Student government at the University has had its fair share of criticism over the past few months. The allegations that our representative bodies are too insular and don’t adequately represent the greater student community have been common. However, a recent initiative by the LSA Student Government is a welcome change from this popular image. The move to increase and diversify the organization’s membership not only fights the negative image of student government, but also helps connect the organization to the people it is supposed to be representing, the student body.On Friday, following a heavy January recruiting drive, LSA-SG appointed 50 new members. With this one stroke, the organization nearly doubled its membership with recruits from previously underrepresented segments of the student body. The effort was designed to reach beyond the group’s traditional membership, which even LSA-SG Appointments Chair Aaron Miller noted was “heavily” Greek.

A quick glance at any admissions brochure or the University website shows that diversity is one of our University’s most cherished values – and rightfully so. The students you see walking across campus every day come from all corners of the nation and world; the different views and experiences they bring with them is one of the most enriching aspects of a University education. While not always fervent in its defense of diversity, the University has a strong track record of keeping campus open to everyone. Student organizations, on the other hand, have long been open to criticism.

Student government organizations in particular are supposed to give students an important voice and a key role in shaping campus life. It’s only logical that these bodies should appeal to broad segments of the student population. Unfortunately, groups like LSA-SG have long had reputations as static clubs with marked in-group mentalities. Because of this history, LSA-SG deserves all the more credit for actively seeking to fix this problem, recognizing its base and making a concerted effort to expand outside of it.

There’s a lot to specifically like about LSA-SG’s measures. For one, new blood is always a good thing, bringing new ideas and fresh perspectives. In this case, the effect could be even more meaningful. In an effort to mirror the University in promoting diversity and bridging cultural barriers on campus, the recruiting drive focused on groups that previously had little voice in government affairs. For instance, it is especially significant that 10 of the 50 new members will join the Multicultural Affairs Committee.

Sure, more cynical people might call into question the size of this expansion and voice concern about the possibility that the organization is tokenizing minorities. Both of these points of contention are unfounded and misconstrued. Although almost doubling the amount of members may seem like a large influx of people for a group as small as LSA-SG, 50 new members is not an unmanageable number of people. Furthermore, the new members come from all backgrounds and life experiences; race and ethnicity were only part of what the expansion considered. A look at some of the new members shows that the emphasis was on campus involvement and active participation in student life.

It’s often easy to find faults in organizations with broad responsibilities and lofty mission statements. In the recruitment efforts of LSA-SG, there’s little fault to be found. The group has shown initiative before, and the newest efforts are no exception. LSA-SG helped open up student government to the students it represents, and it left an example to follow.

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