Everyone is a Member of USG


(Tyler Martins/The Observer)


At the peak of my class’ New Student Orientation (NSO) in late August of 2013, in the course of the Club Leader Picnic on the Robert Moses Plaza, I was eagerly and nervously searching for clubs to get involved in. Since I had dabbled in student government in my high school days, I sought out and ultimately stumbled upon the United Student Government (USG) in the Plaza and was inspired by the following phrase one of their representatives said to me: “Everyone is a member of USG.”

That phrase left a significant impact with me. The idea of a collective student body coming together to make a college campus the best it could be was a powerful thought. I envisioned huge groups of students gathering every week to serve the campus, working hand-in-hand with fellow students and fix every problem. Inspired, I picked up my USG election packet and started my Senate campaign. I served as a Freshman Senator for a year and then began serving as USG’s Treasurer and the Chairperson of the Student Activities Budget Committee (SABC) this academic year. It was during this time I began to notice a disconnect between USG and our fellow students.

Most of our general meetings garnered the attendance of the Senate, Executive Board, USG’s advisor and perhaps a guest or two on a good day. This has been the case for the two years I have served on USG. At first I was satisfied with the limited attendance because it fostered a tight-knit community between the USG members, but something was missing for me.

What happened to “everyone” being a part of United Student Government?

There are routine reasons for not being able to attend club meetings: interfering class schedules, internships, students not knowing the meeting location, commitments with other clubs, potential lack of interest, forgetfulness – the list goes on. But it was when USG held our student-body town halls and received a minimal turnout that I wondered if there was something we were not doing. I became concerned about whether USG had advertised enough to the student body the whereabouts of our meetings and events or if people even knew what we do as the main student government group on campus.

I want people to know what we do in USG. Whether that is improved and consistent advertising via social media outlets, creating more posters or tabling more on the Plaza Level, students at Fordham University at Lincoln Center should know what USG does for them. It is an organization that exists for the students and I want everyone to know that. Why am I so determined about issues such as visibility and participation?

Because many important changes are happening here on campus:

The new Law School building and McKeon Hall have completely changed and continue to change the culture and appearance of our campus for the better. Freshman class sizes continue to grow larger and larger. The Gabelli School of Business has opened its doors on our campus, bringing new business-minded students and hundreds more in the years to come. The old Law School building is being renovated and will be open in 2016-2017 with new services for undergraduates. Groups such as The Positive have reached out and worked with USG to provide gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. Conversations regarding Title IX and sexual assault have continued to develop on our campus. So much is happening on our campus. I want you all to know about it and be involved in the conversation. That is what United Student Government is here for: to provide that outlet for conversation.

So, I will gladly let you know there is always a chair saved for you on Thursday afternoons at 12:30 p.m. in LL502 for our USG general meetings. Anyone is free to come and hear what is taking place at their home away from home. I want everyone to know that USG and its members represent the students’ best wishes at heart and want the campus to flourish as much as the students do. We have had constructive conversations and dialogues for years within our small group, but I want to see more people participating.

I dream of the day when we need to request a larger room to host our general meetings to fit all our dozens of members. However, I am realistic about how busy the students on our campus are, with clubs, classwork, GO! Projects, internships and all. So let me offer you this: if you have a free spot in your schedule on Thursday at 12:30 p.m., come to LL502, bring your friends, roommate(s), girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse or whoever and see what USG has been working on for you and your fellow students. Join the conversation and important conversations to come. Come and help us spread the phrase:

“Everyone is a member of USG.”

As I begin my campaign for President of United Student Government, these are the values I take to heart and hope to convey to the great student body of Fordham University at Lincoln Center.

[quote_box_center]“Leighton Magoon is a sophomore from South Berwick, Maine. A political science major and music minor, Leighton currently serves as Treasurer of United Student Government and Chairperson of the Student Activities Budget Committee. He is a Social Justice Leader for the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice.  Leighton is running for USG President to continue the progress USG has done to become the one, true representative body of all FCLC and GSBLC students.”[/quote_box_center]