Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: Students should pay more attention to IUSG. Start by voting next week.

<p>The IU Student Government office is located in the Student Activities Tower of the Indiana Memorial Union. </p>

The IU Student Government office is located in the Student Activities Tower of the Indiana Memorial Union.

Students should be paying attention to every level of government, and that includes student government. It’s often easier for individuals to make a bigger difference in local government, and student government is about as local as it gets.

The presidential election for IU Student Government will take place April 15-16, so now is a great time to get started. 

Students should be informed and involved because IUSG uses their money and acts on their behalf. The more students are invested, the more power IUSG has to advocate for students. 

Student government is funded by mandatory student activity fees, according to the IUSG website. Students should note how IUSG spends its fee money so they can hold their representatives accountable.

IUSG donated $100,000 last month to the on-campus food pantry Crimson Cupboard and students who need assistance covering essential expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the right thing to do. IUSG should always be encouraged to protect vulnerable students during a crisis. 

One of IUSG’s biggest strengths is its ability to access resources beyond its budget. IUSG can get special meetings with administrators and government representatives. If IUSG representatives meet with different student groups, they can represent their interests or connect them directly with the resources. 

“Overall, I think our philosophy comes down to the idea that if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu, and we want to make sure that all students are given that place at the table and that no student’s rights are up for grabs,” said Madeline Garcia, the presidential candidate for the Defy ticket. 

Both tickets for the upcoming IUSG presidential election have made outreach a priority, which could mark an important turning point for IUSG. 

“Frankly, as IUSG stands, most students don’t know what it is,” said Rachel Aranyi, the presidential candidate for the Inspire ticket. “IUSG hasn’t done a good job of communicating how we can help the student body.”

This not only causes students to miss out on opportunities that IUSG offers, but it also weakens the organization. If IUSG is trying to advocate for a new policy and administrators are not receptive, they can demonstrate student support to convince administration to make a change. Taking a few seconds to respond to a survey or sign a petition increases the likelihood that IUSG will be able to change the university for the better. 

IUSG released a petition in February to eliminate the schedule change fee for classes, and it now has more than 2,000 signatures. IUSG is also able to collect data about the issues students care about through surveys sent to students’ IU emails. This year, different surveys have received anywhere from 350 to more than 1,000 responses, Garcia said. Responding to surveys gives IUSG a more accurate idea of what students care about, in addition to providing leverage with the administration. 

Both presidential candidates indicated their willingness to organize protests if other methods were not working. IUSG was famous for its largest student protests decades ago. A large number of students would need to be actively involved in order for any attempts at collective action to be successful. Students can’t be apathetic if they want the benefits of progressive changes. 

IUSG can tackle many issues that students face. Defy is advocating for policies such as clarifying the definition of consent and providing mandatory diversity training for all IU staff, and Inspire has plans that include creating a leadership council with student organizations on campus and increasing meal plan transparency. 

Both presidential tickets are running on robust platforms that cover many more issues than the aforementioned. If students care about these issues, they should care about IUSG, too. 

Arianna Hoye, the vice presidential candidate for Defy, emphasizes that you don't need to major in law and public policy to get involved in IUSG.

“Everyone should at least be talking to IUSG. It has a lot to offer, it just needs to be accessible for everyone,” Hoye said. 

IUSG is able to make many tangible improvements to IU, but they can’t do it all on their own. They need the support of students. The first step is voting next week. 

Allyson McBride (she/her) is a sophomore studying English and political science. She is the director of outreach and diversity for College Democrats at IU.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 Indiana Daily Student