8-18-18 Bengal Bound

LSU Student Government president and biological engineering senior Stewart Lockett speaks to students in the PMAC on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018.

Our government has begun to lose credibility over the years. Our president is widely considered a joke and Congress’ approval rating sits at 21 percent. Bipartisan extremism and an increased focus on young voters has turned elections into more of a popularity contest than a battle of ideologies.

As if our own government, which makes decisions affecting the way we live our lives, isn’t enough of a laughing stock, school level “politics” sound like the butt of an incredibly bad joke. In an environment filled to the brim with highly educated adults, can we believe young pupils have any chance of getting anything done?

Our own Student Government at the University seems to think so. More importantly, they’re making huge efforts to prove they can make a difference. Whether or not you take SG seriously, it’s hard to ignore the evidence.

SG listens to its constituents. Many of its projects are direct responses to the requests of the student body. For example, an opinion column by Max Nedanovich in The Daily Reveille recently voiced students’ desire for more accessible Scantrons on campus. SG immediately leapt into action and began to implement easier ways for students to get Scantrons.

They’re not only active when called to be, however. SG is always looking for ways to better improve our school’s quality.

SG recently announced plans for a comprehensive two-year program for those with special needs. They saw similar programs crop up in a few other universities in the state and decided our flagship university ought to have the same care for its people.

Another SG initiative sought to lower student fees at a cost to the student media budget. While the budget cut was difficult for those working in student media, SG was likely looking to decrease fees and more efficiently allocate funds. 

The refusal to enrich their programs out of the pockets of everyone is, at the very least, admirable and proves a commitment to the student body.

A more important message lies in the SG’s success. We all have a voice, and the time is ripe to make a change. SG has made it clear they are listening to us and more than willing to do what it takes to improve the University.

In times past, essays and public debates have gone far to push progress. Petitions are seen as worthless and just plain silly, but many of SG’s decisions have come at the result of successful petitions.

We live in a society built on the idea of everyone having an equal voice, and the University is making a powerful case for the power of the people.

The facts don’t lie. SG is evidently filled with individuals who care deeply for the state of our university and the students who chose to make it their home. They have proven they are willing to listen and to make changes to benefit us.

I implore everyone to participate. The power to elect leaders and to make a difference with our voices is strong, and SG is giving us a brobdingnagian opportunity to make it count. I would ask everyone to cast a vote and to speak out against problems on our campus community. Now I know the power we have, and I’ll be right there with you.

Kyle Richoux is a 20-year-old sociology junior from LaPlace, Louisiana.

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