Why this SGA election matters

By Katherine Swanson

I have spent my entire time at the University of Maryland involved in the Student Government Association in different capacities. I started out on the Finance Committee, became the director of student groups the following year and now serve as the vice president of student affairs.

This year, I am running for student body president with the Bold Party. As The Diamondback editorial board said in its column, I am running unopposed. The board seems to think this means this election doesn’t matter. I respectfully disagree.

For me, this election season is about making students aware of who I am, what I want to do and how I can help them. Student advocacy is truly important. Far too often, I watch students on our campus struggle because they have not been given the resources they need to succeed at our university. I want to make life on this campus better for students. I want to make our school one that truly builds its students up to be their best selves, which I believe should be the primary goal of an institution of higher education.

I firmly believe that we are here to learn not only about government, economics, engineering or any other academic subject, but also about how to build relationships, learn self-care and understand the world around us. I have worked with my ticket to build a platform around this belief. Among the many pages, you will find projects like the Student Leadership Grant, a proposal to use part of the SGA’s legislative reserves to fund scholarships for student leaders who may be financially in need so that they may be able to work fewer hours and focus more on pursuing leadership positions and their own professional development. You will find plans to expand the number of free counseling sessions students are provided each semester, so that you may be fully treated for any mental health issues you may face while on our campus. You will find plans to create a UMD Latinx Cultural Center, so that we may create more spaces on the campus for all members of our student body. These are just a few of the things we hope to make a reality at this university.

My ticket and I had always intended to run a positive campaign and looked forward to the meaningful discourse a contested election provides. However, we don’t need competition to make this election season meaningful. We still have the opportunity to talk to students and discover what issues matter most to them. To me, that makes this election season important. Campaigning gives us the opportunity to connect with students and begin to create a better relationship between them and the SGA. That is why we are still out on the campus every day canvassing and actively participating in town halls and open forums.

I believe in making our campus a better place and I am dedicated to ensuring more voices on this campus are heard and empowered by the SGA. Whether you’re voting for me or not, I hope you’ll get to know me and my ticket. We want to hear your voices, and we’re ready to make the SGA and our campus the absolute best it can be.

Katherine Swanson, Bold Party candidate for student body president, is a junior government and politics major. She can be reached at kswanson@terpmail.umd.edu.

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