Undergraduate Student Government needs huge makeover in order to improve University

Tyler Buchanan and Tyler Buchanan

So it seems members of Undergraduate Student Government want to raise awareness.

Awareness of what? I doubt even they know.

The BG News reported that the organization recently acted out a mock presentation of what USG members hope to say when reaching out to student groups.

What a perfect metaphor: a pretend demonstration given at a pretend meeting of a student government that pretends to mean anything.

USG involving itself with other student organizations is not an inherently laughable proposal. What is laughable is the pretense that USG’s influence would be improved if students knew more about its current state of affairs.

Sentient students know USG exists. As with quantum physics, the more students learn about USG, the less they care. And the reason nobody cares is because they correctly assume paying attention to USG in its current form is a waste of time.

Senators can give 1,000 student group presentations, but it will never change this fact: fundamentally, the group does not matter.

I don’t argue this in a joking or hyperbolic way. I mean literally, USG cannot directly influence university policy or actions.

The resolutions are not binding. The decisions are not official.

If you don’t believe me, ask Dean of Students Jodi Webb. She told The BG News last December that USG resolutions are merely supposed to represent the “formal stance” of what students think on a particular issue.

If the University wants to, it can go along with that resolution. Or not.

If you still don’t believe me, take a guess at what would happen if USG suddenly went rogue and voted to lower tuition and offered all professors a tenure track.

USG needs to change and I don’t mean that it should be given actual power to wield around. If last year’s escapade of attempting to take editorial control of The BG News is any indication, maybe the ceremonial role is a necessary one.

My message to USG is clear: Stop pretending your influence is literal. This does not serve members well, nor does it inspire much confidence from the student body.

The number of people who vote each year for USG elections is like negative 238 and there hasn’t been a contested USG presidential race since the moon landing.

Members should also stop considering it a success anytime the University plays along with the whole ruse. Administrators occasionally side with you the way a parent buys an Easy Bake Oven when a child whines too much about wanting to cook. Let’s not pretend that these University concessions are the norm, though. Those in actual power will make real decisions based on real financial and political interests.

These interests exist way beyond a couple of freshman basket-weaving majors passing another dopey resolution.

USG would be a lot better off if members learned the value of self-awareness and used the group’s unofficial influence in tangible ways. It’s not hard!

Be champions of the fight against sexual assault on campus. Be spokespersons for the fight against rising tuition costs and bloated student loans. Shine a spotlight on student services that are sadly under-utilized and under-appreciated [things like the Counseling Center come to mind].

Bowling Green doesn’t need a student government where the goal is to run newspapers and earn shiny, gold resume stars. Bowling Green doesn’t need a student government focused on fake, impersonal ideas like improved “engagement” and greater “awareness.”

There’s still time to figure this out. Otherwise, have fun and good luck convincing the Trapeze Enthusiasts Club that you mean something.

You’re going to need it.