A much more coherent modest proposal for testing the hypothesis that ASSU time is wasted.

Posted by at 2:35PM

My last post suggested that those who run for the ASSU, or participate in fights about it, are wasting their time, because a) the ASSU has little-to-no power, except to inefficiently disburse funds, and b) time spent involved in the ASSU could, for those who genuinely care about the issues on which they campaign, be much more productively spent.

As a good little social scientist, I like to make testable propositions. And so, here’s a test.

Suppose we could find a wealthy Stanford alumna/s (Larry, Sergey, are you reading?) to donate an amount of money equal to the ASSU salaries, to employ a shadow ASSU. Each paid position on the ASSU would be represented, at the same rate, in the shadow ASSU. Members of the shadow ASSU would be selected by election by their fellow students (though campaigning would be strictly regulated), and would be expected to put in the same amount of work as paid ASSU members.

But members of the shadow ASSU would not be given an organization, or a budget, or tasks like allocating student funds. Instead, they would be expected to spend their time working to achieve whatever social or campus good they promised, in their campaign, in the best way they know how. This could be founding their own organizations, social entrepreneurship, community organizing and political activism, or just volunteer work for an important cause.

At the end of the year, we could see who has achieved more of what they hoped to achieve, the real ASSU or the shadow ASSU. Any bets on the answer?

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One Response to “A much more coherent modest proposal for testing the hypothesis that ASSU time is wasted.”

  1. Michael says:

    It’s true that students would maybe accomplish more outside of the ASSU. The same could be said of many governments. But other organizations would not provide the same kind of experience. For people hoping to experience politics, committees and funding, I would think the ASSU is a good training ground.

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