Last week’s Student Government, Inc. elections drew 459 voters – a mark that disappointingly fails to represent a student population of 14,000 plus, but remains higher than last year’s dismal turnout of 428.
And that is without a contested presidential election.
“It wasn’t that bad of an election turnout considering last year’s election got 428 people to come out,” Vice President-elect Steven Szczesny said. This year we only had a contested election for vice president, and we still drew 459 voters.”
The increase in voter turnout is a credit to Szczesny and his FOCUS ticket, who drew the vice presidential candidate 312 votes, more than doubling the number of his two opponents’ combined totals, and outdoing SGI President Rich Masana’s 310 votes from a year ago.
“I think we had a strong campaign effort.,” Szczesny said. “Our entire ticket really helped with getting the word out about SGI elections.”
And that is exactly what Student Government, Inc. needs: campaigning and marketing.
SGI has been continually criticized for being too reclusive and for failing to inform students of their function in the University- a trend that Szczesny’s FOCUS ticket plans on changing.
“One of the things that have been promised in the past by Student Government is information tables,” Szczesny said. “I’d like to follow through with that idea. It would allow students to visit SGI executives, voice their concerns and learn more about what we do as an organization…We also want to order SGI shirts so that students can identify us at campus events.”
Szczesny admits that these ideas are a quick fix to a bigger problem, but they are steps in the right direction nonetheless.
The issue of student apathy has been discussed ad nauseum at St. John’s, and it remains a terrible problem for a campus looking to increase student activism and school spirit.
Whether President-elect John Buddenhagen, Szczesny, and the rest of their FOCUS ticket follow through on their efforts to reach out to the student body, the student population at St. John’s has to meet them half way.
After this year’s SUCCESS ticket, one which faced heavy criticism for failing to get their name out to the average St. John’s student, it’s time for a breath of fresh air to enter SGI.
Let’s hope that FOCUS’s success is not just in name only.