Apathy with ASOSU: Student government concerns involve all students

Sean Bassinger

I and past Barometer editors have been critical of the Associated Students of Oregon State University in the past … and present.

Between impeachment trials that cite alleged acts of irresponsibility of members in the executive branch and events with little to no student population turnout (see: elections), there has been an abundance of columns, editorials and conversations that revolve around the limited capabilities of ASOSU.

My personal favorite continues to be the editorial that was coined “ASOSUseless” in 2014. I don’t even believe that’s true—I’m just a fan of the word play.

But that’s enough of the “ASOSUsual” from me.

The first personal column I wrote on the subject last year, titled “ASOSU branches: Replace nothing with something” drew on multiple occasions when student government events either seemed pointless or outright failed, whether it be due to poor attendance or a lack of outside student engagement.

I wasn’t the first person who has mentioned this (nor will I probably be the last).

But there’s another concept in each of these columns and editorials: Engagement is a two-way street.

I’ve heard arguments that range from “they’re only elected because of popularity contests among fraternities and sororities” to “the student government would work so much better with delegations from other colleges, clubs or cultural centers.”

So with these concepts in mind, I do need to ask: Where are these people?

Corruption at its core begins with apathy during times when, as a wise man named Edmund Burke once said, “good men do nothing.”

I already know there are plenty of good men and women who attend this university as students.

I commended the Student and Incidental Fees Committee for deciding to not tentatively approve two decision packages that would grant ASOSU and the SafeRide program more than $250,000 in funds for what I believe to be vague purposes.

What I neglected to touch on more was that decision package No. 3 for around $20,000 was tentatively approved with other mandatory costs. One $3,000 chunk of this fund is supposed to go toward public relations and outreach to assist ASOSU with expanding better missions for a brighter future.

The SIFC would not have approved this if they did not have any faith in the program.

And like I believe they were right to not approve the first and second decision packages, they were right to give them funds for PR and outreach.

So for institutional members and representatives of ASOSU, present and future: This is your chance to prepare for a better election.

Students at large: Get involved more if you want to see change in the system, because our government is something worth caring for on all levels.

An overall turnout of 15 percent of the student population should not be “outstanding.”

In fact, I’d wager anything below a third of us making it out to any of the poles should be abysmal.

Apathy and corruption start at the government level, but we need to remember how we’re the ones who can make shifts in the end.

If you’re really curious to see what your student government is up to, good or bad, I suggest you visit asosu.oregonstate.edu.

If you have any questions or concerns, I suggest you reach out. They’re working for you.

The opinions expressed in Bassinger’s column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Barometer Staff.

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