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Columbia Spectator Staff

Interested candidates are currently forming their "parties" for the upcoming student council elections. In all likelihood, these elections will include mainly students who are already involved with student government, and next year's open forums, committees, and community-building events will feature the same people in attendance. Most students acknowledge this, and while many have opinions about the policies of the Columbia College Student Council, few, if any, will run. Perhaps they should. It should be noted that the current CCSC Executive Board has only one member—president Sue Yang, CC '10—who had participated in student government prior to running. It is to Yang's credit that her Action Potential Party brought new faces to council leadership, but that does not change the fact that the election was uncontested. Nor does it change the fact that open council meetings and study breaks alike are regularly attended by the same people, the vast majority of whom are themselves council members. There are two main causes of this sweeping disinterest in council elections. The first is general apathy toward student government. It is remarkable that, at a school as politically engaged as Columbia, where students act as though they have the capacity to incite change on both a national and international level, undergraduates do not care about the level of government at which they could arguably have the greatest impact. Students who want to effect change should consider where that change can realistically be made. Fresh faces bring fresh ideas, and new people bring new perspectives. The second reason is a perception of the councils as closed communities. Because the same faces show up again and again, many students come to believe that campus politics are unwelcoming to outsiders. This is a sentiment unworthy of the student body of Barack Obama's alma mater. Any student who wants to make a difference and is interested in student council—even if that interest is simply in making the councils something in which people are actually interested—should run. It's entirely possible that they won't win, but the surest way not to win is not to enter the race. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story referred to Sue Yang's party as the Clear Party. The correct name is the Action Potential Party. Spectator regrets the error.

Staff Editorial CCSC
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