With SGA election season gearing up, students should begin thinking about what they want to see in candidates, and more importantly, candidates should begin considering their platforms.
In particular, the candidates for office must consider SGA’s role on campus. SGA members must actively serve as advocates for the student body to the administration and the Board of Regents (BoR). They should seek to initiate and actively drive conversations that address issues central to the quality of student life, such as the rising cost of tuition, fees, safety and student-faculty relations. They should not restrict themselves to providing a student perspective on an idea or initiative when asked. It’s important to work with the administration to tackle problems on campus, but elected representatives should be unafraid to firmly stand up for the interests of the entire student body. This holds true both at the Institute and state levels.
SGA should also narrow its focus to tackling those big campus issues and move away from hosting events like I<3 GT Week and GT Night at the Woodruff Arts Center. These events should be moved to other organizations like SCPC, whose stated purpose is more in line with running these types of events.
Candidates should also consider how they will increase discussion with the student body. SGA’s open forums are aimed at doing just that, but few people know about these events when they happen, and even fewer attend, so little real external input is gained. At the end of the day, few Tech students can name their SGA representatives. More telling, though, is the fact that the reaction of few students to a campus issue is to go to SGA. Members of SGA cannot claim to represent the student voice if students don’t trust them to advocate for the student body when working with important decision makers.