It’s time to work for students

By Paul Schmitt

Editor’s note: Last week, Paul Schmitt, junior in LAS and former Daily Illini columnist, was elected to the position of student trustee for the Urbana-Champaign campus. He can be contacted via e-mail at [email protected] or through [email protected]

It’s over – no more technicolored bulletin boards, littered classrooms, or chalked quads. As student election season has finally come to a close we’re left wondering, “Wow, now what?” For those who were victorious in student elections I say, “It’s time to work for students. It’s time to live up to the lofty pledges made during the campaign season.” To those students who, despite running excellent campaigns, came up short I say, “Stay involved, the student body needs your leadership.”

Moreover, regardless of how you voted in student elections, one thing is clear: Now the campus must come together. The beautiful thing about student politics is that the issues aren’t liberal or conservative, nor are they Republican or Democrat. Instead, the issues by which we campus political hacks live and die are “student issues.”

When serving in student government, student leaders must always remember that while it is enticing to take up the best interests of the institution and the administration, you are an advocate for students first, university always. As your incoming student trustee, this is the philosophy that I will represent students with on the Board of Trustees. As a tireless advocate of student concerns, you must realize that whether or not I share your particular interest in a campus issue, I am here to resonate that interest to the powers that be. I am here, put another way, to push the student agenda before my own.

For this reason should students, alumni, fans or friends of the University have a concern about the direction in which we are headed, the goals that we strive to achieve, or the issues we attempt to tackle, I invite each and every one of you to contact me personally at the e-mail address above. While the campus has many voices and many interests, certainly the common ground of student status can be a uniting factor in how we fight for student rights and privileges on this campus.

I’d like to take a minute to congratulate Robert Main, another student who worked undeniably hard to represent students during his time in the Illinois Student Senate. His hard-fought campaign gave students an important choice for a crucial student office. Robert would have also made an excellent student advocate on the Board of Trustees, and I feel that his leadership will still be a boon to this campus should he decide to stay involved in pursuing his many ambitious goals for the UI.

Additionally I must thank my campaign staff, the members of which spent many sleepless nights ensuring that we successfully communicated our message of hope and unity to the student body. My family is also owed a great amount of thanks – God knows that I would be nowhere without their love and support. I thank my friends, to whom I owe my sanity and inspiration. Lastly, I’d like to especially thank a former two-time student body president for his keen political strategy and the force of his truly mammoth political machine, as he prefers anonymity I will refer to him by his ingeniously clever pseudonym, Bryan Bruzic.

The votes are in, responsibility has been granted and now it is time to go to work for the student body. By working closely with Chime Asonye, meeting with the leaders of campus Registered Student Organizations, as well as concerned everyday students, I hope to be able to step forward, with a campus united behind the principles of learning and labor. May those who wish to be involved with our efforts to serve students please reach out and contact us. May those who wish to see positive change speak out. Lastly, may we continue to celebrate and improve America’s premier public institution, the University of Illinois. To thee I pledge my heart and hand.