Staff Editorial: Make Student Government Matter

With the chaos of the coronavirus epidemic, it is easy to forget an annual event which most students typically ignore anyway: United Student Government (USG) elections. From April 14-16, students are able to vote in their student government elections at a time where leadership is desperately sought at all scales — but will they? 

It’s condescending to blame the lack of student participation in USG on apathy when USG has struggled over the years to convince the student body of its relevance. This has begun to change, with greater USG visibility seen on Fordham Fridays, at the Christmas Tree Lighting and in their increased social media presence. 

Now that in-person instruction has been ruled out for the rest of the semester and at least part of the summer, club events and other means of student engagement have also transitioned to the digital realm. While you are no longer able to grab a slice of pizza from your representative every Friday, USG programming continues virtually, with a series of online jeopardy games and the Undergraduate Appreciation Awards (UNDYs) coming up in late April. 

Most immediately, though, are the online elections. Next year’s USG executive board and senate are elected every spring through OrgSync, which has not changed, but this year the presidential candidate debate and all campaigning efforts have taken place online as well. USG candidates have promoted themselves via the internet and social media in the past, but never in recent history have they been forced to rely exclusively on digital campaigning. This has made for a notably different lead up to the election, given that opportunities for face-to-face word of mouth are never scarce at a campus as physically small as Lincoln Center, when it’s occupied. 

Aside from their digital nature, another thing that makes these elections special, and important for us as students to participate in, is the competitive nature of the presidential race. While no one entered a bid for vice president, two of USG’s veteran members, Loreen Ruiz, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’21; and Robert Stryczek, Gabelli School of Business ’21, are competing to be elected president. Both have demonstrated track records of Fordham involvement in the past few years and traction on their social media presidential campaigns in the past few weeks.  

It is no secret that Fordham students have strong opinions on policy and student life, but no substantial change will ever be enacted without student activism and involvement. USG is one outlet for advocacy that has been largely overlooked and abandoned in recent years, but it is our duty as students and members of the Fordham community to retain an active role in our representation. Voting in the USG elections only takes a click, but it has the potential to drastically revolutionize Fordham policies. While online schooling may be demotivating, learning about USG candidates isn’t a burden — and encouraging student involvement on campus is never a waste of time. 

By voting, you determine who will hold one of the most powerful torches of student activism. Only you can tell whose grip can withstand the blazing flames of your unique and far-reaching intentions for improving the Fordham student experience, so make sure to vote so student involvement doesn’t run cold. 


To vote, you will receive an email on April 14 from the USG Elections Committee prompting you to vote. Click it, and the power is in your hands.