There are plenty of things students complain about regarding college. And each year, there is an opportunity to influence a variety of issues on campus.
To do this, one needs to get involved in student government. There are a variety of different positions available for students to fill. Some of these positions require an election; a running ticket needs to be voted on by the student body. It seems simple enough, however, getting information regarding running elections and the benefits of being elected are rather laborious.
Any member of the NDSU student body should feel like they could run for office; therefore, student government elections should be more transparent. For example, this year the Listserv email regarding an informational meeting about student government election was sent on Feb. 16, a Sunday night. The meeting was held the next day on Feb. 17.
In doing this, the opportunity for students not directly in-the-know with student government had a grossly limited opportunity to attend the meeting due to such short notice. Additionally the university was closed on Feb. 17, which could have added to the difficulty of attending.
Many students are also not aware of the benefits that come with the position of student body president and vice president. Both president and vice president get a full tuition stipend during the year they are in office.
This should not be taken lightly, however, as the positions of president and vice president are both very demanding. The tuition stipend translates into roughly minimum wage when taking into account all the hours of work that are put in.
Not only is the information difficult to get, but some students may feel like they cannot run for office because they are not already in the student government circle or involved in Greek life. Student government should be composed of people from all different parts of the university. To help diversify student government, other organizations could encourage their members to get involved and make a difference on campus.
In order to run for student government, students must meet the same criteria needed for other co-curricular activities. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average, be enrolled in and maintain nine semester credits from the previous semester and during the participation period and be in good standing with the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs.
There is little encouragement from student government to run for elections, or to even gain information about the positions. They do not go out of their way to involve others, but seem to focus on people that are already involved.
Last year, only one ticket ran — this could be due to students not being aware of the process for running, campaigning or voting. Only 1,831 of over 14,000 students voted during elections.
If election information was more accessible to the student body, more students may consider entering the presidential race. This would then, in turn, possibly create a more diverse selection of candidates offering a larger representation of the NDSU student body.