Syracuse University SA candidates reflect diversity needed in representative groups
By The Daily Orange Editorial Board
Published October 28, 2013 at 2:31 am
A student-run organization like the Student Association should embody the diversity of the students it represents.
Fortunately, this year’s SA presidential and vice presidential candidates — all six of which are diverse in terms of race and gender — could ensure proper representation of the student body and further encourage minority students to get involved with the organization. This is a positive trend that should continue.
Nationally, there is increased participation among minority groups in organizations like SA, according to the American Student Government Association (ASGA). In 2003-04, 48 percent of student government members were women. As of 2011-2012, when numbers were last recorded, women comprised 52 percent of these organizations.
Eleven percent of student body presidents are African American. This number has grown significantly since the ASGA began its research on those involved in student government organizations.
Even SA members have noticed more involvement by women and those of different races within the organization. Current SA President Allie Curtis has recognized the current gender gap in national politics and brought the “Elect Her” initiative to SU to encourage females to enter the collegiate political world.
But to better represent the students of Syracuse University, people of all backgrounds — including gender, race, socioeconomic class and sexual identity — should continue to seek student leadership positions and become involved in SA.
This participation could one day alter the national political field. If more minority students gain experience working with college politics, it could increase the likelihood that they hold political office in the future. The “Elect Her” initiative encourages females to gain political experience in college then use those skills on the national political stage.
While some students might not be interested in running for political office one day, they could still improve the university by offering their voices on student issues.
The presidential candidates and their vice presidential partners could provide the encouragement needed for students from different backgrounds to seek student leadership.
To ensure that SA is recruiting a diverse assembly, members should continue to reach out to every corner of the university, including any and all student groups.
Social media can be used to attract members, but face-to-face outreach with these organizations will humanize SA and make it more approachable for other students.
There is not one type of student at SU.
The diversity of this year’s SA presidential and vice presidential candidates is commendable, but SA should continue to work to ensure that the diversity within its organization as a whole reflects the diversity of SU’s campus.