ASCMC election season is one of the most exciting times of the year for me. From the earliest rumors of who is running, to the signing of petitions, to cheesy, pun-filled campaign slogans that inundate our news feeds. Everything through the final opportunity to address the student body at Monday night snack is quick, intense, and captivating, giving us our own little version of a politician-filled D.C.
Despite the excitement that I feel, however, I’ve realized that not everyone finds the student government elections very substantial or engaging. I don’t expect everyone to have read every Forum statement or Golden Antlers parody, or have participated in stimulating debate about each candidate over brunch. But I think that our student body should take the time to form an opinion — any opinion — and exercise his or her right to vote.
I’m sometimes disappointed in the casual indifference many students have towards the election and voting process. The online voting this year obliterates any excuse of not wanting to walk “all the way to Collins” on Election Day, but I fear that some students will still abstain from taking thirty seconds to fill out the ballot because they feel that the elections don’t matter. Even if students claim they have no strong feelings toward any particular candidate, they can educate themselves by taking ten minutes to peruse candidates’ Facebooks or campus newspapers’ Twitters.
A large part of what makes CMC such a beloved institution is the ability its students have to control and contribute to their college experience. Whether this is in the form of having access to nearly any class or major, doing substantial research at an institute, or contributing to themes for parties, CMC students have ultimate power to let their voice be heard.
This privilege, however, comes with a sense of entitlement when things do not go our way. We are all aware of how great our campus can be, so when our expectations are not met, we are more inclined to voice these criticisms. But those who criticize the party scene or availability of study spaces had better not be those refraining from voting.
We have the power to be proactive. We can take advantage of the fact that we elect who represents us on the executive board, and in interactions with the administration. What makes this process even more effective and personal is that the students we elect to ASCMC are fellow students, representing our very small community. They have the power to help influence our day-to-day life and they do so in our best interests because they’re our friends.
This time last year, I walked around campus, telling my friends and classmates to remember to stop by Collins and vote for me for junior class president. Election results came in and I saw I had lost by about 15 votes. For the next few days, I was consistently disappointed by peers who told me that they had forgotten to vote, or didn’t think their vote would make a difference.
Now, there is not a single negative thing I could say about Maddie Hall — I think that she ran a great campaign and stepped up as a leader for our class and for the school. But in the spirit of self-improvement, I wish I had known that every vote counts when I watched people casually passing the voting stand. So, I’m spreading the message on to you. Only 115 out of over 300 members of the class of 2014 managed to stop by Collins and fill out a ballot that day, and only 466 out of about 1200 total students voted on the school-wide positions. We are better than that, CMC. We all have opinions and should take advantage of the fact that we can choose elected officials who will listen.