Fordham Administration Must Value Student Leaders


This year, only one pair of candidates is running on the executive ticket for United Student Government (USG) President and Vice President. Across the board, many candidates are running uncontested. Six out of eight of the Vice President positions are without any competition.

The executive board of The Fordham Ram is simultaneously surprised by and sympathetic of the low yield for this year’s USG election candidates.

On one hand, a USG representative must balance the roles of leader and student. This line can sometimes become blurred, leaving representatives in the difficult but common position of trying to prioritize both identities. Student representatives must sometimes fill shoes larger than they initially signed up for.

Many undergraduates may not be willing to take on some of the more difficult roles in student government, especially considering they are not compensated and include very busy schedules.

On the other hand, Fordham has a large wealth of students pursuing majors under the interdisciplinary umbrella of political science, economics or business who have aspirations to pursue careers in government, advocacy or development following graduation.

Similar to how we at The Fordham Ram encourage students in the communications and media studies department to write for our newspaper, we feel that USG presents an invaluable opportunity for students to get hands-on experience in their area of academic and professional interest.

In these positions, students can serve as advocates within their own collegiate community. Representatives have access to members of the university administration in a manner that normal students simply do not. This access gives them a tremendous opportunity to engage in important conversations with class deans and administrators in order to positively influence their peers’ academic and extracurricular environment.

Bearing these points in mind, the executive board of The Fordham Ram encourages the administration to acknowledge and empower the work that USG does on our campus.

We are optimistic that support and exposure will encourage more students to run for leadership positions in the future. It is only through increased exposure and support that students will see that elected representatives are not stagnant individuals in positions of power, but instead motivated people actively seeking to bring out real change on our campus.

The university needs to value members of student government and equip elected representatives with the necessary resources to govern their peers.

We strongly believe that Fordham should bolster the size of OSI’s staff. This would improve resources for students and make some leader positions more palatable.
At the end of the day, USG is the voice of Fordham students, for Fordham students. We must view our elected representatives as the advocates that they are and can continue to be.

USG holds office hours and its door remains very open. But until students are made aware of this resource and actually take advantage of it, the relationship between student representatives and the collegiate body they govern will not improve.

Although the executive board at The Fordham Ram did not have to endorse a specific executive ticket this year due to Connor Sullivan, FCRH ’19, and Kaylee Wong, GSB ’20, unopposed campaign, we have full confidence that this pair will spearhead instrumental initiatives on our campus.

Proactivity and empathy are at the forefront of Sullivan and Wong’s platform. As president and vice president, they want to ensure that there is a clear and constant direction within USG, as well as a continuous level of awareness and respect for others at Fordham.

They plan to emphasize transparency in order to make USG more visible and encourage students to take advantage of their elected representatives who can advocate for various causes on their behalf.

Sullivan and Wong are also dedicated to forming better relationships between club leaders and USG representatives. They would like to assign a certain amount of clubs to individual senators in an effort to streamline the process and increase communication.

Whether it is ensuring that every recycling can has a clear plastic bag so its contents can actually be reused or creating a new committee to successfully communicate USG’s availability to students, Sullivan and Wong have emphasized that they will work together to improve Fordham in a tangible and long-term way.

The executive board of The Fordham Ram endorses Sullivan and Wong’s executive ticket. We also look forward to the leadership of many of the future senators and vice presidents.

We are hopeful that with the student body and administration’s increased support for Fordham’s primary governing body, United Student Government will operate with increased effectiveness.