September 24, 2018 | ° F

Vote in RUSA elections, have your voice heard

Today is the day that you can get involved as a member of the Rutgers University Student Assembly. A mandatory information session will be held for all students who are interested in running for a position on RUSA at 7 p.m. today in Room 410 of the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus. The Elections Committee will discuss and answer questions about the timeline of the RUSA election. Students will also be provided with RUSA's election's guidelines, which discuss the rules that govern the election, and they will be asked to submit their Declaration of Intent to Run, which is a document that allows the student to declare their interest in participating as a candidate. Attendance is mandatory for all students who seek candidacy. Students who are unable to make it may send a proxy. A proxy is simply an individual who does something on behalf of someone else. The proxy must come with a copy of the Declaration of Intent to Run that is signed by the candidate. The document is available online at Once candidates have submitted their declarations at the end of the elections information session, they may begin to actively campaign.  

It is my hope that many students, including you, will get involved with RUSA this year. RUSA is the undergraduate student governing association of Rutgers University-New Brunswick. It works to address students concerns about academic and university services, as well as broader legislative issues on both the state and the federal level that affect higher education.

An organization with such a broad and important mission needs rising student leaders to steer it in the right direction. Only through the involvement of committed University students can RUSA's potential be realized. This year, students, using their positions of influence in RUSA, were able to influence University administrators to eliminate a ban on bake sales in academic buildings and secure parking passes for student leaders. They took action to challenge cuts made to the funding of state programs that provide students with much needed financial aid, and they pressured federal lawmakers to oppose discriminatory blood bans and cuts to an important program that allow University graduates to close the educational achievement gap. Far from simply meeting to organize a bake sale or debating about irrelevant topics in Hardenbergh Residence Hall, students who were a part of RUSA made a real impact on campus. By joining student government, any student can make this kind of impact on the university, state and federal levels.

RUSA not only provides students with an opportunity to make a meaningful and substantial impact on their community, but it also gives students many leadership experiences that future employers will value. Having gone on interviews and secured a job, I can honestly say that employers were very impressed with my experiences in RUSA, where I worked on a team to make a tangible difference in the lives of others.  Employers value job candidates who now how to work on a team, who are organized, who now how to convince and engage others and who have experience attaining measurable results. These qualities are important in the workplace, and RUSA offers students the opportunity to gain these qualities.

In addition to performing meaningful work and gaining invaluable work experience, students will also walk away with friendships that will last them a lifetime. Throughout my own time in RUSA, I have met several very good friends. I realize that were it not for us having the opportunity to meet each other and work together in RUSA, I would not know many of these individuals as well as I do today.

This year's election will be the most exciting election yet. For the first time in University history, students will be able to have a say in who represents them in this important organization. As candidates begin to campaign this week, students will see their faces and hear their voices as they attempt to get out the vote. Students will be able to see the candidates for the office of president face off in a debate at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and speak with them during a reception following the debate. And on election day, students who enter each and every campus center will be enthusiastically encouraged to vote by outgoing members of RUSA.

By coming to today's mandatory information session at 7 p.m., you can become a part of this exciting election. By joining student government, you can make a measurable impact, gain invaluable work experience and make good friends along the way as a member of RUSA. By making the decision to run for a position on student today, you can take your future into your own hands.

Ben West is a Rutgers College senior majoring in political science. He is chairperson of RUSA's Elections Committee and encourages you to visit for more information.

Ben West

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