Posted: Student leaders needed

By Staff Editorial

To make a difference. For most of us, that’s why we are going to college; that’s why we put up with the tuition rates, the hard work and the parking. Don’t we all set out with the intention to make a difference, or do we just say it to feel better about ourselves and then pass up opportunities to do so?

It seems that way, considering Oakland University Student Congress extended the deadline for applications for student body elections to Monday, Feb. 16, days after the last required orientation for all applicants — Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 11-13. The Oakland Post reported that Jennifer Doptis, head of the elections committee, said the deadline was extended to get more applicants.

There are 25 elected positions — including the coveted vice president and president positions, as well as 23 legislator positions — to be filled by student vote come the end of March. Many of the legislative positions are uncontested, according to Student Body President Dan Evola.

Congress members have said that the reason for the deadline extension is that bylaws prohibit formal campaigning this early anyway, and at press time have not confirmed the number of students running for office. But it’s a given. The Oakland Post will be the first one to admit that it extended the deadline for the Best of 2008 surveys on to allow more time for additional students to respond and enter to win a Nintendo Wii.

Maybe there isn’t enough public awareness about our need as a student body to have somebody who is accountable working for us. While legislators are unpaid positions, executive board positions are some of the best paid student employment on campus, and that money comes from our student activities fees.

The more people we have competing for the positions, the more likely we are to have a strong student government. Lazy campaigning, unheated debates and minimal competition don’t just make for really boring newspapers, they do little to sharpen the wits of the candidates.

OU is steadily growing with fall enrollment at its highest ever, so where are all the applicants? Maybe students aren’t applying because they don’t want to be a mayor or a senator some day. But leaders come from the soccer field, from the concert stage and sometimes from seemingly out of nowhere. Don’t let your major or your pipe dream discourage you; being in student government can do more for you than learning how to pass legislation and order paper.

The networking is limitless; imagine having a personal recommendation letter from Oakland University President Dr. Gary Russi. The decisions being made in that office have an influence on the entire campus and potentially every student’s college experience. This semester alone, there is $13,050 in uncategorized funds available for legislative initiatives made by OUSC members.

These positions are also a way to have your voice heard and to give a voice to your fellow students. It’s one of the few ways a student can have such an influence on new initiatives and to leave behind a legacy that may affect future generations of Grizzlies.

There is no good enough reason for members of such a kick-ass-and-take-names generation to miss out on a chance of a lifetime.