By Daniela Lopez /// Op-Ed Contributor
Two years ago, a room full of dedicated students spent five hours rewriting our entire ASLC constitution. They drastically changed the structure of student government by increasing the number of Senators, lowering Cabinet stipends, and more. They tried to fix what felt like a broken system. Fast forward to last week’s Senate meeting where we discussed reducing the number of Senators, passed legislation on paying said Senators, and are attempting to restructure ASLC once again. Like all governments, we also are consistently struggling to find the perfect system.
Each year, our campus changes and the bodies that represent it should reflect this. I believe in a living constitution–the idea that as demographics shift and ideals are transformed, so do the laws that govern us. There is no perfect system, but a best practice for the time being and the given community. This idea should also apply to the body of ASLC because this is not just about efficiency and organization, it is about uninhibited student voice. And this voice includes far more than just those of Cabinet and Senate.
Every student that pays a student body fee, receives a tutor, benefits from a club or organization, or has ever been financed through us actively decided to become a member of the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark. Every one of these students is a part of ASLC. Consequently, the ASLC is the largest student organization on this campus with around 2,000 members. The work we are doing in Senate right now is not just about our own internal processes, they are about engaging and representing the rest of our community while ensuring that association to this group has meaning and impact.
Yet, our structural changes, our constitutional amendments, and our individual composition only mean so much without the backing of students. ASLC’s impact is as large as the students that support it and its voice is as strong as the many that stand behind it. It is an exhausting cycle of needing legitimacy so students can support us yet needing student support to be legitimate.
This is where students come in.
If you have not done so already, please vote for Cabinet and Senate. If you already have, I invite you to attend a Senate meeting to take part in the conversation. If this is not your space, write to a representative or senator about your ideas or concerns. If you are not quite there, at least stay informed on our work.
We can not be the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark without students to be associated with. In the past, I have said that to be actively engaged with ASLC means to have a seat at the table. I realize now that I was wrong. To be actively engaged with ASLC means to build our own table just as important and tall as those already here.