I often find it difficult to describe concisely what exactly the job of election commissioner entails. As stated in the CU Student Government (CUSG) Election Code, it is the primary responsibility of the commissioner to ensure effective and fair CUSG elections biannually — once in the fall and once in the spring.

But to say my position is solely one of facilitating elections would be denying myself and my predecessors acknowledgment of our other, equally important responsibility: the election commissioner serves as a guide on your journey from being a student to becoming a student leader.

Running for a position in CUSG looks intimidating, and for good reason. As a candidate, you are putting yourself and your goals for CU Boulder into an open forum where your peers, many of whom are absolute strangers, will vote either for you or against you based on your platform.

But that’s also the beauty of it — the voters will not care about who you were in high school, whether you are Greek or independent, a minority or a majority, a Democrat or Republican. Running for a position in CUSG is not a popularity contest; it is merely a question of which candidate wants it more, and who is willing to fight harder, network smarter and campaign better to represent the interests of our student body.

Last fall, we had only seven candidates run for five slots in the Representative-at-Large elections. I refuse to believe that in an academic institution of our size and caliber such a small fraction of our student population would take the chance to make a change and run.

Furthermore, I find it surprising that only slightly over 6,000 students voted in last spring’s elections selecting CUSG’s executives — our university’s most influential student leaders. I know the Buffs have more self-worth than to let a select few decide on how our university should be run.

That being said, this year’s elections will be crucial for both CU Student Government and the Election Commission. In April, CUSG will be hosting a referendum gauging student opinion on a much-needed renovation of our outdated Rec Center.

Passage of the Rec Center referendum, also known as the “Buff Up the Rec Campaign,” will be entirely dependent on student votes. If fewer than 25 percent of our student body vote next spring, our Rec Center cannot be renovated. If that doesn’t show the power your vote can have, I don’t know what does.

It is my job, therefore, to not only facilitate your choosing of your student leaders, but to let you know that now is the time — more than ever — to get your voice heard. You have the right to choose which student leaders will represent you during this fall election; you could even be one of them if you dared to try.

In four weeks, our fall 2010 Elections will take place between Oct. 25 and 29. Five seats within Representative Council will be up for election, along with numerous seats available within individual college councils. Representative Council, along with Legislative Council, is the chief decision-maker in determining where your $36.6 million in student fees are allocated.

The budget is the largest in the country, and the power CUSG brings to its constituents is unlike any other student government in the United States.

All of these positions are paid and the experience provides a strong enhancement to any job, law school, graduate school or even medical school resume. CUSG has sent numerous alumni to those positions in the past and will certainly continue to do so in the future.

We dare you to take a chance, pick up a petition packet in UMC 125, and run for a position in student government. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

CU is your school. Be the change you want to see in our university.

Go Buffs!

Dani Warly is the CUSG election commissioner and can be reached at CUSGelections@gmail.com.

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