- July 17, 2021 10:57
By Yuichi Desquitado and Jessa Gabalones
As one of the most anticipated events inside the green and gold community, University elections are vital to exercise the voting rights and responsibilities of students. The University elections give students a chance to have a say on how they want to be led, and who they want to lead. The very act of voting allows them to contribute to how the University and its Institutes will take care of the thousands of Tamaraws it shelters.
Socrates believed that voting is a skill that requires extensive training and education to achieve mastery. For students, one great training for such skill is the university elections. Fondly, every student had experienced the fun of school elections on different scales.
Leveling up, university-wide elections are one of the most outstanding and memorable events for students, especially for the student-leaders who have participated in such an event. Different voices are given a chance to be heard while differing perspectives are discussed. The halls can be seen filled with flyers and posters containing the platform of each candidate as each witty acronymic party name carries the hope and passion of its members.
Thanks to this, students learn to become more critical as they are faced with a wide array of student leaders that are willing to serve, all with impressive credentials and plans. They do not just look at the looks or traits of the candidates, but also their convictions, opinion, and platform for different issues inside and outside the university.
University mock elections
For the 2022 Local and National Elections, different universities have conducted mock elections to determine the choice of the students in their respective schools. In some way, this reflects the current understanding and awareness of the students in universities, which is crucial as this reflects their readiness of being the future nation-builders of the country.
Last April 2, 2022, the Far Eastern University Central Student Organization (FEUCSO) posted the results of the mock election held from March 5-26, 2022. Of the 7,345 valid respondents, nine out of 10 people voted for Leni Robredo as president and four out of five people chose Kiko Pangilinan as vice-president. Moreover, FEU’s Magical 12 for senators are Chel Diokno, Risa Hontiveros, Neri Colmenares, Leila De Lima, Luke Espiritu, Teddy Baguilat, Chiz Escudero, Antonio Trillanes IV, Alex Lacson, Sonny Matula, Dick Gordon, and Elmer Labog.
The above-mentioned candidates were also seen as the choice of other mock elections, such as De La Salle University University Student Government (DLSU USG), and the University of Sto. Tomas (UST)’s The Varistarian, and University of the Philippines - Visayan College of Arts and Sciences (UPV CAS)’s’ Pagbutlak.
The students have learned to stand their ground as they carefully considered each candidate’s platform which led them to their final bet. This signifies that they have indeed honed their skills in voting as they were able to go with a candidate whose cause resonated with their values in the end.
Student-voters’ view on University elections
According to Renan Gonzales, 1st year BA Political Science student, university elections are “vital and important” as it allows them to exercise their right to vote. Moreover, this gives the Tamaraw Community a chance to have a voice by electing student-leaders that will represent communities diverse in programs, interests, and institutions.
“It inculcates our democratic process of pursuing our dignity through the ideals and core values of the student body towards sustainable solutions for our student welfare and development,” Gonzales added.
Gonzales views the role of university elections as a way to help maintain the stability of the represented body. He invites the students to “be conscious and critical” of the candidates’ platforms, stands, and principles as these determine the sustainability that the student body aims for.
“We should uphold the fortitude in solidifying their commitment to represent the student body in different issues and concerns that affects student welfare and development. Lastly, the students shall embody the uprightness in electing student leaders in their respective positions based on the accountability and common ideals that we are advocating toward a genuine and empowering student representation for our community,” Gonzales said.
As for Justine Aizel Samson, 1st year BS Applied Mathematics - Data Science Track student, university elections give us the liberty to choose which student-leader represents the scholars the best by examining and comparing them side by side. Samson believes that these student elections can help the students like her to forward and amplify their concerns to the people who need to hear such concerns.
Both Gonzales and Samson agreed that university elections also serve as a training ground for the national elections as students can practice and hone their skills in voting. Specifically, Gonzales emphasized that university elections give everyone a platform to share and understand the advocacies of the candidates and their position on in-and-out-the-university issues. For him, students develop a critical understanding that they can apply in their respective communities when voting for the local and national elections.
When asked about the ideals they are looking for in a candidate, Samson is looking for a student that can lead but is also complaisant to their constituents as they must truly represent that student’s interest.
“I am looking for a candidate who can amplify the voices of the Tamaraw, especially today as we are transitioning to a new normal. A leader has fresh ideas and solutions that can benefit the Tamaraw Community and beyond. Lastly, a candidate who is fearless, upright in advocating for good governance, and student-centered leadership development toward a brighter and more sustainable society,” answered Gonzales.
Parallelism of the University and National Elections
The main role of the student bodies in schools is to represent the student and their welfare in the scholarly setting, especially in the assembly of school officials, board of trustees, and partner institutions with which they discuss matters. Thus, selecting the right candidate for the open seats is crucial for the representation of the student.
Parallel to the outside world, it is of significance that they see the university elections as important as the national elections. It is vital that they put the same efforts into studying the track records of student leaders running for a position, as much as they spend time scrutinizing the political history of the candidates they voted for during the national elections. Most importantly, this can affect their outlook on politics and elections. Failure to recognize its essence can result in ineffective and poor results in future elections. More so, if we fail to elect the right people for the respective bodies, this can have a cascading effect on the voters, which can dismiss or stop the progress of the university or the nation as a whole.
Let us view each governmental seat as a job and not a throne to give out to people of fame and mediocrity. Progress only comes to those who have efforts to advance themselves. This might not have an immediate effect on our beloved nation, but by giving a deserving student leader a platform, a long-term investment commences. As the next generation, full of hope, this right of suffrage must be seen as a duty: when we truly honor such responsibility is when we honor the needed change in the country.
(Illustration by Mary Vel Custodio/ FEU Advocate)
Far Eastern University Central Student Organization. (2022, April 2). THE RESULTS ARE OUT! [Status Update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/feucentralstudentorganization/posts/2649237348540751