By Ariel McGee
Areas of social science are widely studied at Lewis and Clark, which contributes to a large portion of the student body who are generally aware of current events. However, it is important to note that political apathy towards representative bodies of government is becoming a defining factor to the American identity and to the identity of LC students.
Even though a large portion of LC does seem concerned with the political issues and debates circulating our nation, I see this overarching political apathy affecting their interest in representative institutions at the educational level. Students have many things to worry about on a daily basis such as homework, extracurriculars or filling out their ballot. The agenda of last week’s Senate meeting is the last thing on their mind; it takes time to be up to date on the happenings of student government, and sometimes college students just do not have any time to spare. However, it might be worthwhile to take a few minutes each week to see what your student government has been up to.
As Chief Justice of the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC), it is important to me that students understand the role of ASLC because we have major responsibilities that directly affect the student body. For example, ASLC is in charge of allocating hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to student unions and clubs across campus. If you belong to any of these organizations, ASLC is a vital actor in your ability to participate in any of the events they host and access any of the resources they provide.
Additionally, ASLC has access to an account known as the 4300 account, which can be used for emergencies concerning students at LC. Last year, the on-campus Counseling Service faced major funding cuts due to a previous donation that was expiring. After paying close attention to the wishes and concerns of the student body, the ASLC Senate decided that the importance of mental health at LC necessitated the ability for the Counseling Service to remain operational at a level their funding cut would not allow. After writing legislation to gain control of the 4300 account, the Senate decided to take action into their own hands and voted to fully fund the Counseling Service for the following 2018-19 academic year.
In addition to financial responsibility, ASLC is also meant to be a direct link between the student body and the administration. ASLC has recently started to dine at the Bon Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. in hopes that students will bring any questions or concerns they might have about either the administration or ASLC itself.
The aforementioned examples are just a few of the reasons why ASLC, and college-level student governments in general, are important institutions. Cabinet and Senate members are chosen by you, the student body, and it is important to know who we are and how we can help you. It can be tempting to join the general consensus that student governments are pointless hierarchies meant to entertain those who enjoy power, but in my opinion that just simply is not the case.
If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for me or ASLC as a whole, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.