Student government in the shadow of voter apathy

Student government in the shadow of voter apathy

North Wind Staff

Right now there is a resounding boom of people recognizing the power of their vote and their voice across the United States. Whether it’s with participation in elections, protests or rallies, people are being inspired to fight for their beliefs and their right to have those beliefs. This year has already seen the biggest one-day protest in U.S. history with the Women’s March across the nation.

One would expect that trend to follow at the college level, but that’s not always the case.

Despite often being the first time that young people have the power to cast a vote, students often do not recognize that being involved at a campus level is just as important as the national level. Too often students do not see the point in voting in student government, or even the power of actually running for a position.

This is incredibly detrimental when it comes to decision making on campus. Without a strong and supported student government, Wildcats no longer have a cohesive voice to speak for them. Best interests of the students get lost when students no longer care to vote.

There are a lot of changes happening at NMU right now and it is imperative for us to be involved in these decisions, and ASNMU is one of the most effective ways to do this. But students absolutely need to be involved to utilize this resource and make it effective.

Students need to run and compete for positions. Students need to be able to vote for people that they believe will be the best candidate. The process needs to be more than one person filling out an application and receiving a position.

Our votes that often blur into large totals during national elections have more weight at a smaller scale, and one vote can truly make a difference. But for the past handful of years, student turnout for ASNMU elections has been going down. In 2016 there was a mere 208 votes across all of NMU, which is not enough to even fill Jamrich 1100 halfway.

Wildcats across campus need to be involved in their student government for the betterment of current and future students. It is unwise to wear blinders to politics of any kind and ignore what’s going on around us, especially when we can easily get involved at a student level and make a difference.