At 10 a.m. April 25, the polls opened for selecting the next round of candidates into Student Government at UW-Fox. This year’s available seats are for president, communications director, treasurer and 10 senate seats.
Students can cast their vote between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. across from the cafeteria where a table exhibit is set up. Detailed information about candidates and their platforms can be found at the exhibit. Voting will run until Friday.
Some might not realize that Student Government, under Wisconsin’s statute 36.09 (5), gives students the right to represent themselves. This is a great opportunity to get involved and participate in change here on campus.
Senator Alec Smith helped bring into perspective why students need to get out and vote in the election.
“We have this great opportunity in the state of Wisconsin. We are one of the few states that offer students the right under state law to represent ourselves, and if we do not exercise that right or take it for granted, it becomes useless.”
Smith goes further to communicate that students should not think of this election as an average high school organization. Unlike those, this is a real government that helps students decide what’s best for their student life.
Students need to arm themselves with their voice to vote, says Dana Sickinger, a sophomore, serving currently as senator on Student Government, explaining that this is not like the presidential elections. However, the process is just as important as voting places people into positions that affect student life on campus.
Sickinger goes more in-depth explaining that the Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee (SUFAC) is associated with Student Government and allocates where this money could best assist students. These fees are collected from all students during enrollment.
“All that money is pooled together and SUFAC budgets that money to pay for athletics, clubs, and funds the tutoring centers, anything that pertains to student life here on campus,” Sickinger said.
It is also important for people to vote, so candidates can partake in Student Government.
“If 20 people apply for positions but then no one comes and votes, then those people cannot be on Student Government. Each person needs a minimum of 25 votes to be on Student Government.”
By holding a position on Student government, one is also presented with an opportunity to work in a group setting, coming to agreements on how to best handle student affairs, budgets and other committees. Any student can attend a government meeting to observe or to make a suggestion.
Meetings are held in room 1338 every Tuesday at noon. The agenda for the week can be found on their Student Association bulletin board found across from library or the Student Association Office, which is located just to the east of the Union. All students are welcome to attend. Both Sickinger and Smith strongly agreed that hearing from students and their needs help them pass agenda that was meaningful to the students on campus.
Any student can attend a government meeting to observe or to make a suggestion.
Student Government gives undergraduates an opportunity to develop contacts that will become important in future jobs. Meetings are organized similarly to city council meetings to simulate official government meetings, say the senators.
“Get involved on this campus, if you get involve the networking and connections will come to you. I cannot speak highly enough of the opportunities that I have had to grow and mature as a student and person,” Sickinger said.
As of the April 20 nomination deadline, only one person is currently running for President and Treasurer. Six people are running for senate seats; 10 total are contested. No one is running for communications director. As in the contents of the article, this is a very important election. According to UW-Fox Valley’s election page, the president, treasurer, and communications director are paid $1,000, $1,200 and $1,100 for their role in office respectively. Collectively, the senators allocate $250,000 in student fees and decide who gets which scholarships. In a unanimous election such as this, there is no assurance of internal quality. However, voters can write in candidates.
This election may not be like the presidential elections, but here, your vote represents a greater voice. Instead of making up one in 319 million potential voters, you represent one in 1000.