April and May launch a blitzkrieg of activity for any college student as registration for next year’s classes, projects and finals strike like an anvil through a car windshield. For some, the added pressure of graduation and job hunting makes you feel like an anaconda has wrapped around your windpipe and is slowly crushing your larynx into finely ground powder.
But, this year, there are issues and agendas you should be looking at beyond your own third eye.
Within the next month, elections and primaries will be held within three different layers of our government: campus, local and national.
The first volley in this electoral barrage is the upcoming SGA election, which will be held on April 15 via online voting.
While you may feel this is as interesting as reading a book on the topic of reading a book, the results will have a direct result on your time here at Eastern if you plan to call the university home after this semester.
The role of SGA is multi-layered as they coordinate events through the Student Activities Council and lobby for changes in administrative policies in education, both at Eastern, Richmond and the heart of Kentucky politics-Frankfort.
They also play a distinct role in the financial structure of the university through the awarding of school money to student organizations-organizations you may belong to.
Quite simply, the leaders who inhabit SGA next semester will make a difference in your life.
But if you’re not planning to stay at Eastern, you should think of the SGA elections as a microcosm of the working-world politics you’ll be facing once you’ve moved past college.
In keeping with that idea, consider the upcoming local elections. The list of potential changes Richmond might face once the dust settles stretches out like the aforementioned anaconda. Policies could be rendered obsolete by the election of new commissioners and other local officials, and the businesses profiled this week in our Features section could be affected by the decisions made in the May primary. And if you happen to be a registered voter in Madison County, now is the time to speak up for what you believe in. The vote could play a significant role in the final decision concerning the debates over Camp Catalpa.
Finally, the Democratic primary will be rolling into Kentucky in May and stands to make a difference for the first time in years. The race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continues to heat up as both candidates suffer from character attacks. Obama’s former minister, Jeremiah Wright, and his ideological rants have spearheaded serious negative reactions from numerous Americans. Clinton’s character has been called into question again, as her campaign trail statements about being targeted in a 1996 sniper attack in Bosnia were proven false.
The superdelegates will ultimately decide the candidate that will march on to face Republican nominee John McCain, but the turnout in Kentucky, particularly among rejuvenated young voters, could help shift the election one way or another.
Ultimately, this is a time of change, confusion and dissent. With the sagging economy, the five-year excursion in Iraq and health care at the height of concern for most Americans, it is a time when people must move beyond their own glass house. The education you receive is designed to prepare you for the real world, and you cannot be properly prepared if you don’t have a sense of awareness of the events happenings around you.
The fact that SGA gives a lacrosse team some money may not matter to you, but by getting involved and paying attention to SGA and its machinations, you can get a bird’s-eye view into how government works on a smaller scale. In Richmond, the debates at the city commission give a sneak peak into how cities work and how government operates in general.
On a national level, the effects of the economy will give upcoming graduates a taste of what to expect upon graduation-and how to approach getting a job in the most effective way.
April and May can be suffocating for students as they dream of the shortsighted goal of making it to a summer filled with warm sun and freedom from classwork.
But, when you arise from your catatonic stasis leading into finals, the decisions made in May will still affect you, and will remain with you as you wade through your daily life.
Because of that, as a member of the educated community, you should understand and participate in the political arena. Otherwise, someone else will make your decisions for you.