By HASSAN ABDELHALIM
Each week this past year I picked up the Bullet to read about how SGA could, needs, and refuses to do more to help the student body. Even when I was approached about an article regarding when elections would take place, who was running, and the new rule changes, there were about 5 lines on the changes and still room to squeeze in the 5 quotes about how SGA is invisible. The quotes alleged the SGA was nothing more than a grandiose self-righteous exercise for the kids who needed more attention and popularity after high school.
Everyone on campus is a member of SGA. As a campus, we vote to elect representative leaders to administer the honor code, judicial system, to create rules for how we govern ourselves, to maintain the standards of UMW, and work in tandem with the administrators on policy issues.
These leaders take their responsibilities seriously and our representative titles do not make us more special than a student going to soccer practice three nights a week. The leaders are not any more special than the club president that holds weekly meetings or puts on improve shows in Combs, the Finance Committee member spending their Sunday balancing budgets, or the kid stuck in Jepson until 1 a.m. working on a lab.
SGA works to allow UMW students to remain active and busy, excelling as the type of people that make UMW the special institution that it is. While some of us may choose to invest our free time getting the Administration to keep Jepson open later, or allow student more hours to use the turf fields for free recreation, it doesn’t make us special or change anything. Rather, it’s just how we choose to spend our free time. Ultimately, the little things add up and can positively improve the UMW experience for everyone that goes here and will come after as well.
You don’t see SGA and other equally important and independent aspects of the student-run representative organizations on this campus because you aren’t supposed to. You’re not going to walk into a Student Senator wearing a full suit and lapel pin on campus walk, you aren’t going to run into an Honor representative walking through a classroom of test-takers with a whistle, you’re not going to see a Finance Committee member in OSACS counting money.
It’s not about the marketing strategy of our groups, but the substance. You will see lights on Sunken Road and real blue lights to make students feels safer. You will see free stuff at Homecoming. You will have opportunities to get involved. Think about what you want from UMW and tell your student leaders. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised about how responsive everyone here at UMW is. They welcome the challenges of constantly getting better. I wish everyone involved, and soon-to-be-involved, in everything UMW has to offer, the best of luck next year. To those departing, I hope you find comfort in knowing that you guys indeed left it better than you found it.