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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Guest Contribution: Go out and vote

Help shape student advocacy by voting in student elections on Feb. 29.
Photo by Ashely Bautista
(Left to right) Junior Finance major Cade Coppinger, Junior Political Science major Ben Crockett, Junior Finance major Luke Kohler, Junior Mechatronics Engineering major Ankit Lulla, Junior Industrial Distribution major Val McNeill, and Junior Society Ethics and Law major Carter J. Ostrom posed at the Student Body President Debate in the MSC Flag Room on Thursday Feb. 22, 2024. (Photo by Ashely Bautista)

Student government elections are a time when our social media is filled with campaigns, all hoping to garner your vote come Feb. 29. 

The following is a quick crash course on student government and why your vote matters in this election. 

The Student Government Association, or SGA, in its most basic form, exists to serve and represent all students at Texas A&M University. Composed of the executive, judicial and legislative branches, they all continuously work for the betterment of the student life here at A&M. While it may not always seem apparent, a representative from SGA typically provides student input to the administration or our university stakeholders regarding decisions that can affect dining, transportation services, academic affairs, mental health resources, student housing and so much more. 

The two branches that students directly influence are the executive and legislative branches. The Student Body President, or SBP, is, of course, the most well-known election as they are the ones that represent the student body to those at the system level, the top of the administration and the heads of our other university stakeholders. 

The SBP also organizes their Executive Cabinet, which works alongside the SBP to ensure the Student Senate legislation is implemented and other SGA activities are coordinated. Having interacted with different SBPs over the past couple of years, I can say they are frequently the first to be reached when making decisions that will affect the student experience. An extension of the executive branch is the four commissions and 13 different committees that are part of SGA. 

While the SBP election is the most well-known, I would like to highlight the Student Senate elections, the legislative branch of SGA. 

The Student Senate, for those who may not be familiar with SGA, is “the voice of the student body.” There are three main types of legislation that the Senate can pass: acts, bills and resolutions. An act is a change to the SGA code, a bill is a binding statement that would require a particular action be taken by a part or whole of the SGA and a resolution is a non-binding statement of opinion of the Student Senate. 

Beyond the legislation, the Senate confirms the members of the president’s cabinet, student representatives to university committees and the justices for the SGA judicial branch. Moreover, each senator serves on a Senate Committee that interfaces with those concerned with our university. It is in the various Senate Committees where most advocacy work occurs behind the scenes. 

With a brief overview of what the SGA does and the impact it can have on improving our campus, the importance of your vote cannot be overstated. This Feb. 29, a vote in the student government elections is your opportunity to help shape student input and advocacy on our campus. 

So, what can you do? In my opinion, I would do the following. First, I would educate myself on who each candidate is, what they stand for and how they plan to represent me. Ultimately, I would cast my vote for those who understand the diverse voices and backgrounds of our campus. Having a student government filled with those who recognize our campus is a melting pot ensures that students of all backgrounds and differing opinions are properly represented. 

Next, I would cast my vote for those who embody and follow our Aggie Core Values; after all, “they are guideposts we live by and show in our words and deeds.” The Aggie Core Values also unify all Aggies, current and former, together. 

Finally, I would vote. I would vote with conviction, knowing that I am contributing to the voice of the student body. Knowing that I am supporting those who will support all Aggies on our campus.

Marcus Glass is the Speaker of the Student Senate and guest contributor for The Battalion.

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