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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

To What Extent Does Student Involvement Affect the Student Body?

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To What Extent Does Student Involvement Affect the Student Body?

The University of Massachusetts Boston has a “total undergraduate enrollment of 12,660″ (1), but only around 500 students voted in the Student Government elections. These numbers are, frankly, insane. For a population of around 12,000 students, we should be seeing student involvement much higher than this rate. The issue we have at our university is one that prevails across all universities in the U.S., and that is students are governed by the notion that any student involvement on their part will barely affect the university’s climate.
Of course, it’s easy to see why students persist in this belief. On a campus where parking rallies have seen little change on the administration’s part, and student outcries over the disparate money given to other UMass campuses have gone unheard by the greater administration, it’s easy to see why students have such weak faith in the administration and the impact they have themselves. 
But student involvement does affect the student body. I have seen this personally being part of the Mass Media, where my position allows me to present my opinions in a venue to which the student body has reacted. I have seen this being a part of SAEC, where my ideas for events can actually garner support and occur. I have seen this being a part of Writ Large, where my eventual vision will take place as I enter the Editor-In-Chief position. I have seen this being a part of College Democrats, where my involvement has allowed me to meet new individuals with similar political views. Yes, student involvement does affect the student body, and affects a student individually as well.
I understand we reside on a mostly commuter campus and that a majority of our student body balances work and academics, simultaneously. I understand time is a commitment most of us cannot spare. However, our incredible work ethic makes a student body that is dedicated, energetic and extremely hardworking. Imagine if that work ethic was applied to student involvement; our campus would flourish. We would be unstoppable. Not to mention, more student involvement would mean higher rates of student turnout, an attractive campus, and a student body that can finally overturn their doubt in their impact. 
We all are incorrect in this belief. We should not persist in our lack of faith. We do have an impact. We have a voice. But our weak faith in our own impact is only hurting ourselves. For a campus with 12,000 students, we should be seeing voter turnout of more than a measly four percent. This is unacceptable. And disastrous because only a fraction of students are deciding what will happen with our university. We need more than four percent. We should aim for a solid 100 percent. But that starts with you, the student. You have to realize that your involvement in this campus matters. You have to realize that you can make an impact. You have to realize that your vision for an event can take shape. Use this realization to bolster you. Go to the meeting. Go to the event. Go to the pre-planning. Go make an impact.
(1) https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/umass-boston-2222