Considering candidacy: the ideal SGA representative

By Kaitlyn McCormick

The second half of the spring semester means preparation for the next academic year, including elections for Rider’s Student Government Association (SGA). Its representatives are meant to amplify the voice of the student body, and as students consider either a bid for candidacy or who they may vote in favor of, they should also evaluate not only what qualities make an SGA member but what goals and focuses go into a successful leadership term.

Applications close on March 29, followed by a campaign period and executive board debate during Student Senate before voting is available on BroncNation from April 1-5 and winners are announced April 7. Student body president is just one of the many positions available.

SGA at Rider

One of the most recent initiatives started by Rider’s SGA is the push for diversity education. During the fall 2021 semester, the SGA explored the idea to recommend a diversity and inclusion course requirement for students, regardless of their major. In addition to a heightened focus on diversity, the SGA for this academic year has also made mental health a major talking point.

While Rider’s past SGA boards have worked to introduce different ideas and initiatives for the improvement of the university atmosphere and student body experience, current controversies within the Rider community regarding budget cuts, faculty frustrations and even public demonstrations don’t seem
to be ceasing anytime soon. This current climate provides an even greater opportunity for SGA members in the next academic year to be leading voices for the student body in light of these tensions, as well as build on some of the actions that current and past boards have taken.

It is imperative that student voters and potential executive candidates keep in mind what they want to see out of their SGA leadership and what changes they may desire.

Outside SGA success

SGA chapters across the country have enacted changes on their campuses for the sake of the greater student body, providing examples of the power an SGA board can hold.

In 2016, the City University of New York (CUNY)’s SGA won a case to keep the campus’s library open for 24 hours during finals week. According to a release from CUNY’s Lehman College website, this fight took place over almost three years, cycling through various SGA representatives and relying on survey statistics and resilience until their end goal was met. While some may also credit the arrival of a new president and provost, the effort put in by these students to keep the cause alive is admirable and a perfect example of what an SGA could accomplish in an ideal world.

Qualities of the ideal SGA representative

Now more than ever, Rider needs representatives who will continue to bridge the gaps between student and administrative communications. An ideal SGA candidate is someone who will be prepared to stand with students, for the good of students, and hold Rider’s administration accountable, however daunting that task may be.

Serving in an SGA position can be more than just a bump on a resume or a means to score some extra engaged learning points, and Rider students have a unique opportunity going into the upcoming year to either run for or elect candidates who will provide strong stances and enact changes for the student body.

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