[CAMPUS COMMENTARY]Students need to think about their voteIn most universities, the student government elections have begun. At Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, the election campaign for next year’s General Student Council is the biggest ongoing event on the campus.
Recent trends have shown that candidates who emphasize they are not political activists often have a better chance of winning. But who knows? I am looking forward to seeing who wins at ours this time.
Since I became a student journalist, I have twice closely reported on the student council elections. Last year, the election campaigns were clearly divided into two groups: one advocated being political activists while the other said they were “non-activists.” That did not much help voters picking their next student government.
What was more disappointing, however, was they were running negative campaigns. A lot of handouts, wall posters and stickers in school carried such sentiment. The school soon became like a garbage dump. In fact, some promotions offered students no information before going to the ballot booth. Theyjust offered gossip.
Maybe due to such campaigns, the students, as voters, did not care to think about what they wanted in their own government. It made me upset to see those things. Nevertheless, I was just a cub reporter at the time. So, I continued reporting as I was told.
Despite the fact that the student council should represent the students’ interests, many seemed to vote without giving it deep consideration.
What interested me also was that many had negative thoughts toward the political activist parties. Not many students seemed to realize that it is a very dangerous to select their government just by ideology. Also, students who do not know the conceptual difference between “activists” and “non-activists” believed that only the politically active groups were bad.
Students have become more passive than ever, satisfied with the simple information given to them.
But isn’t it the students’ duty to make an effort to know what is right and wrong? This is a serious problem affecting all university students in our country.
A few changes should create a better environment for this year’s election campaign than in the past few years.
According to the revised rules on school elections, the period for election campaigning has been shortened and the number of wall posters has been limited.
But there are still too many students thinking that the student council election is insignificant and that it has nothing to do with them personally. The university is a small society that we can experience before going on to the real world outside. So we should experience, feel and think about social issues.
On that basis, the university can fulfill our obligations as voters. I think all university students should be wise, and work to make a better society.
I see the students are turning apolitical as well as becoming indifferent to things that do not affect them personally. Seeing this, it worries me more and more how to develop and maintain the mind of a student reporter.
* The writer is a reporter for The Argus, campus English newspaper of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
by An Na