By Victoria Cameron
This year, 323 students voted in the Student Senate elections. While that number is higher than last year’s, it falls short of Student Senate’s goal, to have 400 students vote.
Concordia has almost 2000 students, so 400 students is only about a fifth of the student population. Personally, I find it uncomfortable that wanting a fifth of the students to vote is a lofty, unattainable goal.
Student Senate held elections for 2019-20 officers in Janzow for three days. They were at the Campus Center- most students would have passed or at least seen them. There was no practical reason preventing students from voting.
American education, and American society in general, stresses the importance of voting. Every year my classes emphasized that voting is a privilege and a responsibility. I was told there is no good reason not to vote, that the trip was worth it, that my voice does matter, that I can make a difference.
These values transfer nicely to voting for campus Senate officers. Student Senate officers are the main voices and representations of the student body. By voting for them, students are able to affect who will be their voice.
So if most students who have spent time in America know the importance of voting, and the voting was in a convenient place, why did so few students vote? My guess is that they simply did not realize its importance is the same as voting elsewhere, especially since most students have little idea of what Student Senate is.
Student Senate meets weekly to address campus issues, but most people do not even read the Student Senate Minutes, which are distributed weekly. Student Senate does not visibly have an active presence around campus most of the time, so it can be assumed that they do not actually impact the lives of students. This is not true, but if students believe it is, it might as well be.
Student Senate is optimistic that voting trends will continue to rise, and although it will be another year before the next election, the voting mindset needs to set in now to make next year’s election a success. Voting at Concordia is only one step removed from voting as citizens. Now is the time to decide to take that step, and to commit to voting both at Concordia and for our country.