Now is time for student involvement

What are you doing at 7 p.m. Oct. 17? Watching “Friends?” Lying on your couch? Doing homework?

I just wanted to inform you that as you go about these tasks, decisions will be made that affect you. If you have ever wanted to voice your opinion at any level of government, the time to get involved is now.

I cannot think of a more important time for students to stand up for themselves than today.

Last week, on “The West Wing” it was said, “Those who show up make the decisions.”

There are meetings, events and elections occurring all around us, but for the most part, students don’t show up. Consequently, many of the ordinances, codes and laws that are voted on and implemented are missing our key voice. We make up about one fifth the population of Eau Claire, and the opportunities are finally here for us to make that apparent.

So now you know why you should get involved, what about how?

If you live off-campus, you may live in the Third Ward or Historic Randall Park neighborhoods. Both of these have very active Neighborhood Associations that meet frequently to discuss issues and vote on recommendations to the City Council. If you are a resident of one of these areas, it is imperative that you attend these meetings and provide your input because you will be affected by it. Wouldn’t you rather abide by an ordinance that you know you had a voice on?

Another important way for students to show their power is by voting. It is the simplest and easiest way to participate in government. If we can turn out amazing numbers of students to vote, then our elected representation will be forced to be more accountable to our issues. That means that they will spend more time focusing on education, tuition and financial aid levels.ÿOne way to think about this is that on Nov. 5, it is not just you going out to vote, it is the whole student movement.

So, to recap: the Historic Randall Park Neighborhood Association will meet at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15, and the Third Ward Neighborhood Association meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17. In addition, the general elections for governor and other offices take place Nov. 5.

If you need to be registered to vote, watch for booths in Schneider and Hibbard halls next week. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Student Senate office (132 Davies) at 836-4646.

As students, we are given many amazing opportunities to represent ourselves at every level of government. I strongly urge you to take advantage of these chances by attending a neighborhood meeting and getting out to vote. Encourage your friends, roommates and neighbors to do so as well because only by fulfilling our roles as citizens can we truly enjoy living in a democracy.