Presidential elections for Tech’s Student Government Association (SGA) are approaching, and we will be heavily scrutinizing the platforms of the candidates. But another election that often receives less attention from the student community is that for the Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR). It consists of representatives for each school and year, and one could argue they hold as much or more power than the executive branch of SGA. These representatives allocate more than $1.5 million in funds from the Student Activity Fee to various student organizations. Recently, they were responsible for providing $500,000 to mental health initiatives and the counseling center.
It is concerning to see that, despite being tasked with making such impactful decisions, the general student body is largely unaware of the power that these representatives hold. Lacking as well is the proficiency with which SGA has publicized them: The official web page for undergraduate representatives is outdated, with many listed already having graduated.
Students should be more aware of elections for representatives, as it affects all student life. The UHR make budgeting decisions with little to no oversight from administration, and many representatives often run with no ideological platform and little opposition.
Another big issue is the apathy during legislative sessions. Currently, the discussion sometimes falls to a few individuals, and we would like to see more representatives engaged in the conversation.
To combat this, more students should apply to run for representative positions. More contenders will naturally result in necessarily greater thought and effort put into the campaigns and the job. If not running, students should still make sure to participate by voting for representatives on elections.gatech.edu starting March 9.