News: Government resource aids universities
Posted on Tuesday, April 20 @ 23:02:03 MDT by admin
Student governments at many universities struggle to do their job, said Butch Oxendine, editor in chief of Student Leader magazine.
“Some student bodies just don’t care,” Oxendine said.
So Oxendine started the American Student Government Association, which acts as a resource for student governments across the nation.
The association teaches student governments how to become more effective, ethical and influential leaders on their campuses, according to the group’s Web site. It has 120 members from 33 states.
“Most schools only have 5 to 10 percent voter turnout,” Oxendine said. “But there are some really great schools out there.”
Oxendine said LaSalle University in Philadelphia reached 55 percent voter turnout last year.
He said the point of creating the association was to provide a resource for student governments to communicate with each other, share ideas and tips, and ask outside experts about certain issues, all in order to increase student involvement and the influence of governments across the nation.
Oxendine said strong student governments are the key to a successful university. A strong student government can boost attendance, participation and even retention of students.
“Students certainly don’t understand that,” he said.
The association provides services for schools to find out how effective their student governments are and what they can do about it if their government doesn’t add up. But not all students can access the information; only the student governments can see how well they’re doing.
The ASGA database includes contact information and locations for all colleges and universities in the United States, and each school that joins is asked to provide further information like budget, by-laws and ideas.
Steve Gustafson, UNC Student Representative Council president, said he hadn’t heard of the service, but SRC may be interested in joining in the future if the price is right. “Online, it looked like it would cost us about $2,000 a year,” he said but added that the price may not deter SRC from joining.
“If it can help SRC to function more efficiently, it might be a worthy investment,” he said.
But Jason Brinkley, SRC vice president for legislative affairs, said joining the association may not be worth it.
“I think that as a council, we have more things to worry about, especially on the state level,” Brinkley said.