EDITORIAL: Suck it up and vote — it’s not going to kill you

Cassidy Alexander

Photo by Mark Judson

In case you’ve missed it, it’s election season: time to vote for new representatives in Student Government, including our next president and vice president. By taking five minutes on March 7 or 8, you can make a real, tangible difference at UNF.

Historically, UNF students don’t turn out in force to vote during SG elections. In the fall, just under 1,200 students voted in the election. And in Spring 2016, the presidential candidate went uncontested and only 1,000 students turned out to vote on other ballot measures. The previous year, in spring 2015, about 3,000 students voted in the last contested presidential election.

Even with 3,000 students voting, that’s only a fraction of UNF’s total student population, which is disconcerting to say the least. Student Government holds all the power on campus — they control a budget of more than $4.5 million of students’ money.

The students in SG handle things like travel requests and parking tickets. They make policies on campus that have a real impact on your life, like making it mandatory for professors to provide scantron sheets and deciding whether or not to provide 25 free prints a semester. They also fund things like the nature trails and clubs, and help lobby for real change at the local and state level.

Look, I get it. I’m graduating this semester too. All I can think about is applying for jobs and saving enough money for a security deposit on a new apartment a week after graduation and how I may not even graduate because I can’t remember to post a freaking discussion board once a week for my online class so my professor is probably going to fail me just to teach me a lesson. I get that in the grand scheme of your life, Student Government is very much on the periphery.

It’s hard to care about something that you don’t think affects you, or that you think you don’t have time for. Fortunately for you, I’m here to tell you that everything SG does affects you, directly, and that you need to take the time to vote. Educate yourself about the two students running to be at the helm of this massive, influential organization, and offer your input on who you want deciding what to do with your money and your university.

Spinnaker has outlined the candidates’ platforms here. You can see what they had to say at the live debate last week here, and what you need to know about voting here.

I know just as well as you do that it’s hard to care sometimes. But this is an area where we just need to suck it up, do our civic (academic?) duty, and vote.

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