Kumar: May the best ticket win …

UISG elections come with lofty promises, but students deserve a ticket that will actually deliver action.


Shivansh Ahuja

Students shoot hoops on the T. Anne Cleary Walkway on Tuesday, September 26, 2017. UISG hosted tables where students could register to vote.

Michelle Kumar, Opinions Columnist

It’s that time of year again; the University of Iowa Student Government elections are right around the corner, and  your timeline is flooded with people you have never heard of promising to make student life better for you.

For most students, it’s hard to care about something that doesn’t affect them and in the end will fail to deliver on what was promised. Every year, brilliant candidates go head-to-head and “the best (or better) ticket” wins. However, in the end, it’s really not what’s best for the students.

UISG is an integral part of our campus life and acts as the voice of undergraduate students. When we vote, I think we honestly forget that, because elections have turned into popularity contests instead. The short window in which candidates are allowed to campaign forces them to snag as many votes as they can and push platforms that are more appealing than they are feasible.

UISG has passed some important legislation and provided us with amazing initiatives, such as being able to bring your reusable cup to campus vendors or making the mental-health services more accessible. These may sound like little things, but it’s the small nitty-gritty, tedious things that affect student lives the most. What UISG does is so important, and the elections fail to capture that. But if you ask most students, they don’t even know what UISG is up to unless they gravitate near that group of people.

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Unless they know someone on UISG, the group is really inaccessible to average students. Candidates know this — it’s obvious — but what’s being done to rectify this and make UISG more transparent? Platforms should include this rather than touting proposals that sound pretty on paper for the votes but will never actually happen. It’s easy to say “Join UISG then” or “Run for a position”; in reality, the system is built in a way that it’s either difficult or pointless to join for students who actually want to make a difference.

The whole election process has become a little elitist, and parties put their minorities on display as if that will somehow solve the diversity and inclusion issues that are rampant on this campus. Suddenly, they would love to meet with your organization, group, or club and talk to you about making the campus better for you because it’s only necessary to care during elections.

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Of course, the students who are running actually care about making a difference on campus. Why else would they put in hours of hard work and open themselves up to criticism? There are obviously a lot of rules and red tape with the way elections work and with UISG itself.

UISG has been able to make small, but significant, changes to make our university better. I believe the impact it has and the change it implements could be greater if students vote for candidates who will actually deliver from the get-go. This means candidates’ platforms need to actually include issues that can get done and will make day-to-day life better on campus.

It’s not glamorous to talk about making buildings more accessible and transparency in UISG or easy to include the many backgrounds we have on campus, but it’s necessary. The elections shouldn’t be about these larger-than-life promises, who knows who, or how great being on UISG looks on your résumé. It should be about the students and ensuring what’s best for them gets done.