If this isn’t your first year at USU, chances are high that you remember USUSA elections at this time of year. While this typically marks the annual tradition of avoiding refreshing your social media apps, planning alternate routes away from the center of campus, and not making eye contact with another human when you can’t avoid the candidate alley of doom in the middle of campus, I want to challenge each of you to try something new. This year, I would challenge each of you to fully engage in the USUSA elections.
As a two-term elected USUSA officer, I have had the opportunity to witness how powerful the student voice can be at helping facilitate change on our campus. One prominent example has been the recent success of advocating for student mental health issues. Through collaboration and the hard work of student leaders, the student body, faculty, staff and administrators, this initiative has gained the attention of our state legislators and is now being addressed on every college campus in Utah. This effort will result in improvements for students.
While the success of the mental health initiative has been serendipitous in ways, the foundation of the success has come from the efforts of student leaders. By having passionate student leaders that understood their positions and understood how to leverage their office’s resources, students were able to help advance the mental health initiative.
It is in the spirit of ensuring our officers’ success for next year, that I encourage each of you to consider the following three steps as you engage in this year’s USUSA elections.
First, get to know the candidate’s platforms. At the very least, quickly read through the materials provided by the elections crew at usu.edu/ususa or go to the Utah State University Student Association Facebook page and watch the candidate videos. This will give you a good idea of what your candidate is running on and if you support their ideas.
Second, assess if these student leaders have done their homework. Many platform ideas are GREAT ideas, but are not always feasible! Additionally, many of these ideas cannot be accomplished without a lot of help from others (especially administrators!). Because of this, I would encourage you to ask candidates about their step-by-step plans at accomplishing their goals. If you fail to plan during the campaign, you are planning to fail during the one-year term.
Third, make sure that you and the student you are voting for are ready to collaborate! Reality will set in quickly after the final votes are counted and the newly elected officers will recognize that many of their ideas are much larger than themselves. This will inevitably mean that they will need you, the one that voted them into office, to help them achieve lasting change. Ask the candidates how they plan to help mobilize students to achieve their goals and if they haven’t yet thought about it, encourage them to start thinking about how they will do this!
So, take my advice, become an informed voter and go vote. Here’s how: Log on to vote.usu.edu using you A# and password.
Primary Elections- Feb. 27th, 7 a.m.— Feb. 28th, 3 p.m.
Final Elections- March 1st, 7a.m.—March 2nd, 8 p.m.
— Ty B. Aller is the Graduate Studies Senator for USUSA and a Ph.D. Student in the FCHD Department.