Campaigns for Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) and class officer positions are about to begin. Interested students must file petitions for candidacy by Wednesday evening in order to run for office. BSG has not given students a lot of time to consider their candidacies and prepare their petitions; however, we hope that this will not dissuade students from giving electoral politics a try.

Too often the outcomes of student government races are known before the election even begins, because unopposed candidates are able to sail into office without competition. A healthy democratic community depends on the give-and-take of ideas, both good and bad. When we have a system without debate and competition, there often exists a dearth of new ideas?or if ideas are proposed, they do not come into fruition at all.

The problem, of course, is that it is easy to complain about student government, but it is harder to take action. Like all elected offices, the campaign is only the beginning. Actually being an effective BSG member or class officer requires a significant commitment throughout the year. But the rewards can also be significant. Student government members can take pride in knowing that they are learning about the rigors of politics while acting as leaders for the student body.

We urge students of all backgrounds and of all academic interests to consider running for student government office. Some members of this year's body who are running for re-election will present tough opposition. But in the end?no matter who is elected?we all gain when there is healthy and vigorous debate and competition in our political system.

The editorials represent the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient?s editorial board. The editorial board is comprised of James D. Baumberger, Drew Fulton, Bobby Guerette, Evan S. Kohn, and Beth Kowitt.