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Alumni perspective: Why candidates pester

Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014 00:02

To the editor:

This week, I had the opportunity to travel to USU for the Career Fair. As it also happens to be elections week, I could not help but notice the anxious and stressed candidates vying for votes. As a former USU/SA (ASUSU) member, I remember this difficult week. For candidates it is exciting and exhausting, as well as full of drama. But for the majority of the student body, it is just annoying and disruptive. Some argue the candidates are running just to build their personal resumes and the election process is simply a popularity contest.

Now that I have graduated, I have an outside perspective. I certainly put "senator" on my resume; however, this title was not a key factor in me getting a job. My colleagues, also former student body reps for other colleges, agree it is not very applicable experience. I ran for senator because I sincerely wanted to improve USU. I am passionate about helping other students take ownership of their education. I know the other officers of my year shared my same passion for "you," the student. Many of the current candidates do as well.

I was surprised by the "work" that the position entailed. We didn't write any legislation to serve chocolate milk in the drinking fountains. In fact, we barely wrote any bills at all my year. The only legislation I wrote was an effort to make elections less annoying, but it failed. What we did do as Academic Senate was take a small budget and plan some thorough events we felt would benefit students education. We also had some heated debates on where some money should be allocated.

I also remember representing students at numerous board meetings. Nearly all of the projects your elected officers work on are self-initiated and not required. Every elected officer sacrifices works, friends and even school to spend their energies serving students, especially the president, Programming, Service, and Athletics vice presidents. All this work and service is extremely rewarding, though. I was so excited when I saw more than 1,400 students turn out at a service project.

If you do not vote for a candidate, it probably will not change the outcome. Most candidates should certainly understand if your phone is not worth your time, but remember that these dedicated individuals are all up in your business because they care about your student experience. I would encourage all students to take advantage of the great programs, events and opportunities USU/SA and the university sponsors. I still hope you USU students take ownership of your education. For example, I was very excited and pleased to see students take advantage of the Career Fair.

Jeff Parker
Graduated 2013 

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