Rose Hill’s USG election opens Wednesday and closes Friday — but almost every race has already been decided.
Seven of the nine executive board races are uncontested, and five senate positions remain completely unoccupied. Plus, seven students who could have run for reelection decided not to. (That level of disinterest in student government has not been seen at Rose Hill in years!)
Still, there are two important races that students will have the opportunity to determine this week.
Based on their proven experience and plans for the future, I strongly urge students to vote Thomas Roemer for vice president of Finance and TJ Strazzeri for vice president of Communications.
Both of these candidates, current USG reps, have consistently demonstrated their tireless work ethic and passion for serving students.
“I understand the procedures of the committee better than any other candidate and am the most experienced candidate running for this position,” Roemer said in his platform.
He has been a member of the budget committee for the past three years.
“I will work to organize more social events on campus, including parties co-sponsored by different university clubs and organizations,” Roemer said. “I will always strive to listen to the needs of any Fordham student and to make myself accessible by phone or e-mail to every member of the Fordham Community so their needs may be heard.”
Roemer is part of the team of students who valiantly attempted to bring a gubernatorial — and then a presidential — debate to campus.
The budget process has become more transparent in recent years, but I would encourage Roemer to make it even more transparent. Aside from online budget packet instructions, connect with club leaders on a personal level. Be proactive about explaining where school funding is going and why.
Strazzeri, while only a freshman, has quickly established himself as a rising star within USG. He has spent most of the year trying to get dogs on campus during finals week. It remains unclear whether his efforts will ultimately pay off (though CAB has already done this in previous years). Still, Strazzeri has proven himself to be a likable student leader, and a strong communicator.
If USG hopes to bolster its image on campus, the vice president of Communications will be an important role to fill. I would encourage Strazzeri to embrace campus media and consistently target students on social media. Forget cheap incentives (i.e. the 300th follower will win a gift certificate), simply provide content that is useful to students and strengthens the USG brand. Consistency is key. Put some budget money toward sponsored posts. (If Fordham Daily can do it, USG can do it.)
The unchallenged bids seen in this year’s USG election certainly take pressure off candidates — Phew, the résumé item has been secured! — but they are ultimately detrimental to the future development of USG. With unchallenged candidates, ideas quickly get stale, perspectives remain uniform and healthy debates about issues important to students are inevitably lost. The role of student government at Fordham — THE ultimate link between administrators and students — remains absolutely vital.
For an organization that has worked hard this year to infiltrate the campus culture, this election is a clear signal that something just isn’t working. (Perhaps it’s just an off-year?) USG’s next administration, in addition to focusing on campus sexual assault and handicap accessibility, must work creatively to make student government “cool” again.
Fordham Daily is not an official club.