Campus Politics: Getting Involved with Student Government
If you’re an avid politics fan, like to connect and communicate with others, and appreciate the work that goes into a good campaign, student government is the thing for you. Here’s some information about my personal experience as a student representative, and why I think you should consider running, too.
First of all, I want to clarify that I am speaking from my own experience. I was in student council in high school, and I will be a director on student government in my second year of university (which begins in the fall). I don’t know what schools you all go to or the way they handle student representation, so the advice I give you may not necessarily apply in your case.
That being said, in my opinion, student government (council, advisory, etc.) is a valuable experience. You get to collaborate with like-minded peers, as well as represent the interests of your fellow students. You will likely take on a lot of responsibility, whether it is to plan events, fill out paperwork, or communicate with upper-years, teachers, or administration representatives. It can be stressful and it’s certainly a lot of work. But overall, I found it to be a greatly rewarding experience.
The eligibility for a student government seat varies depending on the institution, and your respective guidance office or registrar can provide you with more information. However, seats are almost always elected, which means you have to be voted in by your fellow peers. There is typically a campaigning period, during which you can put up posters, distribute campaign materials, make speeches, and so on, in order to convince your constituents that you are the right person for the job.
If you are thinking of running for a position, you have to be prepared to commit. Not only does campaigning take a lot of effort (you’ve never known true exhaustion if you haven’t stayed up all night cutting out flyers), but the job itself is also very demanding. Of course, your responsibilities depend on your position, but it goes without saying that you’ll have to work hard in order to do your job properly.
The thing is, though, in my personal experience, it was all worth it. Regardless of how hard I had to work, the effect my efforts had on the student body was evident. As a representative, you are responsible for ensuring that the needs of your peers are met. Even if the scope of your powers seems limited, you actually have the opportunity to make student life better in some way. For me, that was the most rewarding part of the experience, and I am sure that I will get to do the same kind of work next year as well.
If you’re looking to make a change, no matter how small it may seem, this is one of the ways you can do it. Consider running this year and put your hard work to good use.