Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Representing the Student Voice

Representing the Student Voice

With voter registration quickly coming to a close on October 5th, the power of the vote should be emphasized with students here in Blacksburg. Since around 1900, there have been at least as many students residing in Blacksburg as permanent town residents. In 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Virginia Tech Office of University Relations, students make between 63-70% of the population in the Town of Blacksburg. Yet, over the past century there has never been any direct student representation on Blacksburg Town Council. Virginia Tech students are citizens of the Town and the upcoming election is an opportunity not to be missed in getting our voice heard.

There are tremendous possibilities to engage students with the Town of Blacksburg in issues of town development, policy, and community relations. I am currently working with the SGA to create a new Student Advisory Committee that will help to actively engage students in developing a voice of the student population for matters pertaining to Blacksburg. Issues such as pursuing community oriented development, creating a diversified and more walkable downtown, enhancing alternative transportation options, expanding programs for students and classes to receive credited real-world experience locally, and collaborating on policy that impacts students are just a few of the possibilities in which student representation and cooperation can truly enhance our community.

Currently there are ten candidates vying for four seats on Town Council, including myself as the only undergraduate student. I encourage every member of the community to learn more about all the candidates and consider the issues that matter most to you. Talk to your friends and classmates and together get registered to vote by October 5th. You can drop off your registration forms at the SGA office on the third floor of Squires. On November 3rd, make your voice heard and vote!

Bryce Carter
Council Candidate
Undergraduate, Humanities, Science and Environment

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