Editorial 3/24: USA election reminds us of the importance of campus involvement

It seems like every year there are new accusations from student leaders about the levels of apathy in the student body. Clubs are constantly struggling with diminishing or inconsistent membership, participation in campus-wide events is dismal (with the exception of Griff Fest), and the handful of students who are active on campus are spread-thin from their over-involvement. While it’s difficult to assert that student apathy is at an “all-time high,” it’s easy for The Griffin to suggest that student involvement and engagement is concerning, and has been for a while now.

With the USA Executive Board elections around the corner, the position of Executive Vice President remains empty, likely to be filled by an appointment from the incoming Executive Board. While USA board members have an exceptional amount of responsibility in comparison to many other leadership alternatives on campus, this power should be coveted and yearned after, not feared.

There is an opportunity for a student outside of senate to be appointed, without contest, to an incredibly important, paid position in the most commanding club on campus and nobody is running. Now, by no means is The Griffin suggesting that a student without the necessary qualifications should run for this position, but we are questioning why none of the “leaders” that Canisius is making aren’t stepping up to the plate.

Of course, we are probably preaching to the choir. Most often, the students who read The Griffin are the students who participate in club activities and are interested in campus happenings. However, if you are a student who has minimal extracurricular involvement or has never attended any campus programming, please take a second to hear us out.

Being involved on campus is important.

We’re not saying this because we need more contributors (we do), or because as club leaders we are biased about the topic (we are), but because it’s true. Whether you choose to participate because you want to enhance your resume, make new friends, build your portfolio, or keen in on your leadership abilities, the opportunities that open up when you become more engrossed in your campus community are endless.

If you want your tax dollars to be properly spent and if you want your voice to be accurately represented, you need to get out of your dorm room, come down to the tunnels, and participate.

College is undoubtedly one of the most stressful periods of your life. You are making a transition from a dependent adolescent to an independent and somewhat functioning adult. You have a full class schedule, part-time jobs, and are probably trying to maintain a relatively healthy social life and sleep schedule. No one is denying that it’s difficult to find a balance between school and personal and mental well-being, but no one is saying that it’s impossible either. Plenty of students maintain club involvement, get good grades, work or have internships and live decent social lives.

That situation isn’t ideal for everyone, but total noncompliance and ambivalence isn’t beneficial to anyone either.

If running for a significant position in a powerful club is overwhelming or too much of a leap for you (or if you’re simply not qualified), try running for a senate seat. Make small changes in your college career to accommodate the addition of new activities. Volunteer, participate, take your education from sedentary to active. There is always a need for students who will dedicate time and energy into making Canisius a better place for everyone. Be that student.

And for the incoming USA Executive Board, we hope that you treat your positions as if they were something you had to fight for. Although there will be no debate and election results will be irrelevant to the outcome, that doesn’t mean students don’t have a need to be properly represented. Give us the dedication that would have been needed for you to win the vote and maybe, just maybe, you can help inspire a class that will defeat this perceived “apathy” and create a more productive and active Canisius.

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