With no interest in student government, administrators cobble together new group
In spring semester of 2007, nobody ran for student office at SAIC. Not one person wanted to go through the election process, according to the Campus Activities office, so as of this fall, there is no student government.
And yet, there is no anarchy. At least, not any more than our fair school is accustomed to.
Student government has long been the subject of parody (think 1999’s Election, with Reese Witherspoon), but it’s also part and parcel of student life. In an effort to assemble some sort of representation, Campus Life formed the Student Association, a group of six students picked and paid for by Campus Life to to sit on the 13th fl oor of the MacLean building and hear students’ concerns. Previous student government members, once elected, were also paid.
How is that different than student government from days of yore (other than the appointment process)? Apparently, it’s all in the name. See, there’s a thought that us art students are repelled by the word “government.” So student life replaced it with “association,” and voila!
Really, says Shannon Delaney, Director of Campus Activities, nobody knows quite why interest in student government dissolved. She hopes the interim Student Association can draw aspiring politicos for next year.
“We’re hoping some of the energy from this group will pour over into the following year,” she said. Meanwhile, this group plans to be very open to communicating with the student body (hence the weekday offi ce hours in MacLean) and to follow up with student groups. They plan to make sure these groups get the resources and funding they need.
“We feel we have to be more accessible to other students,” said Hounyeh Kim, a junior in Student Association.
The staff was recruited based on their previous involvement in and enthusiasm for the school, and they include former orientation leaders. They were recommended and selected based on their ability to represent a diverse student body and include transfer and graduate students.
“If we didn’t want to improve the school, we wouldn’t be here,” said Lauren Karrenberg, a senior and Student Association staffer. “Everybody knows there are little student groups… We wanted to be kind of the mothership.”