By Meredith Jarchow, Sean Kelly, Brett Zallek and Nick Swanson

“Our View” is prepared by the Executive board and should be considered the institutional voice of The Record

This past Monday, well over 100 Bennies and Johnnies filed into Br Willie’s Pub for the St. John’s Senate’s (SJS) weekly 9:20 p.m. meeting. Students filled the chairs, lined the perimeter of the pub and peered down from the packed balcony.
The reason for the uptick in attendance was to be present for the open forum—a time when members of the CSB/SJU community are welcome to voice their questions, comments and concerns for SJS representatives. Students this week came in masses to voice their opinions about a recent email sent to all students regarding behavior in St. Joseph. Over a dozen students, including members of the Senate, went up to the makeshift podium to speak.

Seeing students take advantage of an opportunity to connect with student government and let their voices be heard was commendable. It was democracy in action, to be frank.

However, this should not be the only issue we show up to the Senate meetings for.

The open forum section of the meeting was not specific to this week, and SJS did not choose the topic. Both the St. Ben’s Senate (SBS) and SJS reserve time in every meeting to hear what the community has to say. And for the most part, few students take advantage of this opportunity.

SJS President Jack Cummings commented on the turnout during the forum.

“This is awesome that this many students are giving this much input and have this much passion about something, and that they feel comfortable coming to the Senate—this is what we’re here for,” Cummings said. “But…feel free to be this passionate about other issues on campus. There’s a lot of things that might be going on on campus that you feel inclined to talk about, and we’re here to listen.”

Students need to be willing to step outside of their dorm rooms in order to affect change on campus. When we are passive towards issues on campus, policies are created without our voice.

Community is built with all members contributing to the common good. Without participation in our community, our voices become silent. The Senate is the bridge between us and the school and if we do not engage with our senators, we get left behind.

If we want to improve our community and our campuses, we need to be willing to participate in the process.
Our senators work hard to tackle issues relevant to their constituents, but they cannot know every issue that is present if we do not show up to tell them.

So show up. Be heard. Democracy dies in darkness.