Why you should (or shouldn't) care about campus elections
One looking for an answer as to why no one really cares about student government need look no further then the world that is around them. The greater American populace generally is so self concerned that the only election they will and ever try to care about just so happens to be presidential. Voter turnout declines when everyone isn't being constantly bombarded with issues or just the point of the current elections in the first place. When the mule's spinning wheel is broken and not just squeaky you will have more people willing to be committed, but outside of that we shouldn't expect more then what we will obviously get.
Now, look at our little school of roughly 25,000 students. Only 23% of the scholars attending U.N.L.V. are non-residents of Nevada. So you have 77% of our school's population that generally wouldn't live on campus nor spend more time then they would have to here unless it is on the road to a degree. With most of the attendees of our university being over the age of 25 this also separates people from their youthful urges of commitment and concern (HA!). Of course there are the sororities and fraternities still latching onto their juvenile educational social communities that they were so accustomed to in high school. Regardless, of their numbers you still have a very minimal amount of people who actually care enough to vote without being precisely told why they should.
Since the Greeks are generally the most concerned, doesn't anyone else start construing mass conspiracy theories of frat boys and sorority gals controlling our lives? I decided to ask generally uninvolved students if they shared similar fear and distrust and here's what I got.
Jaime Reddic, Architecture major doesn't really care. She says, "If I was in a sorority and I was running for office, I would expect my fellow sorors to support me." She followed with, "If the rest of the student body doesn't vote, then what can you expect?" She sums it up with, "If people have a problem with the fraternities/sororities "dominating" the elections then maybe those people should try to get more people outside of those groups to vote and then their problem will be solved."
Charles Kavon, Film major decided to talk over the heads of most of our students, by saying, "For me, politics (whether student or national) is something of an ambivalent undertaking...on the one hand, I entirely reject our student government as the product of an obscene collectivism." "I think that the Greek dominance is something to be suspected; as the Greeks inherently buy into the notion of collectivity to produce an end. I think that misses the point of things, for; the presupposition of an end and the inherent assumptions behind the nature of right action in governing produce, at least for me, a firm and vitriolic skepticism. At the same time, I am concerned as to the funding for UNLV and its uses... And I honestly have no trust in the people running things." He makes a comparison to problems he plainly sees with comparison to CCSN and then continues with, "I don't vote... I feel that it would be a symbolic testament to the absurdity of faith in making a change in the face of a system run by an elite... It is esoteric in nature; for those not driven to undertake the ardor of a politician are left on the outside. Only from within the system can one make change, and I feel that groups are thus forever stymied because it is the sense of belonging that binds a group and that perpetuates the defeat of change per the individual. I refuse to have part in such a system. Thus, I resign myself to skepticism."
The pupils of UNLV need to be told why they should care to vote in a very palpable fashion. Individuals running should think more of trying to highlight what their goals of leadership are rather then a cute little marketing slogan. Public debates should be more promoted so that more then 30 students are actually aware and attend. If attendance is increased then most of the debate wouldn't be wasted on rhetorical questions of student apathy and have more time to deal with the actual issues. As well as properly scheduled debating so that one candidate doesn't have to leave for class before presenting their discourse.
One optimistic outlook for our current dilemma is of the projected expansion of the M.SU and McDermott Complex. The new additions will be giving people a good reason to spend more time on campus and should increase student involvement on some levels. Giving more of our community a greater reason to be a part of a campus lifestyle in Las Vegas embiggens the smallest man and raises concern on how things get ran. (I am merry, I have a rhyming dictionary.)
No matter what we try in the end it is going to be the people who commit more then 50% of their lives to school that are going to be the activists. When I am sitting at home taking care of my babies, rushing to and from work, or having anything out in the real world play a major concern in my life, my gusto for who is going to make sure Rebelpalooza is going to be super-rocking isn't high on my list of priorities. The Greeks whose major social life is drenched in the college lifestyle are going to be more apt to play a part in how the school gets ran and when you break it down there is really nothing wrong with that. As long as our University attendance keeps growing along with our number of non-residents then over time we can expect a positive shift. Regardless we need to give them something worthwhile to be a part of and actually make sure that we create a nice campus community for them to join.