When MTV tells their viewers to “rock the vote” many of us are too scared to reply, “Why should I?” even though we’re thinking it. The media tries to turn voting into a hip trend but they don’t give any reasoning on why it’s important. Instead of peer pressuring our youth into voting on issues they have no idea about, influential corporations and political campaigns should be educating them on reasons they should vote in the first place.
Before I continue, I would like to point out that since I’ve reached the legal age I have only voted in our national election once and that was only because I wanted the cool “I voted” sticker that everyone else had. I didn’t even bother voting in my local elections because I had know idea who the candidates were nor what issues they were promising to work on.
Since my time here at SSU I have not once voted in an Associated Students election, and until recently, I didn’t plan on voting this year either. It wasn’t until I was educated on how our campus issues can affect me personally that I decided to do my part as an informed student and participate.
Last year only 2,015 out of 8,157 students voted in the AS government election. It’s a shame that a turnout of 25 percent of students voting was one of the highest we’ve seen in years. Even with a number like 2015 students we have to wonder how many of those students were friends of the candidates who just wanted to be honest when they were asked if they voted.
While that’s not a major part of the problem, these students add to the group of likely uninformed voters that aren’t using their democratic rights to their full potential.
We as students need to attend more events like the candidate Meet-and-Greet. We need to watch the executive vice-president debate (Wednesday, March in Ballroom A) and the presidential debate (Thursday, March 6 from noon to 1 p.m. in Ballroom A). We should read the student newspaper, which is great resource in getting to know candidates and what policies they plan on implementing if elected.
If you are an avid reader of the STAR, or are friends with other SSU students on Facebook, or have even taken the time to look at the walkways around the Student Center you would know that our school was almost hit by a $500 ‘success fee’. The fee that was proposed by President Armiñana was recently taken off the table after it faced much opposition by students and faculty alike.
This decision was heavily influenced by the input from our student government. Although the threat of a $500 increase in our tuition is gone for now, there is always the possibility of the fee returning. For both supporters and adversaries of the fee, knowing which candidates are in favor of the fee (or not) is an important piece of information to learn.
Without the fee in place, many wonder what SSU is going to do to assure that their students graduate in four years. Our student government has the power to influence school officials on where and how tuition money should be spent. Don’t you want to vote for a candidate whose main goal is to work to make more units available? Maybe you just want your student government to amend their signage policy so clubs can gain more awareness?
Instead of protesting around the student center and complaining to your friends that you have to spend a fifth year at college, get informed and vote for the candidates that serve your best interest.