Members of Student Government met with students on the North Plaza to hear their opinions to help improve the campus. Photo by George Yanez

In light of all things democratic, members of Student Government are reaching out to students to prove that they run a system of the people, by the people and for the people.

“We realize that one of the biggest concerns or complaints that students have every year about Student Government is the fact that we really don’t reach out to students,” Speaker of the Senate Ally Bowers said.

What Do You Want Wednesdays, held on the first Wednesday of every month at North Plaza, is an attempt by Student Government to hear what students have to say about certain issues on campus.

Students can come to the event, fill out a short survey and receive a free cookie for their participation.

Inspired by actions taken by a similar student government at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md., Bowers, along with junior Student Body Vice President Jacky Yoo and junior Speaker Pro Tempore Nicola Anderson began the initiative in October of last year.

On Wednesday, the two main issues were volunteering opportunities and university smoking policies. After students complete their surveys and receive their cookies, Bowers collects all the information and goes to work.

“I take all the surveys, compile a report and, based on feasibility, things that haven’t been tried before or things that aren’t too general like ‘I hate parking,’ we take it to the administrators,” said Bowers, a junior majoring in government and international affairs.

Many students stopped by, some to genuinely voice their thoughts and others to get a free snack.

“I think it’s great that they’re trying to hear our opinions,” sophomore economics major Israel Campos said. “The group that has the most voice will get their say. That’s good.”

Success is difficult to gauge at such an early stage but students and the Student Government look to small victories to validate their efforts.

“Someone had a complaint last year that they wanted more pita chips around campus,” Bowers said. “I don’t know if you know now but if you go into the [Johnson Center] or even in Southside, there are cups of pita chips and hummus available.”

Although Student Government isn’t considered by some students to be as serious and devoted as it purports to be, initiatives like What Do You Want Wednesdays will help bring out the Jeffersons, Washingtons and even George Masons of today.