Op/ed: Students want programming, not SG politics

We are the directors of the Student Union Board (SUB) and the Kennedy Political Union (KPU). We plan and execute the programming of SUB and KPU.

We collaborate to provide the AU community with the best possible programming experience with the limited funds we receive. We bring in artists like Lupe Fiasco and speakers like Anderson Cooper, and we’re currently planning other awesome events for the future.

As directors of departments that fall under the Vice President’s cabinet, we have decided not to endorse any candidate in this special election. Regardless of the outcome, we hope that the newly elected VP helps us continue our mission of top-notch programming on campus, now and in the future.

The role of the VP would be much more influential if it were just the two of us working under him/her, but in reality we lead two staffs comprised of more than 20 diverse students from all walks of life at AU. Our programming itself is also diverse. We make decisions in teams, and we don’t take our decisions lightly. We calculate everything, and for the first time in years, we’ve made it a priority to receive and value student input.

The VP’s cabinet of Student Government has three main programming departments: SUB, KPU and Founder’s Day. SUB and KPU plan events months in advance in order to secure the best talent and fees. Founder’s Day plans have been in the making since the summer, and it would not be possible without the efforts of one individual: Abigail Finn, Director of Founder’s Day. It is the directors that plan and execute such programming, not the VP.

The special election for VP implies that the candidates can change programming strategy immediately, but this is not the case at all. A vice president who is elected in May of the previous academic year has the opportunity to be a visionary and a pioneer in programming for the following year. However, a candidate taking office almost three quarters into an academic year simply does not have the same opportunity to do so.

We are strong believers in innovative programming, and the events executed by SUB and KPU this year prove that. SUB and KPU will strive to continue the success of this academic year, which was highlighted by record-setting attendance at our events. We also hope to receive support from the newly elected VP to execute the events we have already planned.

We always recognize areas of improvement, and we’re proud of the ways that we have recently improved. Despite this, one of the largest challenges we face is a lack of adequate funding to meet the student body’s expectations. The VP must advocate an increase in the amount of funding that goes to our departments instead of reallocating funding elsewhere. We must increase our funding to compete with the programming experiences at our peer institutions.

Noah Gray is a senior in the School of Communication and Chandler Thornton is a junior in the School of Public Affairs.

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