Year after year, The Stony Brook Press laments the lack of voter turnout in USG Elections. And despite the student life improvements that have taken place over the last few years, voter turnout stays low. Not enough people vote. Not enough people care about student life until something makes them care. And if students are voting, they’re picking the people who they’ve seen out and about campaigning, the ones who make videos with strobe lights and come up with punny names.
As a student body, we need to be better. We need to pay attention to what really matters to us as students, not whoever happens to be wittier on social media sites. Those hoping to run for USG positions will be starting up their petitioning this week, seeking out the requisite number of student signatures before they can officially be put on the ballot, and while campaigning can’t officially begin until March 31, we’ll know some of the potential candidates based on who’s passing around their clipboards.
While it’s easy to sign these petitions, or to vote for that friend of a friend who’s got a witty slogan, there are more important things to consider when deciding on our student leaders. There are even things other than the spring concert series to consider, like who we can trust to make the decisions about what clubs get what funding, who we want advocating for us when it comes to conflicts with the school administration, and who we want representing our student body in general.
USG does a lot for our student body, especially the clubs and organizations that are key parts of our lives here. We should be doing our research, we should be voting in the candidates who represent what we want to see happening with our student body.
So no, don’t sign every petition thrust into your hands. Ask questions. Read the statements of each candidate before casting your votes. We have the power to do great things and have experiences which will last us a lifetime as students here, lets make sure we put people in office that will reflect our best interests. Don’t vote for candidate because you like them, or you think they’re nice, or because your friend told was in a class with them once. Vote for the person who’s really the best leader for this campus.
Elections are still in their earliest phases right now, so now is the time to pay attention. Now is the time to be telling the people petitioning what it is that we want to see happening in our community. We as a student body need to be voicing our opinions.
When the polls open on April 7 we should know what it is that we’re looking for in student leaders, and know who it is that we feel will act in our best interest. We need to be informed voters and informed Stony Brook students, starting now.

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