Soap Box: The lack of competition for USUSA scholarships hurts everyone


You get a scholarship, and you get a scholarship — you all get scholarships! Que Oprah Winfrey.


Candidates for 2018-2019 USUSA positions filed recently, several of them at the last minute, and it looks like we’re handing out nine free scholarships and monthly stipends. Five executive positions and four academic senate positions are unopposed, leaving those candidates to begin planning how to decorate their offices on the third floor of the TSC instead of campaigning and proving to us as students why they would make half-decent officers.

Election season at USU is fun, if you don’t mind the cold, random people showing up to your club meetings taking more time than allotted and the constant harassment from candidates either on your walk to class or now text and email blasts. Despite this fun and the valuable experience election campaigns can be for all of us, less than half the positions have any need to put in effort — will this be a prelude to their runs in office, effortless?

The collective 15 members of USUSA Executive Council and Academic Senate carry extensive influence at our university — planning events, speaking on behalf of the students to administrators, regents and legislators and manage and operate a budget well over $1 million. Hopefully those we choose, and those we have no choice concerning, are qualified and up for the task at hand.

It’s disheartening to see so many positions go uncontested. Do people not care? Have we arrived at a point where it’s okay to throw a lot of money at people without vetting them first?

USUSA is no easy job, it requires extensive time commitments and sometimes grueling work, which is why we pay them in scholarships and monthly paychecks. A lot of respect has to be given to those willing to try, but that respect is on thin ice if people don’t do their job. The ice gets thinner when candidates don’t have to prove themselves. If our officers don’t do their job and then didn’t have any challenges getting to their position, we all share a piece of that blame.

Praises be, at least all of these people have good advisors to help them along the way.

Having worked with USUSA officers and in the Student Involvement division for a few years, I’ve seen both good and not-so-good officers. I’ve made the mistake of not being well-enough informed when I went to the polls —  please don’t repeat my mistake. Go to the town halls and debates, talk to the candidates during the campaigns, ask the hard questions, ask the easy questions they may not have prepared for. Freshman to Super Seniors and grad students, your vote really does count.

Richard is a senior studying International Studies. Starbursts and Airheads are two of his favorite candies, if anyone wanted a hint.



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