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Reasons to Join Student Government

student goverment
I loved some aspects of being a student government representative; we did manage to achieve some useful goals. But it wasn't all worthwhile; looking back, I can now see how much of a mess it was at times. Things often got out of hand; too many people were in it for their own reasons. You'd think they were running for Congress, the way they let their egos take over. I wanted to remind people that they were in student government, not Washington!

After a while, I gave up on student politics, as I could see that I was wasting my time and energy on people who had their own agenda. Because of this, we were unable to make as much of an impact as I would have liked. You should go into student government because you want to help your fellow students, not because you want a fancy title to slap on your resume. 

There are far more positive reasons to campaign for student government than making yourself feel important, so bear the following in mind:

1. What are the real issues?

You're there to represent the students on campus, not change the world. So focus on the smaller picture. Find out what they want changed, what their problems are, and work to do something about it. Forget about your personal agenda; you can work on those things later. For now, you need to deal with the issues affecting your fellow students. That's what they're electing you to do, not try to change the world.

2. Look for positions where you can make a real difference

Campus politics is often about maintaining the status quo; you see the same process over and over again. Students want to climb to the top and feel important. Stay away from this side of politics and look for a position where you can actually make a difference. Let other students be 'professional politicians'. Sometimes the less flashy job title is the one that will allow you to be far more effective.

3. You're representing students - people like yourself

Again, keep a sense of perspective. You're campaigning to represent your peers, not to be elected President of the USA. It's important in its own way, but on a limited scale. The world won't come to an end if you don't win (for you or anyone), and it won't damage your future career. So don't take it over seriously and act like the result is world-shatteringly important. You'll survive if you won't win! Don't push people to vote for you; that will only annoy them. Win votes by impressing people with your enthusiasm for making a difference, not by harassing them into voting for you.

4. Be sincere, not flashy

Too many would-be student reps employ flashy tactics to get the attention of their voters. They feel that they won't stand out unless they put on an eye-catching costume and parade through campus shouting slogans. It's infantile and gives the impression that they don't really take the issues seriously. They put on ridiculous campaigns that smack more of Halloween festivities than an interest in real issues. Instead of attention-grabbing stunts, show students that you genuinely want to make a change on campus. What do you think could be improved? Where could you make a difference? A sincere and mature approach is how to get people's attention, not with a silly slogan and YouTube-style stunts.

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