What Does It Mean, To Be An Independent?
In this very special entry of TheRADIKAL we hear from legendary Indies James Argento & Nick Capezza. A compilation of essays will be featured in the upcoming .com under the lede "The Independent Notebook." Here goes:
From Nick Capezza:
What is it to be an Independent in the SG context evolves, or devolves, based on your own experiences. I came in at a very strange time and I had people who I can legitimately describe as "infamous" or "legendary" around me, on both sides of the coin.
Being an independent in UF SG doesn't exclude you from doing good work and accomplishing something special for the student body. I have always been of the opinion that it is better to work within than have delusions of radical change and revolution. True leadership does not come with pledging the right fraternity or in the title you have on a business card; it comes from taking a stand and rallying behind the right thing for the students and the University.
Independent leaders in Student Government must remember that we do not fight for tomorrow, we fight for today and what we can accomplish for students and student groups today. What constitutes the "system" in SG changes often and can even change from one election to another. Some groups and their leaders are included, others are shunned. You could be working for the good guys one day and the bad guys the next. Trust me, I know this from experience.
The most important thing to do is continue fighting what you consider to be the good fight and believing in the democratic process even in the sub-local government entity of University elections.
From James Argento:
What did being an independent mean to me?
I really can't give you a definition. Generally GDI is referred to as nongreek, however I know nongreek kids who were as much part of the system as greek kids. Generally a lot of people resent it when nongreeks get into the system and see them as sellouts. However the nongreeks who get into the system will tell you it is just them advancing themselves. Although i would not say advancing yourself in the student government association really won't impact your life that much.
I enjoyed my four years at UF, I have also enjoyed my 3 years at FSU. I have been an "independent" at both institutions. I was independent at UF, in the sense that i led the non-greeks in opposition to the system in the UF SGA. While I was at FSU, I was a student body officer who stayed non-partisan in my capacity, even though I was appointed by the student body president, a member of the FSU system, to my position, in that I didn't have a stake in the burning spear kids v. the non-burning spear kids in the election. I would not trade my time at either institution, as I learned a lot. Being an independent to me is that I followed my own heart and not the heart of others. I did what i could to help people, without being beholden to any one.
Today, I offer my counsel to anyone UF or FSU student, system or not, who needs advice about law school or stuff in Tallahassee. I love to hear from you and you can get in touch with me through facebook.