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Essential Life Lessons for College Students – The Power of Civic Engagement

Civic Education in Motion - Student Government Election at ADU

Word "VOTE."
Cyrus Crossan/Unsplash

It has been slightly under two (2) years since African Development University (ADU) elected its first student government. The Ilimi Student Government (ISG) is closely modeled after the national parliamentary, governmental structure. The leadership includes a President, Prime Minister, a cabinet of Ministers, and other leaders. Now, the University is electing its second ISG leadership, a process that was delayed for various reasons, including staff changes and campus closure due to COVID. March 2021, mid-way throughout the first reopened semester, became the designated time to execute the process for electing the next student governance.

ADU Library - Converted into a polling station

Working with the existing student government, a plan and process were mapped out for implementation. All seemed well and the election process was launched. However, there is no electoral process without controversy or scandal. Our student government election had a moment of controversy that delayed the election for a couple of weeks.

So, what halted the process? It was the introduction of a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) for the candidates. The CGPA was not part of the first electoral process. It was introduced to level up our student leadership positions to an international standard and set the tone of academic excellence to be included in such significant student leadership roles.

We had candidate teams that did not meet the requirement and then challenged it. After several conversations, a concession with conditions was brokered, allowing the process to move forward only to be delayed by political unrest because of the country's national election. However, after a few days and the city, along with the University, returning to calm and normalcy, the student government election was held.

Female student in the voting booth