Take chance to be part of student politics

Staff Editorial

Student government is important.
As we begin a new academic year, we urge all Pittsburg State students, whether they’ve just begun their collegiate career or already imagine themselves in commencement robes, to keep this fact in mind.
Few things concern all college students more than money, and this organization has the original responsibility for deciding how much each student pays for everything from parking to today’s constant pace of campus construction.
Steve Scott as university president is reliably true to his responsibility to talk to students should the need arise, but SGA works with him regularly to emphasize all student concerns.
SGA’s president, Jordan Schaper, represents Pitt State to the state government on a regular basis and the president speaks for the students whenever required.
The cabinet serves a variety of important roles, from organizing the annual Big Event community-service project to managing an on-campus food pantry.
Individual senators have the closest ties to each college and the student body at large and may advocate for bills and resolutions that can devote time, resources and a significant amount of money to any student-affiliated project.
Yet all of this happens without all that much student participation. Less than 15 percent of the student body votes for SGA every year. A lot of students don’t even know that SGA exists or what it is for.
Vacancies in the Senate are a persistent problem, and even after the Senate reduced its size for this year, 14 out of 40 seats remain open.
SGA’s office in Hartman Hall is quiet, other than the occasional rush for the Scantron test-taking forms the organization provides.
Even a handful of students showing up to meeting to watch, never mind take the chance to speak during student-opinion time, is a rare event.
The new student government administration has resolved to do what it can to improve SGA’s situation, like most of its predecessors. Schaper will periodically contribute his thoughts as president to The Collegio starting with the next issue of Thursday, Sept. 4.
Excepting perhaps Pitt State football, every organization on campus has issues with attracting participation by most students.
Government isn’t something that’s appealing to even the entire community, as about 15 percent of voters turned out on Aug. 5 when races for the U.S. Congress were at stake.
Yet such trends are a poor excuse to do nothing.
All students have the chance to be involved with SGA in some way. Before Friday, Aug. 29, applications will be accepted to fill a Senate vacancy.
For everyone else: Attend weekly SGA meetings, held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Find out who your senators are and if you have a problem about the university or have an idea for improvement, tell them about it.
Pitt State can and should set an example for student involvement and representation.

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