Editorial: Stressing importance, power of vote

It’s easy to complain about student life. In fact, most Villanovans do so every day without a second thought. Whether it’s the quality of bands at Novafest, the rocks they pick out of shoes after walking through the Quad or the poor condition of several campus buildings, students often voice their concerns about daily life at the University.

For all this complaining, though, it’s amazing that students generally sit idly by and ignore the Student Government Association’s campaign season, which began about a month ago and concludes with the election of early next week. Students fail to realize that the first step toward implementing change begins with the vote they cast in the election. In just the past few years, SGA has pursued initiatives to remove items made in sweatshops from the University Shop, brought busses to drive students to the mall and along the Main Line, started a memorial basketball tournament and brought a video store to campus. Far from an organization whose members simply use the acronym as padding for their resumes, student government candidates are passionate about their goals and work hard to achieve them.

Despite their obvious impact on campus, only about a third of all students participate in the vote. In 2001, voter turnout reached an all-time high of 2,534. Since then it has fallen slightly. Even though student government officials hope for a large jump in interest this year, only about 100 students attended the presidential debates of last Thursday – less than two percent of the student body. This means that of the 2,500 votes typically cast, 2,400 of them are poorly researched, if at all. Even if more people vote, their time is wasted if they do not adequately decide what issues matter to them and who is best able to promote positive change.

We urge students to take this coming week’s elections seriously. Instead of not bothering to vote – a process which takes less than a minute thanks to the online voting system – students should invest 15 minutes or so reading the platform information provided by each candidate. The Villanovan publishes such information each year in its campaign pullout to help you make an informed decision on Monday. Read this information, and when the candidates knock on your door you will be prepared to ask questions about the issues that matter to you instead of just voting for the friend, the pretty face or the guy from your fraternity. The future of student life at Villanova is far too important to waste on such trivialities.

After all, we’ve got a lot to complain about. Be responsible and select someone who will listen and be able to change student life.