Incoming Senators: show up, speak up

By VIRAJ PATEL Columnist

On a bright summer day in 1776, in a dimly lit room at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, delegates to the Second Continental Congress convened a meeting which would change the course of the world.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” they said, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

As surprising as it may seem, it was the first time in our history anyone bothered to write down those words. These words are the flagship of the United States. They are the reason this nation is the envy of the world. These 35 words are what changed the course of our history.

Decisions are made by those who show up.

These delegates changed the course of our history by making a choice to show up.

Now, let us get out of this time machine and get to today.

Last week, Students’ Association was honored with their new batch of leaders. President-elect Taylin Albrecht, Vice President-elect Ally Helms, 18 senators and more to be chosen for at-large spots will be governing on behalf of the students. I am proud of each and every one who took the opportunity to campaign and be elected to their positions. I am honored to be one of them.

But, as we move forward, I remind you of the delegates to the Second Continental Congress because of the looming case of uncertainty.

You will have to make some hard decisions in Students’ Association meetings.

You will be sitting in committee meetings where you will feel uninformed. 

You will be called upon for questions, opinions and comments. 

The moment you are sworn in, you will have the power to make a change.

But to do this, you will need to speak up. 

There is no question too stupid to ask. There is no solution too insignificant to consider.

There is no task which we cannot work on. There is no goal which we will let out of our sight.

I cannot say the sky is the limit for our powers, because we are restrained in our capabilities. 

But within those boundaries of our power, within those choices we are given, we will make a change. For our history is a testament to our choices. Nothing but a small group of dedicated individuals has changed the course of a nation.

We can be those people. We can choose to participate. 

We can choose to debate, to discuss, to speak up. 

We can choose to lead. 

Decisions are made by those who show up. 

Incoming senators, the question is, will you?


Viraj Patel is a communication studies major and can be reached at [email protected].