Certain components essential to the function of our campus are hard not to see: Sodexo, the blue buses, interminable construction and our friendly University Police Department. As popular — or unpopular — as some of these programs may be, our school would certainly be for the worse without them.
As mediocre as Sodexo food may be and as unreliable as our buses are, they’re vital to our campus, and we know it. But there’s another component of this school that is just as essential — or even more so — to the functioning of our campus that often escapes notice: the Student Association. It is the engine that drives much of the infrastructure and entertainment, from the OCCT to funding student groups to procuring the high-profile performers who perform here. Yet somehow, the average student is unaware of just who the SA is and what exactly it is that they do.
The school year is just now kicking into full swing, so it’s too early to pass any serious judgement on what the SA has accomplished. But we can say this much: the Association needs to communicate its mission. It’s a group by the students and for the students, and a crucial part of that is the student body being aware of that fact. At a meeting on Thursday night, many students voiced confusion about what role the SA fulfills and how it operates. That is a problem.
There are two main ways the Student Association can increase its profile. First, take credit for its accomplishments. The SA secured Afrojack for this semester’s concert. Publicize that. The accomplishments don’t even have to be that high-profile. They can be things as simple as increasing bus routes or frequency, or helping fund the creation of a new student group.
Regardless of how big or small the project is, without the SA it wouldn’t have happened. Students should know that.
The SA has a website, but the most recent post on the home page is from August. It has a Facebook page, but no relevant information can be found there either.
Both of these are resources that can and should be taken advantage of. Students will surely take notice, appreciate it and want to participate. The key to good government is making the governed feel like they, too, can make a difference. Binghamton is full of bright young people — imagine how much better this campus could be if more of them knew and wanted to be involved in the organization that makes it better.
That brings us to the second way the SA can increase its profile: publicizing ways in which students can see it and interact with it.
Whether this is offering online polls, tabling or hosting events on the Peace Quad where students can meet SA members and hear about what they do, there needs to be more of a chance for students to catch a glimpse of the organization that decides so much of what happens on this campus.
The SA has never been outstanding at publicity. It’s not as if this SA E-Board is particularly bad. Rather, it has ample time in the semester to improve. We have confidence it can. Nothing but good things can come out of it. As it stands now, the SA only gets publicity when it makes a mistake or when something indirectly related to it suffers a setback.
With students more aware of all the things the Association does right, they’ll be less likely to bash it. And with students more aware of how, simply by becoming an SA representative, they can markedly improve their campus and community, they’ll surely be more inclined to get involved.
We have high hopes for the good things the Association is capable of this year. We just hope it makes an increased effort to let the campus in on all they’re doing.