Week 1 of spring quarter is a lot to handle. People hurry by on bikes to shop classes at every hour, the weather is typically beautiful and old friends pop out of abroad experiences or the shell of winter quarter. However, these first two weeks of spring quarter are also home to the flyers and Facebook posts that flood the internet each campaign season. Amidst all this enthusiasm, there lies an underlying skepticism. And whether it be ASSU Executive slates, ASSU Senate or the class presidency, year after year, it’s rare to hear the average student state that their lives have been significantly impacted by their student leadership.
Students have noticed. As they go further along their Stanford careers, they vote less and less often. So, while a sect of the population remains very passionate about student government, the rest often resides in apathy, not convinced in the efficacy of the ASSU. As a result, we certainly have an environment where good, driven people run for government positions with great intentions. Yet at the end of the day, students don’t truly expect a whole lot out of their candidates, perhaps as a consequence of the administration or simply a consequence of the nature of Stanford, where it is often tough to find time to truly look for change.
This low standard is such a shame. Your class presidents and your representatives can and should do so much more to build community and to make each and every student feel a part of something. The position has so much to offer, but we as students have to choose and run for these roles.
Ultimately we do have a choice. We can choose to demand more from our officials in elections, we can choose to consciously build connections and community, and we can choose to make our class an incredible community, where no one feels left out.
With this in mind, I am in the midst of running for senior class president with a group of students hailing from FroSoCo to Kappa Kappa Gamma to build a community that rallies together to positively impact our outside community and cheers on each other at athletics and arts events. Building a community that does this, one that takes care of each other and works their butt off to listen to their people, is difficult and much easier said than done. But after listening to so many Stanford students explain how their favorite moments revolve around community, it’s clear to me that this community building is something to work hard for.
So ultimately, when you log onto your ASSU Election Poll on April 13th, take a close look at the platforms. See if they will truly make your next year better. Vote accordingly, and then hold those people accountable. With regard to building community: we all have a choice — stick with the status quo or choose to eschew the typically low voting stats and be heard. On April 13, I hope we choose to be heard.
Contact Kyle D’Souza at kvdsouza ‘at’ stanford.edu.