Editorial: SA executives should bring change

Delonte LeFlore is not Superman. Gina Gregolunas, Joshua Venaas and Elliot Echols are not members of his Justice League.

They don’t fly around saving the world, but they do have the opportunity to help NIU. Yesterday they were a group of students, and today they are the SA Executive Branch for the 2012-2013 school year – some of the chief representatives of an organization that represents the student body, even if it has previously failed to engage it.

Generally, it seems that the only students who care for SA are those who are a part of it. SA Senate Speaker Austin Quick publicly voices what he wants to see changed and brings these ideas to University Council, where campus officials can begin the process of implementing or disregarding them. Even if the Editorial Board does not agree with all of Quick’s proposals, he brings passion to the table and works for change that truly affects students. Too often, he seems like the only one vocally trying to make a difference; the other SA leaders seem almost useless.

The Northern Star Editorial Board urges the newly elected leaders to usher in a new era of representation. In profiles published by the Northern Star, the candidates revealed some of their goals, and meeting these goals will require the support of the student population. Gaining this support and working with students will ensure the SA becomes a true voice of the people.

For example, LeFlore said he would like to make NIU a stronger community for disabled students. This comes after a March 21 article in which the Northern Star reported Gregory Long, NIU Chair of the Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities, said several students have told him their disabilities have been publicly exposed by their professors. LeFlore, if he wishes to meet his campaign goals and truly connect with students, should do all he can to rectify the problem Long exposed.

LeFlore can do this by promoting awareness of the Americans with Disabilities Act around campus, speaking with faculty to ensure they treat students’ disabilities sensitively and reaching out to students with disabilities to hear their ideas and grievances, among other actions.

Gregolunas, Venaas and Echols should push for similar connectivity in order to meet their campaign goals. They should work with the leaders of different student groups, make their offices and time available to members of the campus community and host open forums where everyone can talk about the changes they would like NIU’s leaders to make.

Unlike Superman and his associates, LeFlore and his new team cannot save the world. What this group can do is connect with NIU’s students on a deeper level and improve the university.