Why is it that the same UCI pride that one sees when it comes to clubs and events is not present during elections week? It is disappointing to see that only about 30 percent of UCI undergraduates take part in the ASUCI elections — not even half!
After hearing students around campus and looking at the comments being left around UCI’s different social networks, I realized that many of the students simply did not care. Students simply gave up on voting without even understanding how their indifference will affect the future. They did not think about the services and great programs they could lose. They do not realize that parts of their college experience were being taken away.
Truthfully, before I say anymore, I must confess that during my first year here at UCI, I, too, was one of these students that did not care about voting for student representatives and referendums. I did not bother to get educated on anything. I simply decided that voting was useless and that any fee increase was bad no matter what it was for. I didn’t think about it in the long term.
Now, looking back, I wish I had, because now everywhere I look, I see the changes that my indifference caused.
That is why this year I decided to get informed and vote. I just wish more of my fellow undergraduates had done the same. However, it is not too late — for most of us — to reconsider the situation and change the percentage of undergraduates that vote in next year’s elections.
Getting informed is the first step. Informing yourself and informing other students is the best way to raise the number of votes.
Next time before you automatically say, “No, I’m not voting,” take the time to read and get informed on the students who wish to represent you. Learn about these individuals and make a difference by choosing the person you feel will best represent you. At least then you can try and choose someone who you believe in, so later on, you will not feel the need to complain about them not doing anything.
Before saying “no” to any fee increase, take a look at what’s at stake. Understand what you will lose if you decide to not vote. If you automatically give up on voting because of a fee increase, then there is a possibility of losing a program that could be beneficial to you. There is also the possibility of having fee increases that you did not want, but did not care to vote for. Understand clearly the possible benefits of a fee increase.
If somehow, after being informed on the fee increase, you do not feel strongly about the program or service then do not simply say “no” to voting. Even if it is not an important issue to you, I think you owe it to your community to get informed, to make a choice and voice your opinion. Take the time to either abstain or vote “no.” Let your voice be heard, no matter what your opinion may be. At least then you will know that you tried to make a difference to either save something important or tried to stop a fee that you did not agree with.
By remaining apathetic during elections, you are not helping yourself, or anyone else for that matter. Next time, if you did not care to vote, take the time to listen to the representative students. Take the time to understand what the referendums entail if they pass or not. Take the time to read any handout given to you as you walk along ring road. Do some quick research. Take some time off Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, etc. and listen. Listen and voice your opinion — your choice.
Gricel Garcia is a second-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.