After a year of turmoil in the Student Government Association (SGA), freshmen representative elections are at the pinnacle of importance. Though the freshman elections may seem trivial to upperclassmen, it is no secret that SGA, like most college organizations, is nepotic.
The legislators we elect to represent the freshman class will likely end up in a high-level position when they are upperclassmen and will set the stage for the future of SGA. Current SGA President Gurbani Singh (18B) has served on SGA since her freshman year and her Executive Vice President, Natasha Armstrong (18B), has served since her sophomore year. There is a laundry list of mistakes the freshmen representatives must not repeat — lacking transparency, originality of their platforms and attentiveness to the SGA constitution. It is imperative that future SGA representatives learn from the mistakes of their predecessors.
Although there is little takeaway from the candidates’ generic platforms, the role of the freshman representative should be dealing with freshman-specific issues, such as improving DUC-ling menu options, meal schedules and long lines, and working to create a sense of community within the class of 2021.
With its concrete, freshman-focused planned initiatives, Surya Garg’s (21C) platform should set her up to be the front-runner. Garg sets realistic goals that would win her unanimous support; fixing the weak Wi-Fi connection on campus would certainly make her the most popular SGA legislator.
The other platforms were well-meaning but vague. The candidates may be competent, but their platforms are not reflective of their ability to affect change. We urge the elected freshmen representatives to educate themselves on the issues of their class and carry out necessary and desired changes. The students elected must hold themselves accountable to their freshman class and be prepared to elevate SGA to a more transparent, reliable and receptive governing body.
The Wheel evaluated candidates’ platforms, which can be found here: emorywheel.com/fallelectionguide2017/.
The Editorial Board is composed of Jennifer Katz, Madeline Lutwyche and Boris Niyonzima.