Face of the students

SGA elections end Friday, a consequential day for the student body. As with any election, the SGA elections will feature a large percentage of students who will not vote. Why? These students don’t see the elections as meaningful to them.

It’s not that the issues aren’t important. Who doesn’t want the shuttles to run on time, and who wouldn’t like more variety in Dining Services’ food? The issues affect students universally, and there’s certainly a lot of room for improvement. The problem is that many issues go unsolved.

President Bryan Wagner and Vice President Rob Dormish campaigned on an extensive platform that included extending hours in the library, dining areas and fitness centers; gaining more tickets to Wachovia Center basketball games; and increasing student parking.

The duo has served students well but was unable to make all of the changes they had promised. What Wagner and Dormish did accomplish, however, is establish leadership within SGA. They became visible to the student body and were approachable to students who had concerns.

This is why the upcoming election matters. Cynicism aside, it’s hard to manifest change at a university, especially while also taking a full load of classes. What matters more than specific policy changes, then, is the leadership that candidates can provide. Wagner and Dormish are the first students who Father Peter goes to when he has a question or wants to gauge student opinion.

So, although many students comment that SGA “does nothing,” this is far from the case.

Friday’s election, then, is a choice of who to be the face of the student body. Candidates need to understand that their platforms, while important, are almost secondary to overall leadership responsibility.

At Wednesday’s debate, the candidates were asked what the most immediate action is that they would take if they won the election. Andrew Eby, the presidential candidate of the Eby/Kelly Maguire ticket, said that he would “open up an excel spreadsheet” and list all issues of concern so that he could keep track of the issues and assign committees. He displayed that his ticket understands both how to make change and how to organize a major organization like SGA.

Dan Gelwicks and Spencer Curtis also showed that have an impressive understanding of the offices they are seeking. Gelwicks remarked that the positions carry with them an “unbelievable amount of weight,” a comment that we wholeheartedly agree with.

The third ticket, Miggy Gutierrez and Andrew Pagliara, displayed a limited understanding of the magnitude of the positions, at least at the debate.

As students cast their ballots on Thursday and Friday, they should remember that the candidates they elect would foremost be representatives of the student body, not students with time to achieve copious goals. Communication and accurate portrayal of student concerns to the administration are areas for improvement so that the candidates Villanova students elect truly represent the student body.