An email this evening from the SGA Election Committee announced that Riley O’Rourke received 291 out of 557 votes cast in the SGA Presidential election. I assume this means O’Rourke has been elected President since he got over 50% of the votes cast, but the email does not make this clear.
I think the real story coming out of this election is the dismally low voter turnout– by my calculations, only 23% of the student body voted.
There are a lot of factors that could have gone into the lack of participation. A few that come to mind are general student apathy, a lack of publicity for the election, and possibly unexciting candidates. But I also think we should take a hard look at what the SGA actually does. Many people consider this year’s SGA to be one of the most successful in recent memory. Their accomplishments include extending library hours during exam week, saving midnight breakfast and saving the Freshman outdoor orientation (now called OINK).
These are concrete accomplishments, but I think the SGA also needs some more ambition. We need an effective student voice on important issues such as the Commons system, alcohol policy, and Senior work, to name a few. Perhaps the administration doesn’t give the SGA enough power, but the SGA could at least try to take action on substantive issues.
As I said, there are a lot of factors that go into this embarrassingly low turnout, but I think the SGA’s lack of initiative is an important part of the story.
Feel free to share your thoughts on why you did or didn’t participate in the election here. Or you could drop a comment on the SGA website. You’d be the first activity on the SGA’s site since October…