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UCSU leaders say an overwhelming majority of students are uninvolved and do not care about what happens in their student government.
“You’ve got a lot of students who do care about UCSU and know what’s going on, but you’ve got a lot more who don’t care and don’t know,” said Hadley Brown, a fifth-year senior English major and UCSU Tri-executive.
Brown said not only are students not interested in what UCSU is doing, but also they’re not active on the campus at large.
“I think it’s part of a larger problem,” Brown said. “Students are not being engaged in the campus community.”
Peter Landi, a senior chemical engineering major, said that while he tries to vote in the UCSU elections each fall and spring, he could be more informed on what UCSU is doing on a day-to-day basis.
“I don’t follow (UCSU) as much as I should or could,” Landi said. “It’s more important to some students than others.”
Landi also said that he feels UCSU does not affect his daily campus activities, but that students could figure out what UCSU is doing if they felt like it.
“Not many of their decisions affect me directly,” he said. “If students want to know what’s going on they have their ways of finding out.”
John Sharza, a senior political science major and UCSU diversity director, said that UCSU actually has a very significant impact on students. He pointed out that UCSU decides what to do with the fees every CU student pays every semester.
“Your education is an investment,” Sharza said. “You should know where and how your money is being spent.”
Jeremy Adair, a sophomore open-option major, said that UCSU could do a better job telling students what exactly they do that affects them. Adair said that UCSU could list current issues somewhere on CUConnect or send out a periodic bulletin to students detailing what they have been doing recently.
“Something like the State of the Union, only more like a State of the Government,” Adair said.
Adair also said that the one aspect of UCSU he cares about is where his money is going, but that he still was not as informed as he could be.
“I do care . because it’s my student fees, but not enough to pay much attention,” he said.
Sharza and Brown both said UCSU is also important to students because it serves as their representation to the university administration and to other important groups such as the state legislature.
“UCSU is the organization best positioned to be an advocate for students,” Brown said.
Sharza added that it was frustrating that students do not always pay attention to what’s going on, but that he had learned to take it in stride.
“It does frustrate me, but in my position you’ve got to be optimistic, you’ve got to be positive,” Sharza said. “I don’t expect students to be politically active as I am or want them to be.”
Craig Downing, a senior MCD biology major, said that UCSU alienates some students because they are too political.
“It seems like most of the things they do are so overly political they drive people away,” Downing said. “I’d like to see more activities centered around the community at CU.”
Brown said that student involvement in UCSU was integrally important to the campus, and that she would like to see grassroots forming from UCSU.
“There really is opportunity for students to become more empowered (on campus), and UCSU is one of those avenues,” she said.
Sharza also said that student activism is important to campus culture, stressing that students may have more power than they realize.
“Students don’t realize how strong their voice is,” he said, “We’re elected to be (the students’) voice.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Rob Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org