By Rebekah Comerford
It’s election time for student government at Loyola University Chicago.
But students seem largely unaware of the work of the Unified Student Government Association, according to an informal survey conducted on campus as students vote for student government officers.
Despite election fliers pasted conspicuously throughout campus for today’s election, few know what services the student government actually provide, and 100 percent agree that the student body in general is ignorant of student government’s presence beyond sponsorship of events.
“We had no idea a lot of the things we have on campus and think are really cool, USGA started,” said Katie Cotsakos, 19, a sophomore history and classical civilisation major.
Those who are aware of student government’ believe it enhances student life greatly beyond just allocating funds for student activities.
“They’re really important because they connect the student body with the administration, giving us a voice,” said Lena Asfour, 21, a senior journalism major. “Every week, USGA has a senate meeting in which you can go and state your case if something is happening on campus that you don’t approve of.”
When questioned about their lack of knowledge, most students espoused new marketing campaigns such as a stronger Internet presence and email updates and events beyond election fliers to raise awareness of the group’s activities.
“They need more vocal communication” said first time voter, Joe Tomaso, 22, a senior in management. “If they’re anything like me; they just see it, then it’s out of sight out of mind kinda thing.”
Speaking of recent achievements by the student government, particularly the introduction of Rambler Bucks outside campus, presidential nominee Sean Anderson, 18, a freshman in political science and international business, believes communication is to blame for the lack of recognition.
“If the student government actually does something and then publicizes what we do, then students will realize what’s happening on campus.. They have to do something to make them realise we exist,” Anderson said.
This lack of information appears to have affected seniors as all questioned believed they were ineligible to vote for this year’s election. However, they remained optimistic for the ballot email to come.
“If I get the email, I will definitely vote” said Asfour.
Contrary to last year’s poor voting figures, 80 percent polled promise to click on the ballot link today with issues such as cuts in the student activities fund, diversity, tuition and Loyola’s reimagining programme weighing heavy on their minds.
However some are cynical about the difference the new government will make.
“I have a hard time believing that someone I vote for is gonna influence my tuition because Loyola’s just gonna raise it every year no matter what,” said Melissa Cochrane, 22, a senior nursing student. “They’ve raised it every year I’ve been here. ”
Voting lasts today and tomorrow, be sure to vote for your student government by clicking on the ballot email in your student account.
To find out more about the presidential candidates, check out this weeks issue of The Phoenix.