Chat with the Chief: We are the 1.5 percent

Ferris criminal justice senior Dylan Tantalo was recently elected to serve as next year’s student government president after earning less than one percent of the total student body’s vote.

Of Ferris’ 14,533 Bulldogs, 138 cast their vote for Tantalo. Just 217 students were moved to vote in the election, which amounts to less than 1.5 percent of the student body.

Our country as a whole has seen near constant streams of election coverage over the last several months. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders practically hold a monopoly over trending on Twitter.

Still, despite the political pendulum swinging towards its popularity peak once again thanks to this election cycle, we see embarrassingly few Ferris students willed to vote for their own representative.

For comparison, according to Kylie Wojciechowski at the Valley Vanguard of Saginaw Valley State University, 1,003 students voted in their student association presidential election and the winner garnered 659 total votes. SVSU has several thousand fewer students than Ferris State, as they boast an enrollment of 9,766.

Ferris’ voter turnout not only trails the Cardinals’, but is also down from last year’s totals. Last year, 633 students voted in Ferris’ student government election. Of the 633 student voters, 379 voted for current president Wayne Bersano while he was studying abroad in Germany.

Tantalo’s campaign page on Facebook racked up 234 likes, which was more than the total number of voters placing a vote in the election. Evidently, people like the idea of supporting their potential representative, but not enough to actually act on the impulse.

So why are Ferris students just not voting? For many, it was a problem of awareness. One of Tantalo’s campaign platforms was to expand awareness of what student government is responsible for, and the events that they hold.

Election numbers like these show just how pivotal it is for Tantalo to deliver on that promise.

Tantalo and the rest of student government won’t be representing 1.5 percent of the student body next year. They’ll be representing everyone, including the 98.5 percent that forfeited their voice by finding something better to do during the election.