Good luck, Kenon and Shelby

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Good luck, Kenon and Shelby

Kenon Brinkley and Shelby Rowell won the SGA president and vice president election Wednesday night, and, while they ran unopposed, The Sunflower hopes they’re successful fulfilling their mission of combatting the student body’s apathy.

Under Paige Hungate’s leadership, most students did not feel like SGA represented their interests. An SGA survey conducted in the fall found that only 4.17 percent of students felt SGA definitely represented their interests, while 11.54 percent felt SGA definitely did not.

Another 17.95 percent felt SGA “probably” represented their interests. More than half of all respondents were unsure, saying SGA might or might not represent their interests, according to the raw data from the survey obtained through a records request.

At the end of Hungate’s term, a single ticket ran unopposed for SGA elections for the first time since 2005. At the end of Hungate’s term, just over 12 percent of students voted in this week’s SGA elections — down significantly from last year. Student participation is down at a time when student engagement is desperately needed.

It’s up to you to make sure student voices manifest in university decisions.

A year is a long time, and things change fast at Wichita State. Enter your term with a strong sense of purpose and stick to your principles. Whatever your priorities are right now, they’re subject to change. Be flexible, but stick to your principles.

After running on a platform of repairing relations with Wichita State’s administration, Hungate’s cabinet drafted a letter last month calling Bardo’s decision to open the student fees deliberations “the pinnacle of cowardice.” Who could have imagined that statement when Hungate was elected?

The Sunflower hopes Brinkley and Rowell assume their posts with a healthy dose of skepticism, balanced out with an even healthier dose of optimism. They should take meaningful steps to represent students’ interests.

They can do that by demanding answers to questionable decisions. They should communicate those answers to the student body and the student senate without prior-review or coaching by the administration. They should not have closed-door discussions about important decisions that affect the student body.

Be open to criticism. Every leader deserves it. Take it in stride. If you actually represent students, they will take note.

Student government is tasked with representing students on campus to the administration and the state. That’s not an easy job.

Good luck, Kenon and Shelby. Many have come before you, and the future’s in your hands. Be open, be honest, be brave.