Duke Student Government is an insular and selective campus organization that brands itself with quarter zips, armies of senators, shiny ideas and initiatives that look great on Linkedin and in photographs (bike-share anyone?). Meanwhile, the “News” section on their website that has not been updated since last winter.
Working on Sophomore Class Council, I have seen many of the realities of campus programming: Take this lump sum of money (enough to purchase two small homes in Michigan). Go improve the “Sophomore Year Experience.”
Let me be blunt. Nothing within purchasing power can enhance the “Sophomore Year Experience.”
The fact that DSG even has a $200,000 surplus is absurd. Meanwhile there are so many student groups jostling for funding, alongside students worrying about how they, and not their parents, will pay the tuition bill. Sure, “DSG” has launched the “Pitch-a-project” campaign; but aren’t our “student leaders” supposed to pitch these projects and bring them into fruition or lay them out before the administration?
Senators and a hoard of Vice Presidents create their own initiatives and pursue their own interests after being elected by the student body. An authentic Duke Student Government ought to create initiatives, make ideas, “Pitch-many-projects” and share them with the students—and have the students vote on what we as a community would like to see happen.
“DSG”, at best, is a symbol for student engagement. Elections for “DSG” President are coming within the next weeks. These elections were not even publicized or marketed thoroughly to the Duke student body: as a result, three current DSG insiders are running.
I’m embarrassed but not surprised. Reform needs to come from an external, personal push: positive peer pressure. As a student body, we need to recognize the fact that we have to hold this organization accountable for what they do—and don’t do.
If I choose to vote in the “DSG” elections, it will be on a platform of reform.
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