While student officials attribute the low voter turnout in the Student Government e-board election in part to recent timeline change, Boston University students said they were not motivated to vote because of a general lack of awareness.
Cherice Hunt, SG director of communications, said the sudden change in election cycle may have decreased student interest, but the general disinterest of the student body is disheartening.
“I think its sad that students feel like … there is a detachment between the student body and the government and the … senate as well as the executive board who are representing their [interests],” she said.
About 7 percent of the undergraduate population at BU voted during the most recent SG election ending Nov. 19, with the winning slate garnering only 1,300 votes. Less than 10 percent of the undergraduate population voted in the spring 2012 semester’s election, which was also unopposed.
Students who did not vote in the recent election said the organization does not have a major presence on campus.
“They could be [the voice of students on campus], but I’m not sure if they are right now because I don’t really know much about them,” said Miles Avila, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
Avila said he knew about the elections, but did not vote.
“I think I saw it on the Student Link, told myself I was going to get back to it and then never did,” he said.
He said he would like to learn more about what goes on at SG and what their impact is on campus.
“We do vote for them [the executive board of SG],” Avila said. “I would like to know what they do and what is going on.”
Avila said that he does not get the SG newsletters and does not know much about what they do.
Andrew Tarrh, a CAS sophomore, said he does not know how SG would implement change on campus.
“I don’t know what they would do,” Tarrh said. “I’m really out of touch with student government.”
Tarrh said he gets the SG newsletters in his email inbox but does not read them.
“I send them right to the trash,” he said. “I don’t care enough to take the time to read them. First of all, I don’t know what they do, which is a pretty good indicator that I don’t know how they could or could not help me.”
A number of students said SG could do more to publicize what they are doing on campus to improve student involvement and interest.
Kabowd Mensah, a College of General Studies sophomore, also said she saw the student election notification on the Student Link but did not vote in the most recent election.
“I didn’t have the time, I guess,” she said. “I was trying to get out for break.”
Mensah said she sometimes sees SG activities going on at the George Sherman Union and knew SG was involved with the School of Management Casino Night during the 2011–12 academic year.
Mensah said SG could work harder to get the word out about their activities and what they do around campus.
“Maybe more advertising, because I really have no idea what goes on,” she said. “Maybe through email. That would grab people’s attention because you check it every day.”
She said she might consider getting involved with SG if it were easier.
“I have no idea how to go about that right now,” she said.
Jake O’Connor, a SMG freshman, said he does not know much about the structure or job of SG.
“If there was something that was going on [at BU] that I really wanted to change or be a part of I might start doing it,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said what BetterBU, the winning slate, stands for is important and if the election was publicized more that he would have been more motivated to vote.
He said tuition stability, one of BetterBU’s platforms, was very important to him as a student with financial aid.
“It’s our responsibility to make sure that students have a place to speak up about what they like or dislike [on campus] … about the BU experience,” Hunt said.