Get involved! Politics in school and life

Pat Gareau, Creative Editor

Last week was a busy one for Hudson Valley’s student government, with new officers being elected for next year. The elections on our campus speak to a truth that is common across society:

There is low involvement in the political process and community development

146 students voted in last week’s election. This represents under two percent of total enrollment at Hudson Valley, and is a typical turnout for spring elections.

At a “meet the candidates session” on Monday, each of the winners-to-be identified increasing student involvement as a priority in the next year. If the low number of students voting is any indication, it is a difficult task to create a culture of community involvement on campus.

Hudson Valley does have a significant number of students participating in extracurricular activities, but even those that are active in the campus community are for the most part within a smaller subset of active students that doesn’t collaborate often outside of their group.

This is not as much a problem on campus at Hudson Valley but in our society as a whole. We don’t have a strong cultural norm of a shared purpose for the community around us.

Voter turnout, even in Presidential elections, is under 70 percent. For those 18-25 years old, voter turnout peaked at 51 percent in 2008 but dropped back down to 45 percent in 2012.

In non-presidential years, well under a quarter of eligible voters under 25 vote.

Politics may not be the best example, because it is often so ridiculous and frustrating that people see no point in going to vote. But there are other indicators that show people rarely devote time to making their communities better, such as the approximately 75 percent of people that do not volunteer.

Voting is a way to put into action any thinking one may do on how to make their society or community better. An even more effective way is to contact those who hold office in the government or to spend time in action pursuing a good cause.

Higher rates of involvement in the community as a rule is a good step toward addressing some of the large problems that today’s students will be facing throughout their lifetimes. Attempting to move the trend in this direction at Hudson Valley can only benefit the Capital Region in the future.

Voting and political involvement is a component of this. A more active and diligent electorate can only mean a higher standard of governance and a better problem solving process.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: