The Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) will convene for the first time this year on October 10, and some BSG Executive Officers have already begun to make good on last year’s campaign promises. This week, BSG Vice President (VP) of Sustainability Tessa Kramer succeeded in her goal of improving the Bowdoin Shuttle system. It is a strong first step, and we applaud her effort to follow through with her platform. We hope other BSG officers will similarly actualize the proposals they ran on, and we encourage students to hold representatives accountable for their actions, or lack thereof.
When they ran for office last spring, BSG President Dani Chediak and VP for Academic Affairs Leah Greenberg both promised to push back the Credit/D/Fail deadline. Chediak also prioritized creating free meal passes for guests and working with the Career Planning Center to organize standardized test prep classes. VP for Student Affairs Sarah Levin said she would push for more diverse College House programs, and VP for the Treasury Charlie Cubeta promised a fair and transparent process for funding student organizations. We look forward to seeing each senior officer pursue these goals, but recognize that they cannot single-handedly implement these changes.
The newly elected class council members also made significant pledges to their classmates. Senior Class President Melody Hahm promised to coordinate networking events with alumni and mixers with Bates and Colby. Robo Tavel became president of the first year class without a substantive platform, but we hope he channels the enthusiasm of his campaign into concrete action.
It’s easy to be skeptical about student government and to ignore BSG intitiatives. But civic participation has never been easier: with a dynamic new website and @bsgpresident Twitter account, the BSG is better equipped to interact with the community and govern transparently than ever before. A “Speak Up!” tab on the new site invites students to post and discuss suggestions for the assembly. While all students are invited to attend weekly BSG meetings on Wednesday nights in Daggett Lounge, you don’t need to show up at Thorne to have your voice heard.
The class council elections were just the beginning of a politically-charged fall. November 6 is 39 days away, and important referendums are on the ballot in Maine. Question 1 would overturn the state’s 2009 ban on same-sex marriage, and Questions 2 through 6 are measures that would issue millions in bonds for infrastructure repair and expanding Maine’s community college system. The latest Rasmussen poll shows Angus King ahead by 12 points in the Senate race, a marked decrease from his 30-point lead June, according to The Morning Sentinel. If he wins, King will head to Washington as an Independent with real leverage to address the concerns of Maine residents. With a narrow gap between President Obama and Governor Romney in the presidential race, the outcome in November will shape what the world looks like when we when we leave the Bowdoin Pines.
Students can vote in Maine or in their home state, and where you cast your ballot is a personal choice. But it is not one to be taken lightly, and being far from home is no excuse. Absentee ballots will be available at the Office of Residential Life beginning on October 5, and students can register on campus as Maine voters through October 11.
Elected national, state, and student officials have an obligation to pursue their campaign promises. As their constituents, we have a responsibility to remain involved and keep the pressure on. Whether on Twitter, in the dining hall, or in print, let’s stay engaged.
The editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Claire Aasen, Erica Berry, Linda Kinstler, and Eliza Novick-Smith.