Time for change

The message presented so clearly by Barack Obama – and recently John McCain as well – about the need for change in this country is something that we hope to echo in a very real sense here at UVM.Just like this country under George W. Bush, UVM students have had to put up with incompetence for far too long and in this we deserve better from our student government.The Student Government Association in its current form is showing signs of aging and weakness that need to be addressed.As the University has grown over the past four years we have seen a drastic shift in student organizations; many clubs on campus are healthier than we have ever seen them, yet somehow our governing body has failed to keep up.With the number of bright, talented and committed students at this University, it is a shame that the body that is charged with representing the student body and distributing club funding is falling behind in its ability to adequately represent our concerns to the administration, and foster the development of such an actively thriving student body.Thus, we are calling for a complete restructuring of the Student Government Association. It is time to radically change the SGA – not to punish those involved, but so that the many talents contained within the governing council can be efficiently and effectively put to use.We need to do away with all of the red tape surrounding the SGA funds we finance through our tuition and the pointless bureaucracy and paperwork to gain access to the resources that are rightly ours.Many of the SGA’s problems may have to do with a cultural change here at UVM. As is evidenced in last semester’s elections when just 715 students voted, the majority of students do not care about who represents them in the SGA senate and many do not feel that they are well represented.And with close to $40,000 being annually paid to SGA leadership, continuing to support this body in its current form represents a substantial drain on UVM’s coffers.It is reasonable, then, for us to expect a very high level of efficiency and professionalism within the organization that we have not witnessed for a number of years now.Given that the SGA’s primary responsibility revolves around doling out funding to the various recognized clubs on campus, perhaps it would make sense for these clubs to have a greater say in the process.Here is one suggestion: instead of directly electing SGA members, representation could come out of the individual campus organizations. Club leaders around campus would need to step up even further to lead the University forward, but cooperation on this level might encourage a greater level of integration and professionalism among all of the University’s clubs and organizations, resulting in higher levels of participation and quality coming from the students here at UVM.This suggestion could certainly only be a tiny fragment of a restructured SGA, but we are confident that there is a better method carrying out SGA duties than the current system offers.But we cannot expect to see this accomplished without input and ideas from the community.The staff of The Cynic would therefore like to encourage the community to submit their recommendations for how they would like to see the SGA changed.Perhaps if enough minds come together, we can craft a comprehensive and fair plan to address this pressing – and expensive – campus issue.