SGA/student disconnect

Carl J. Bachus | Collegio Writer

SGA elections are approaching soon and students will have more at stake than simply picking officeholders. President Scott recently announced a $46 million renovation/expansion plan for the campus that will be funded in large part, by student fees. However, students remain ambivalent toward the elections. Many, like Ryan Furnas, are largely unaware of who is in SGA or what they do for students.
“I hear about SGA every now and again, usually when I’m on the PSU homepage,” said Furnas, junior in construction engineering. “All I know is that they give you free Scantrons.”
Other students like Eric Hansen say that SGA does not do a good enough job informing the student body about the entire election process.
“I think students do not know when the elections are, let alone who the candidates or what the issues are,” said Hansen, junior in construction management. “I think informing students better of when this takes place would get a better turnout.”
Students like Ca’lissa Barnett believe that students should be willing to go out of their way to find the information and vote in the elections, though she agrees SGA should make a better effort to get the information out.
“I will vote in the next election,” said Barnett, freshman in sociology. “We don’t have the right to be mad about the choices that they make if we do not vote or take part in the process.”
SGA president Eric Jones says he does not see any disconnect between SGA and the rest of the student body.
“Every student is a member of SGA,” said Jones, senior in finance and economics. “This is outlined in our constitution. If I had to take a guess, it would be that most PSU students just don’t care about SGA elections. This may sound sad, but I feel that it is the truth. Why else would students not vote?”
Jones says SGA does many things for students such as offering free Scantrons, lobbying for higher education in Topeka, handling the allocation of student fees, and annually organizes Big Event, the largest community service effort in Southeast Kansas.
“Every one of our meetings are open,” Jones said. “We go to great lengths to make sure PSU students have the opportunity to get involved and have their voices heard. Whether they take that opportunity or not is up to them. We can’t force people to get involved with something if they have no interest in it.”
The disconnect between SGA and the student body leaves many students, like Adam Hewitt, ambivalent about the elections and actions of SGA. Hewitt says part of the problem stems from a lack of effective communication.
“I get SGA emails from time to time, but sometimes you get too many,” said Hewitt, senior in social work. “I just delete them sometimes. I may or may not read them. I know that the communication is out there, but it’s not enough for me to really notice.”
Hewitt says student apathy is also partly to blame for the lack of participation. He says he has never voted in a student election because he doesn’t know much about them. Hewitt says he would probably vote if the information circulated in a more effective way.
“I wouldn’t even know where to vote. If I saw it out and about, I’d be more inclined to do something,” Hewitt said. “That’s the thing about a lack of information. I couldn’t tell you if they were doing a good job or a bad one.”

Leave A Comment