Election season is already in the air, just over halfway through the quarter; strangers shove petitions under your nose at breakfast and peers you vaguely recognize beg you to support their campaign on Facebook.
But what exactly are you running for? Undergraduate Senate? Sounds cool.
Wait, what do you do, exactly?
You certainly won’t find that information on the Senate website, which exists, at least (something you couldn’t have said for most of 2011), but with distorted pictures, missing bios and no substantial news about anything the Senate does.
So when you ask me to sign this petition, what exactly am I supporting you to do?
I know that the Senate meets regularly and works very hard to discuss important issues that affect all of us. But neither I nor my fellow freshmen know what any of these issues are.
They don’t even bother to type up 140 characters every time they meet to describe what they talked about: the ASSU Senate Twitter feed has all of 15 tweets and two followers.
That’s just the Senate, which in my very unscientific poll of the Burbank lounge already has a significantly better reputation than the Executive, whose mention draws confused looks and three initials: “SMD?”
They refer of course to ASSU Vice-President Stewart Macgregor-Dennis ’13, infamous in freshman dorms for a series of “creeper” emails he sent us in October asking to meet personally to continue nonexistent correspondences.
To be fair, Mr. Macgregor-Dennis has been doing a lot right. The ASSU Executive website looks professional and updated (though you’ll soon realize that there are only six accessible posts, none before Jan. 25). There’s also a graph that shows what the Executive team has been up to.
On Jan. 18, they celebrated their “Halftime Highlights,” illustrating their 39 percent completion of a platform that includes such accomplishments as “facilitate communication between…groups” and “place vegetarian…options closer to the center of the entree lines.” Their new social calendar is a very cool idea. Congratulations, team.
But it was not always such smooth sailing. First, the new Division of Internal Review couldn’t get off the ground. Then the Executive lost their paid Chief of Staff. Somewhere in between, there was a hitch in the Community Action Board.
I’m sure the ASSU does awesome things. Just yesterday a friend of mine pointed to E2.0 and the great work they’re doing to help entrepreneurs at Stanford. I’d link to their page, but they don’t seem to have a website. Their first Google hit is a story about how they’re actually not a part of the ASSU anymore.
Amidst reports of mysterious funds worth hundreds of thousands of dollars conspicuously missing from the ASSU’s records — that’s your money, folks — all I ask is for the ASSU to just tell us about the great things I know they’re doing. Put Community Action Board-sponsored events on the corresponding website. Give us something to look for; let us know what you have in store. Only then will you have any meaningful impact in the lives of Stanford students.
We genuinely want to hear from our student leaders and get involved. On your website, on Facebook, on a 40-page PDF document, on this page. We want to hear your ideas; we want to know what to look forward to because we know you have so much planned.
This may be too much to ask of this year’s ASSU leaders, who, with history as my witness, took the better part of a quarter to create a bare-bones website. But all I ask of my clipboard-bearing, signature-begging, promise-making peers running for the ASSU this spring is that they find a good way to let us know what they’re up to.
It may be a wild idea, but that would go a long way in the ASSU’s self-actualization.
Any other bubbles that need bursting? Ed wants to hear from you. Email him at edngai “at” stanford “dot” edu or tweet him @edngai.