As the Student Assembly elections approach, students at the College of William and Mary should take a moment to ask themselves: What do I want from the SA? Every year, student apathy and disinterest plague SA elections. Students need to become more aware about the role the SA actually plays — it’s more than bringing the Dalai Lama to campus. SA senators are responsible for handling a significant amount of student money. As a student, you should care about what the SA is doing with your funds.
Students at the College should be more informed about the role of the SA in the daily goings-on around campus and what needs to be done in order to improve its functioning. Most of the conversation last year about the SA revolved around positive change; however, nothing seems to be especially different. The SA continuously struggles with simple problems like reaching a quorum at senate meetings. This year the SA elected to spend a portion of its money on koozies bearing the medical amnesty policy. While the medical amnesty policy is important, most students have a fair bit of knowledge about the policy after freshmen orientation, and the money could have been put to a more useful purpose. The SA needs to become more efficient and to stop wasting both time and money.
The “What Can the SA Do For You Act” offered only disappointingly fluffy ideas, like buying SA stickers, to promote awareness about the assembly’s role on campus. The SA deserves a pat on the back for some of the major events they host, such as performances by major artists and bringing speakers to campus, but students should not forget to hold them accountable for their role in the daily functions of the College. The SA needs to discuss its goals and plans for enhancing student life at the College and seek student support to put these plans into action.
While Residence Life and Dining Services are often criticized for not meeting student needs, they are significantly better at seeking student input than the SA. ResLife sends out student satisfaction surveys every year to discuss the housing registration process. Dining Services recently implemented the Text N Tell feedback program in order to gain more student input. The SA needs to follow these models and seek student input in more efficient ways than holding office hours with the SA president and vice president.
With so many open positions in the SA, the organization has the opportunity to improve its role in the daily functioning of the College. Students should see this election as their chance to make a change in how the SA conducts business. Take time to learn about the candidates. Do not just vote for the person who lives in your dorm. The student body at the College needs an SA that is efficient and dedicated to spearheading new ideas. Take advantage of the opportunity to make the SA a more productive organization by becoming informed about the candidates in this semester’s election.