Student Trustee-elect Daniel Soso urges student body to get involved

As we approach an election year with a major budget crisis and an interim chancellor, we are coming upon a time of great change on our campus. While there are those among our campus population who remain vigilant and involved in the happenings of today, there are an overwhelming number of us who feel disenfranchised and incapable of effecting any major change.

I write this article to stress the importance of the time ahead of us. The only way that we can protect our interests in the upcoming year is through a major increase in involvement at every level.

I urge the student body as a whole to become active in all aspects of campus: to run for the presidency of that club you’ve been in since freshman year, to ensure you’re registered to vote in the right district, to contact that politician with your concerns and to challenge yourself to take full advantage of the opportunities offered to you during your years on this campus.

In this pivotal time period we must let those who will be making the tough decisions know that we are watching and we care. This is the only way we can let student issues resonate beyond our dorms, houses and apartments and into the capitol buildings of Springfield and Washington.

The lobbying efforts of our university have left us with $489 million owed, tuition increases expected to be in the range of 10-20 percent and the largest budget cuts proposed in areas of education.

Our failures in talking to these politicians have been simple. As a public university, we do not have the type of money to throw around as other lobbyist groups do, and as a large population of students. we do not seem like the type of consistent and mobilized voter bodies that are crucial to their campaigns. Basically, we come with nothing tangible to offer.

So, as we approach this coming November, I ask that all students on our campus show the politicians what we do have to offer.

When competing with issues such as healthcare, the economy and foreign engagements, we must make it clear that the concerned, voting students of the University of Illinois are essential to the continued prosperity of our state and nation as a whole.

We are the minds that will one day see the end of the problems of the generations before us, and without a proper and attainable means of higher education, our task will be near impossible.

I urge us all forward in this charge as we attempt to protect the future of a university that has experienced two world wars, the Great Depression and the transition from horse and buggy.

Our mission is to ensure that the next time our administrators and student representation talk to a person in Springfield, their words are not just those of a single individual before them, but instead carry the weight of over 41,000 strong.

Daniel Soso is the student trustee-elect.