well.

National, state and local elections may affect more people and seem more important, but student government will have the most influence during students’ time at college.

Any student who cares about the well-being of UCA should vote in next week’s SGA elections. Whether you feel it’s important or not, it will affect you in serious and apparent ways.

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