As the runoff election for Student Body President nears, the lack of interest by students has become disheartening. This year, more than it ever, it is important to have your voice heard. As I walk around campus, I overhear students saying that the race really does not matter, and it is simply a fight between two big egos. These ideas seem to be supported by the low turnout rate. According to the Board of Elections website, last week only 5,691 undergrads voted in the election. This low turnout is extremely disappointing, especially considering the politically charged atmosphere typically seen here at UNC. I am here to tell you why it is matters.
The first myth is that the candidates are in it for their egos. This claim is categorically false. Having sat down and spoken to both Will Lindsey and Christy Lambden, I can assure anyone that they both exude passion for the job and for the student body. Each candidate truly believes that their vision will better the Carolina experience for all students. This passion has been demonstrated by their willingness to reach out and talk to students for hours in the pit. Though it may seem a bit grandiose for each candidate and his team yelling and cheering in the pit, they are completely justified due to a lack of interest by students.
Another myth that has taken hold is that the Presidency does not really matter. Like the first myth, this is also categorically false. The President sets an agenda at the beginning of their term, and hundreds of students and student organizations work based on the SBP’s policies and objectives. Furthermore, the SBP and his branch also have the ability to ask congress to spend student money to achieve some of their objectives. This directly affects all students.
In addition to agenda setting, our SBP represents the student’s voice on all campus issues. The SPB is our representative to the Board of Governors along with the State House of Representatives. This will be crucial in working against more tuition increases in the future, which should concern all students. The SBP is also the face and representative for the entire student body. Our image needs a positive change, especially in these times, where our university is embroiled in several scandals, which have hurt our good name.
Having your political voice heard, no matter if it is on campus or across the country is important. According to USA Today, a woman in Kansas did not vote in the last election. Her husband, who was running for councilmen, tied with his opponent at 669 votes. This demonstrates why each vote matters. This is especially important for the class that is least likely to vote. I have heard seniors all over campus who are tuning the race out. For shame! Our great Coach, Dean Smith coined the phrase “The Carolina Way.” As senior, as you leave, it should be your duty, like Coach Smith, to leave this campus better than you found it. This, I believe, is one of the most important parts of living “The Carolina Way.” So tomorrow, please go out and vote. It is your duty as a student, a Tar Heel, and as a follower of “The Carolina Way.”