Who’s spending your $130,000? The Student Association is.
Through the General Service Fee, SVSU’s student body government receives $.60 per credit hour from every student enrolled at SVSU.
Traditionally, about $50,000 goes to allocations and $20,500 goes toward the wages of the president, speaker, executive assistant of the association and the chairs.
Elections for the individuals who decide how to spend your money are this week, and I can’t stress it enough that students need to voice their concerns.
Online, we released each of the presidential and representative candidates’ application responses to three basic questions. The contents of these applications should cause worry.
Most of these applications come from those looking to return in a position as a representative. A large portion of these applications contain grammatical errors such as misuse of a semi-colons and verb tenses or spelling errorsof SVSU campus facility names.
These individuals are more likely to run for and be elected into the paid positions of the Association, which can traditionally earn them up to $5,200 in an academic year.
If these applications represent at all how they will interact with administration through emails and proposals, we should be fearful of the professionalism in their communication. These students are meant to represent the student body, so we should hold them to the highest regards of professionalism.
Perhaps they didn’t know the applications would be viewed by the public, so they didn’t put as much effort into them. But considering that faculty members go around crossing out incorrect Potty Posting facts, perhaps it isn’t just application mistakes.
These applications also included a question prompting candidates to say what changes they’d like to see on campus.
Many answered that they wanted to see more weekend events. But there are already many weekend events, there’s just a lack of awareness and desire to go to them. This past weekend there was a career fair, game night, lock-in, film screenings from the Valley Film Society and Valley Nights, several RSO meetings, art exhibitions, swim meets and a color guard competition.
Others answered that they wanted to fix the parking issues, but never gave examples of how they’d fix it. The winter 2014 parking survey, which is available for viewing online, indicates there are hundreds of parking spaces available at all times during the day; it’s just that students want to park in the closest available parking lot, which is not always possible. We have a walking problem here at this university, not a parking problem.
So why do these people want to be representatives and what has prepared them for the position? At least five of the candidates cited making friends within the association is a good reason to join and that it prepares them for the position.
Several incumbents also cited being a previous representative this past year enables them to do well next year; no other reasons were cited for some of these. Some just gave the positions they’ve previously held, without elaborating on personal contributions. In government, it should not be about your past titles that dictate a vote, but it should be what you stand for and what you can offer your constituents.
We need to be critical about how we vote. These people hold the power for making change at our institution. They’re the ones at the front lines that can advocate for a revisal of the web filter policies, alcohol policies, campus inclusivity and much more.
Considering the Association’s main page on SVSU’s site mentions nothing about student concerns, maybe we need to direct more focus on this element. The group’s preamble mentions nothing about programming, but for many members, the biggest accomplishment for them is Battle of the Valleys.
They’re also the ones who can spend one and a half hours debating how an individual was dressed and whether or not they apologized for being late versus the content of the allocation’s presentation. They’re the ones who spearhead the events that determine how much is raised in the annual Battle of the Valleys.
Handling $130,000 is nothing to take lightly.
So when voting begins this Monday, don’t just consider which of the few applicants don’t deserve a spot as a representative, consider which of the 37 applicants do, in fact, deserve to represent the voice of the student body.