In last week’s Campus Times, there was a front page article which mentioned the lack of candidates for the ASF program in previous years [“Election offers first choice in 3 years,” March 26]. While there is an opposition candidate for the position of president this year, further reading would show that there is consistently low participation in ASF in general, particularly by the student body. The first question that comes to mind is one which is constantly asked by marketing professor Janis Dietz – What is the customer’s perception of the problem, and how can you fix that?
In my three years here at ULV, I have noticed a few things about ASF. Although I have never actually been involved in it, it is my perception as a student of the general body that ASF is “lame” (for lack of better terminology) and really doesn’t do much. Not only do I see a lack of students desiring to get involved in the body that represents them, but for the most part, students don’t appreciate those who do represent them. I walk around on campus and see signs suggesting who I should vote for to represent me in various ASF offices. In reality, I have yet to vote in any election on campus (whether it be for homecoming king or queen, ASF elections, or anything of that matter). The irony is that I consider myself a politically-savvy student in general. So my lack of caring for my own student government at school raises red flags.
Some may recall a letter to the editor I wrote a few weeks back which was targeted at apathetic voters here on campus. And while this essentially focuses on the same topic, I believe the blame lays somewhere else in this situation. This time I don’t believe it’s the lack of encouragement from peers to get involved in the democratic process. I believe it to be more in the hands of ASF itself.
If someone were to ask me, “Who is ASF, and what do they do for me,” my response would simply be, “Oh, they’re our student government, and aside from free bowling once a semester, I don’t know what they do for me.” I’m sure they do accomplish a lot more than free bowling, but in my eyes, I don’t see it.
Perhaps ASF should take some action to actually involve their student body in the activities that they engage in on a regular basis. I wouldn’t have the slightest idea when ASF holds meetings or how I could get involved in contacting ASF officials. This is a problem. While I am only one of 1,500-plus students on this campus, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only student with this view of ASF.
So as this letter goes into the inbox of the editor and the week of elections pass, I will abstain from voting for any person in any position until ASF can prove to me that they truly are representative of the student body.
I would be interested to see exactly how many students voted not only in this election, but in previous elections. My guess is that it is substantially lower than the 35 percent voter turn out that is routinely seen for the “real” elections every November.