On Wednesday, September 15, Student Government Association (SGA) held their weekly meeting. They discussed various topics, including encouraging students to vote on campus.
Shawn Naccarato, chief strategy officer for Pittsburg State University, was a guest speaker. He graduated in 2001 with a political science and history degree. When studying at Pittsburg State, he worked with another previous SGA member Jeremy Swift on the constitutional amendments to create the position of Legislative Director, now serviced by Bella L’Heureux, who is also Vice President. He covers government regulations as well as entrepreneurship work, including Block22 and the Tyler Research Center which concentrates on commercialized research.
Naccarato wanted to focus his conversation on the importance of getting involved in local politics. Nearly all of SGA members are registered to vote, but fewer have their registrations in Crawford County. Naccarato mentioned that in 2011, only 3 votes changed the outcome of the city commission election.
Shawn also mentioned the importance of voting within your own city
“The thing that impacts us the most is the community that we are going to build,” Naccarato said. “The community that we are going to build for the future, and as the best version of Pittsburg, has got to have the voices of you folks [members of SGA] and the people that you represent.”
Naccarato also challenged the group to consider ways in which they can make sure they are registered to vote in national, state, and county elections, as the place they spend the most time is where they will have the most impact. He asked the group to think of ways to help encourage other individuals outside of SGA to register to vote. Naccarato mentioned that in any given city commission election, going back over 12 years, there has never been more than 2,000 registered voters who voted in the election. There has never been any more than 20 percent of the eligible population who has voted.
“If even 500 students who otherwise weren’t involved, if they registered to vote- and voted here, it would change the course of those elections,” Naccarato said.
Naccarato finally challenged the students to host a candidate forum for students on campus.
“Our students who are here really do care about what happens in Pittsburg- even if they’re not from Pittsburg..,” Naccarato said. “Because this institution is not going anywhere, and there is always going to be a new group of students here, and we want them to either stay here, or think of this as a possible place that they could come home to… One of the things that I always felt was missing was an involvement by students who live in this community for 9-10 months out of 12, regardless of where they’re from, not feeling like they can or should be involved locally.
Shawn Naccarato is open to questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Students with concerns that they would like to voice to Student Government Association should stop by their office (111 Overman Student Center) or by phone (620-235-4810). Concerns can also be submitted online under their tab on Pitt State’s website (pittstate.edu).