With Student Government Union (SGU) elections rapidly approaching, students will be looking to a few new faces for assistance and guidance. But just what do the members of SGU do for Saint Leo and how does the election process work?
The sole purpose of the SGU is to, “To serve as a voice of the student body” said Edson O’Neale, Director of Student Activities and the advisor for SGU.
Like a regular Government, the Student Government Union is used to maintain order and organize school events and functions. These functions are detrimental to the mechanics and livelihood of the University Campus. The board consists of five members: President, Vice President of Operations, Vice President of Finance, The Vice President of Activities, and Vice President of Communication Management.
The President of SGU is usually the one who oversees the SGU board, as well as its functions and responsibilities. This positions may seem like piece of cake, but all student happiness and comfort lies with this one individual.
Similar to the President, the VP of Operations does not have an easy task either. During the fall semester, new senates, representing each year group, are voted for by the students. These senates seemingly have a closer relationship to their year group and would usually present ideas of improving conditions for Saint Leo’s Students. The VP of Operations has to oversee this senate and organize the Leadership conference for the clubs and organizations on campus.
Money is a sensitive topic, especially when it comes to college students. They want to ensure that they get their value for their money. The VP of Finance has the responsibility of handling the SGU budget and allocations for each club and organization. By allocating funds to these clubs, students benefit from the club’s programs and even go to conferences within or out of the state.
The VP of Activities is the planner in the SGU body. This individual plans all SGU events and is usually proactive at Bingo, which is a big monthly event on campus.
The VP of Communication acts as the secretary and social media manager in one. They record all minuteswithin an SGU meeting and run the SGU’s social media.
These positions, although powerful, come with great responsibility. And though this is the case, it was shocking when only fifteen people applied for the position last year.
“Persons who might have wanted to apply had a lack of confidence or simply because they knew they weren’t as active in school as they ought to be,” explained O’Neale.
Those determined and highly involved candidates would decide to apply because a position on the board fits well with their majors and careers. Running and staying motivated to run is .something completely left up to the dedication from the person running for the position.
This year’s election process will work similarly to the one put into effect last year. In the week of elections, each student was given a personal username and password to vote for their candidate. In previous years, the election had been rigged, resulting in the accused being expelled from both the election and the University. The voting process was then changed to what it is now, with each individual only given one chance to vote for their choice.
In some instances, there were individuals who did not receive their personal username and password to vote. As O’Neale said, this was probably due to “late registrations of that individual, which they could have simply emailed me so I could create and send them their personal username and password.”
The atmosphere intensifies as it gets closer and closer to the elections. Campaign strategies are essential in order for each nominee to vie for and successfully win the hearts of the student body. In past elections, candidate meet and greets with students proved to be an effective campaign method. Some candidates will give out fliers and take their platform to social media. Others get a bit more artsy by writing “Vote for me” along the campus sidewalks in chalk.
Ultimately, it is the students who hold the key to forming an effective SGU board. It is they who decide the best candidates for the job; those who seem most apt to lend a helping hand where it is needed.
SGU elections will take place on Feb. 14. Be prepared students, because every vote matters.