Greeks pull resources together to get members elected to USS

Carrie Rupp

The phrase “strength in numbers” is a fact proving true for hopeful Greeks running for a spot on the Undergraduate Student Senate.

The 2005-2006 USS elections are next week. There is a Greek running for each of the nine senate seats, and five of them are running uncontested.

The trend of Greek candidates running successful campaigns and winning has become evident over the past few years, USS adviser Donna Carlton said. This year’s senate started out with eight Greeks. One dropped out mid-year with a non-Greek taking his place.

In 2003-2004, there were eight Greeks and one non-Greek on senate. In 2002-2003, the senate started out with seven non-Greeks and two Greeks, but during the semester two senators joined Greek organizations.

The start of these successful campaigns for the Greeks is fueled by the development of the ticket. Forming a ticket, a list of candidates endorsed by one particular party, is a common approach that many organizations on campus, including the Greeks, take.

“I’ve never seen every person from a particular ticket win, but it has been awful close,” Carlton said.

Although being affiliated with a ticket is an added boost, it never promises a victory.

“It’s beneficial to be on one of the tickets because you have the strong backing behind you from the start,” said Gary Broadbent, current USS executive director and one of the two non-Greeks on this year’s senate. “But just because you’re on a ticket doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to win.”

Carlton agrees with Broadbent.

“They did it (creating a ticket) because they thought it might generate more votes if they ran as a core group,” Carlton said. “The Greeks have a networking system already in place, which ultimately helps them from the start.”

Bill Ross, Delta Upsilon member and the current senator for academic affairs, is running unopposed for next year’s executive director. Despite strong Greek presence on senate, if Ross becomes executive director, he will be the first Greek in three years to hold that position.

He not only praised the backing from the Greek community but also said the community is a “strong base to pull new ideas from” because of the individualism.

“Greeks are such a diverse group of people, but we’re all united,” Ross said. “Everyone within has different ideals, but we’re all here for the betterment of the community and our surrounding areas.”

Regardless of background or experience level, Broadbent points out that ultimately success in office rests on the individual.

“There have been a lot of strong Greek senators that have been able to figure out the balance between school, their Greek organization and USS,” Broadbent said. “But whether the candidate is Greek is not what is important. What is most important is getting a strong person in office, who will give the time and energy to improve life for students.”

Contact Greek life reporter Carrie Rupp at [email protected].