Editorial: Pay attention to Student Government


Kennedy DeRaedt/Iowa State Daily

Student Government hosted a town hall meeting in the Multicultural Center in the Memorial Union on April  27.

Editorial Board

Last week Iowa State’s Student Government heard updates from the Diversity and Inclusion Office, supported an increase in student fees for the Memorial Union and approved criteria for an Excellence Fund.

Yet, not more than 10 students who aren’t a part of Student Government were in attendance. And the Facebook Live video has less than 250 views at the start of this week (there’s no way to know if those views are from current students).

Similarly, the town hall hosted last week also yielded a low turnout and the first meeting of the year, where Interim President Ben Allen spoke, was also poorly attended by students.  

This is troubling.

In part, it is Student Government’s job to reach out to students to get them involved and in various ways they’ve made efforts to do more student outreach. It is essential that the members, who have more access to administration and often sit on various university committees, help get students involved with major issues impacting the community.

Likewise, representatives need to regularly meet with and hear from their constituents. The organization should put more effort into making students aware of upcoming agenda items and events they will be hosting. Significant efforts have been made, such as live streaming Senate meetings, but more communication is still necessary.

However, it is ultimately on the students to pay attention to Student Government. If not for a desire to leave campus better than when you got here, care about Student Government because its members are allotted a portion of your student fees and advocate on behalf of students.

Cody West, student government president, has a desire to get more students to care about campus now, but also for the future.

If you are someone who takes pride in this university, you should care about what we do now and what we leave behind for future Cyclones. And if you are someone who doesn’t take pride in this university, you should make efforts to create a better campus.

It’s unfortunate that many students only pay attention to Student Government when they are discussing a very controversial topic or when their club is up for funding. Just this year, members of the Student Government across the three branches have discussed or advocated on behalf of students regarding issues ranging from security cameras in Campustown, tuition increases, inclusion on campus, mental health awareness and sustainability.

These issues matter and you should be involved.

Like in many organizations, there are certainly members of the Student Government who are less active than other members. The difference is that these members are elected to represent all of us, spend our money and advocate on our behalf. However, it’s impossible to hold these members accountable or offer feedback on issues you may well care about if you don’t pay attention to what the organization is doing.

And if you think Student Government can do better, then that’s even more reason to get involved.

How to get involved

  • Know who your legislators are. Talk to those members representing you in the executive branch.

  • Come speak during open forum at the Senate meeting, held each Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union.

  • Follow Student Government on Twitter and Facebook. You can even tune into Senate meetings via their Facebook Live feed.

  • Follow the Daily’s Student Government reporter, Alex Connor, for updates about the organization.