Voting for new Student Union leaders ends Monday
Undergraduates have until noon on Monday, April 26, to vote in the Student Union elections for next year’s platform of officers. Voting is open for the Student Union Executive Board and representatives from college governments, residence hall associations, and various student groups.
The three platforms of students running for Executive Board are BUnited, Renew BU, and the write-in campaign Vote Greek. BU Today spoke with representatives from all three groups about their goals and the challenges that student government faces.
Choose the one you like, and cast your vote.
BUnited says it stands for unity, transparency, and responsiveness.
The student body isn’t unified, says Taylor Riley (SMG’11), who is running for president. “We were unified when we won the hockey championship last year, but unification needs to happen more often,” she says. Her platform will encourage student groups to plan events collaboratively, so there aren’t two of the same workshops in one week and so that resources are used most effectively.
Transparency is the group’s second cause. BUnited will encourage all students to sit on boards around campus so that they can understand what’s going on and will be better prepared to advocate for student concerns. Riley also hopes to make the Student Union’s Web site more accessible.
“If the student body in general seems great about an issue, that’s fine,” she says. “But if our committees report back to us that people are split, then that’s something we can bring to the administration. We can set up surveys, polls, and reports of what’s happening. We’ll do the outreach, and then I want students to come to us. It won’t happen overnight, but people will want to if they know their voices are being heard.”
Riley says that students are not necessarily upset by recent policy changes, but they are concerned that they weren’t made aware of the changes beforehand. “Look at the BUS schedule, or the print quota, or the One BU task force, which changed GPA requirements,” she says. “Those are things we would like to have a say in.
“I think there is apathy in terms of the student government right now,” she says, “but if you change up the Student Union, and encourage students to get involved, then they will feel they’re making a difference.”
President: Taylor Riley (SMG’11), president of the SMG student government executive board
Vice president: James Boggie (CAS’12), Student Union director of city affairs
Treasurer: Joe Nangle (SMG’12), SMG Student Union voting representative
Secretary: Jenna Kreyche (CAS’11), vice president of the Undergraduate Philosophy Association
Renew BU is pushing for a more reliable Boston University Shuttle (the BUS), an increase in the print quota for students, medical amnesty for all students, and better dining halls. Secondary issues include bringing back the BU football team, equal punishments for underage drinking and marijuana possession on the BU campus (similar to Massachusetts general law), and keeping Mugar Memorial Library open 24 hours a day.
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges any incoming platform faces is the student body’s detachment from student government at BU, says vice presidential candidate Daniel Ellis. He says the needs of the campus won’t be met until a better relationship is formed.
“Most people don’t know anything about it, don’t know the members,” says Ellis (CAS’11), who has never been a member of the Union. The students of Renew BU believe they “weren’t being represented, that the current Union wasn’t fighting for the things we wanted to fight for, like the print quota and medical amnesty, and through talking to more people, we found more issues that we wanted to address,” he says.
If enough students are passionate about an issue, “then it will be a powerful negotiation tactic for the administration,” Ellis says.
“We want to have our faces out there every day, maybe set up a booth in the GSU so that students can talk to members of the Union, or we can write a weekly blog with updates, maybe even a column in the Freep, letting students know what’s going on.”
Renew BU ticket:
President: Arthur Emma (CAS’11), Student Union director of off-campus affairs
Vice president: Daniel Ellis (CAS’11)
Treasurer: Ben Noble (SMG’11)
Vote Greek students are running on the four pillars of Greek life: leadership, scholarship, philanthropy, and brotherhood and sisterhood. While Greeks represent only 7 percent of students on campus, they are running for Student Union because “we wanted to bring the leadership skills that we gained in Greek life and help BU,” says Julian Jensen, who is running for president.
If Vote Greek wins, Jensen (COM’12) plans to contact student groups over the summer, asking them what they would need to feel like a family. The group would also seek help from the other slates. Jensen mentions Renew BU’s plan to extend the BUS into Allston, which he fully supports.
Better communication will be the first step to achieving the group’s goals, he says. Vote Greek plans to draw on members’ relationships with University administrators, hold a monthly meeting for all students, and make better use of online tools, such as the Student Union Web site, Twitter, and blogs.
Vote Greek also wants to encourage all students to become more involved in the University. The group wants to make it possible to start a club at any point during a semester, instead of only at the beginning, as is the current rule. There should be more collaboration among BU students, Jensen says; a “BU Day,” for example, could bring together all student groups at the end of the year.
“We want people to feel good about coming to BU,” he says. “Through Greek life, we learn to accept. We want to bring family back to BU. And if kids don’t feel that the Student Union is the place to get involved, we need to change that.”
The group also believes it is important to encourage more students to take on leadership positions. “Right now the Union is very linear,” Jensen says, “and there’s no ability for change. It doesn’t have the ability to open eyes and see other interests, and that’s what we hope to bring to the table. It’s not just being a political icon; my team is students first and Greeks second.”
Vote Greek ticket:
President: Julian Jensen (COM’12)
Vice president: Stephen Tanico (CAS’13)
Treasurer: Marisa Feehan (CAS’12)
Secretary: Alexandra Vaccarino (COM’12)