Student council this ain’t…
What can student government do for you? Time and time again, studies have shown that students who are somehow engaged on campus are more likely to graduate. One great way to be directly involved on campus is student government.
HSC blog sat down and talked with Desmond Miller, the sitting student body president. Miller, Flint senior, has been involved with government at EMU almost since he started. “It goes back to Fajita Fest. I talked with the president at the time and he encouraged me to become a senator. And I’ve been here ever since.” Miller spent two years as a student senator before becoming vice president and eventually president through the 2014-15 school year.
“Provide a seat at the table”
But what does student government actually do? Miller described it as “a way for students to have a seat at the table. We want to be a powerful voice for students. I am accountable to you, the students.” Describing his monthly meetings with the president and provost of the university, Miller added, “I’m treated as an equal. There isn’t a strict hierarchy, I’m certainly not reporting to them. I come on equal terms as a representative of students as a whole.”
Student government may sound like a great idealistic body in principle, but there are definitely tangible results that anyone on campus can see. Miller’s government has lobbied and succeeded in getting expanded hours for the library, which will soon be open 24 hours, as well as keeping the Rec/IM open until midnight, so that those with late classes still have time to work out. Furthermore, you can expect other changes at the Snow Health Center, where an increased budget means immediate HIV/STI testing. It will take minutes instead of days. Also in the works is a plan to give all students who live on campus 5-6 guest passes for parking.
That is all work to be done, but Miller was proud of accomplishments made over the last couple years as well. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment was the installation of wifi in the Towers. “As a resident of the towers, I wasn’t happy when they said we might get wifi in 2016. With student government we lobbied to speed up the time table and installation was complete at the start of this term.” This is certainly a convenience all residents will be thankful for.
Student government is also involved in some off campus issues. For example, this year they will be pleased to host a major congressional debate between Debbie Dingle and Terry Bowman, both running for the US House seat for Michigan’s 12th district. While events like this may lead you to belive that student government is just like House of Cards, politics takes a back seat here. Miller was adamant that, “you don’t have to be a political junkie. We are nonpartisan here, and it doesn’t matter where you fall on the spectrum, we are all about helping students and making sure they have an advocate at the table when decisions are made.”
“Where do I sign up?
So how do you get involved? There a couple of different ways. The easiest would be to simply apply to be a senator. As of this writing there were 6 positions available. To join the Senate, a simple form must be obtained from the student government offices on the 3rd floor of the student center and returned with 50 signatures. Then all that is needed is a simple vote of Senate approval and you are in until the elections in March. Alternatively, you could stand for election in March, a process that is pretty similar. And that is at the most basic, almost all members of the e-board are elected as senators first. The only non-elected members of student government are the advisors that the president hires as he sees fit and are then confirmed by the Senate.
So if you are interested in helping to improve your school environment and making a difference in your education student government might be for you. Even if you simply have a concern, student government is there to help!
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