Another year, but not just another EC election

Jamie Archie, Opinions Writer

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The last several weeks, we had momentous events on campus: Executive Committee elections. While many other universities hold elections for student governance, Washington and Lee’s elections really do play an important role in our daily routine. Our student governance has an immense and important impact on our school. But, as we continue onward, it is important for us to see where we stand.

This year, we saw a number of women elected to significant roles. Many women now occupy roles that have previously remained male-dominated. The EC president for the next year will be Elizabeth Mugo, ‘19, the vice president will be Grace Smith, ‘20, and the secretary will be Gabriella Miggins, ‘19. All are important roles on the EC. All now held by women. Each class also has one woman representing it for next  year: Anna Daccache, ‘19, Hannah Archer, ‘20, and Graysen Doran, ‘21.

I congratulate everyone who competed in the hard-fought elections. And while no one deserves a position over the other based purely on gender alone, it is refreshing to see the student body more accurately represented in the upcoming year.

Still, I think we, the student body, could improve ourselves in a number of ways. The school would benefit as a whole if more students took the elections more earnestly and thought consciously about the stances they are voting for. I hear a number of students mention they are voting for a candidate because they know the candidate personally or have mutual friends. And while supporting your friends is great and should be encouraged, students should be conscious of candidates’ platforms.

Many platforms overlap, emphasizing goals, transparency or efficiency. I encourage students to not only personally ruminate on, but also discuss with each other, what they want out of their government in future elections.

It is easy to stay complacent with a government that largely remains relatively consistent year-in and year-out. However, the best way to get the most out of our government is to consciously think about what we want from our leaders. And when two platforms do overlap, asking the candidates themselves about their specific policy ideas should be the next step. The similarity in campaigns can lead to redundancy, and rather than deciding on a candidate for arbitrary reasons, dig deeper into each platform to truly understand what you are voting for.

Additionally, the EC recently voted on proposed updates to the White Book. While the opportunity has passed for the student body to offer personal feedback on the proposed changes, I urge my fellow classmates to read over the proposed White Book changes for the upcoming year. The White Book lays the groundwork for our community, and if we do not take the time to fully understand it, then how can we effectively understand the makeup of our community?

We are given a unique opportunity here that many other colleges around the country do not share. We cherish our Honor System and take pride in our values. But we must remain conscientious and meticulous when choosing how we vote and implement changes to our system, all so that the community we build actively reflects the ideals we hold.