University Star-endorsed candidates Tiffany Young and Sean Quiñones were named the student body president and vice president, respectively, last week. The editorial board believes they are poised to be the leaders who could finally put an end to complaints that the organization is ineffective and irrelevant.
The editorial board has historically been critical of ASG’s lack of influence and impact on students. W.H. “Butch” Oxendine, Jr., executive director of the American Student Government Association (ASGA) states in his evaluation of the organization that “ASG is struggling to determine its relevance on campus. Research suggests that ASG historically has been ineffective and has not been respected across campus.” If one of the foremost authorities on university student governments has this to say of Texas State’s ASG, it should be an indication that the editorial board has not been exaggerating the problem for years.
That being said, Young and Quiñones have the potential to lead a successful administration as long as they pursue initiatives that are both feasible and helpful, and then follow through once resolutions and bills are being reviewed by the administration for approval.
Young and Quiñones need to pursue “big picture” initiatives rather than focusing on minutiae and frivolous endeavors. For instance, promoting school pride for the sake of pride seems to be a cornerstone for many administrations. The editorial board fears Young’s “numbers campaign,” which would promote Texas State’s rankings in various areas in comparison to other institutions, could join the ranks of other failed attempts at instilling Bobcat pride in students. While pride is important, it should not be high on ASG’s priority list.
Identifying the priorities of students has traditionally been a problem with ASG. Installing a (now defunct) milkshake bar in Jones Dining Hall, bringing Dr. Pepper back to campus and having the marching band lead students into the stadium from tailgate were all initiatives implemented by ASG in recent years. While students were likely not complaining about any of these changes, Young and Quiñones need to focus on bigger problems.
Parking and transportation, campus dining and the Counseling Center’s lack of resources are huge issues student face on a day-to-day basis. Even if Young and Quiñones are likely not going to be able to directly fix these problems, their time would be well spent listening to students’ concerns and then bringing that feedback to the administration.
The new ASG administration should also make an effort to stay informed about the major issues facing Texas States. It is alarming that during The University Star’s ASG debate before elections, none of the candidates seemed adequately informed about the Counseling Center’s inability to accommodate students, veterans’ affairs or transportation issues.
Besides focusing on worthwhile and impactful initiatives, working together despite differences will be key to this ASG administration’s success. Young and Quiñones ran on different platforms, but they both have valuable ideas that could aid the campus community. All student government members should keep in mind they are working for the same purpose, which is to help students.