Nading: GSB president gets a full ride — maybe we should pay attention to what they do


Photo: Huiling Wu/Iowa State Daily

Presidential candidates of the Government Student Body Jake Swanson and Jared Knight and their respective running mates David Bartholomew and Katie Brown talk after the debate on Tuesday, Feb 28 at 3245 room of the Memorial Union. The selection will be on March 5 and 6. 

Mackenzie Nading

Political actors, in any arena, have very important jobs. 

Although they generally earn a reputation as some of the most hated people in society, there is no denying that what they do is impactful and stressful and entails great responsibility. With correct instinct, actions and timing, great politicians can be created. Those who manage to be great deserve, as in any job, reward.

Major political leaders are usually provided good incentives for good work. Take the president of the United States: Most of us are aware of the large benefits the leader of our country receives. He gets to live an entire term free of almost any expenses. But he also works very hard in that role. He is under direct scrutiny from all citizens of the United States, not to mention the world, and they make sure he knows when they are unhappy with his decisions.

What most ISU students may not be aware of is how well-rewarded our student government leaders are as well, just like the U.S. president. And as a political science major, my instincts tell me to encourage students to be aware of and be involved in the politics that occur on campus, mainly within the Government of the Student Body.

It’s been preached to students over and over again to pay attention to what GSB does because it is our student fees with which they’re responsible for allocating. And while that’s all very true, there may be another reason students want to pay closer attention to the actions our student political leaders are taking. 

The fees each student pays every year toward GSB go to more than just spending money for clubs and organizations on campus; they also go toward a scholarship incentive for the president and vice president.

The total incentive given to Iowa State’s GSB president is $20,143.92, according to GSB’s yearly budget. This is distributed throughout different categories such as summer tuition, room and board, personal benefits, as well as both fall and spring semester tuition, room and board. The vice president receives $10,071.96, about half of what the president receives, and that reward is distributed between the same categories mentioned above. There are other members of GSB who receive close to the same reward, like the finance director, who is a part of the cabinet and appointed each year by the president themselves.

Has your mouth dropped to the floor yet? This is a hefty amount of money, and an awesome incentive for those who receive it. Each position gets virtually all or part of their tuition and room and board paid for. This $30,000 is a large reward indeed but certainly well-deserved. I’m not arguing against what the student body president and vice president get, but I believe more students need to be aware that they are getting the money.

Indeed, pay proportionate to a job is typical and expected in modern society. The job of the president and vice president of GSB are and should be no different. But what does need to be remembered is that their job in return needs to be kept in high standards and under intense scrutiny by their constituents: all of you, the students of Iowa State.

It is your money, coming from the fees you pay to GSB each semester, funding the compensation the president and vice president get for representing you each year. So pay attention to what they’re doing. They should have to work hard for that money. And the more you pay attention, the harder they are forced to work.

If you don’t like something that is happening in GSB, it’s your responsibility to speak up and take action about it. Your money should be serving the leaders that you respect and trust, but that trust can’t be built without some responsibility on the constituents’ part. When the GSB elections come again this spring, remember that those who are running are receiving much more than just the fancy title of president or vice president; they’re also receiving a scholarship to attend the same university you do.

You are paying for that scholarship, so be an informed voter and put those in office that you have properly examined and know will earn that reward. Don’t let your money go to waste; keep the president and vice president of GSB accountable and know what they are up to throughout the year.