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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


SB Voice could facilitate change if more students actively used it

SB Voice is one of the Undergraduate Student Government's initiatives to increase communication with the students. PHOTO CREDIT: NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN
SB Voice is one of the Undergraduate Student Government’s initiatives to increase communication with the students. PHOTO CREDIT: NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN

On the one hand, some people in college use their newfound resources to explore every facet of their intelligence and prosper. They make themselves part of what is going on and take matters into their own. On the other hand, however, a majority of people get overwhelmed by the immensity of the university environment and struggle to find their niche.

Many students complain that because Stony Brook is so large it is impossible to be heard. What they do not realize, however, is that to be heard, all they have to do is speak up.

Two current seniors, political science and economics major Mario Ferone and applied math and statistics major Brian McIlvain, wanted a way for students to get their ideas out.

Ferone and McIlvain, who are also the Vice President of Communications and Public Relations and Treasurer of the Undergraduate Student Government respectively, started SB Voice during the spring semester of 2013 after doing some research on how student governments operate in other universities. They came across George Washington University’s G-Voice, which is essentially a web-based petition forum in which students can vote on issues that have to do with almost every aspect of university life encompassing topics from dining to academics. Thus, the two figured it would be a good idea to start something similar at Stony Brook.

In both theory and practice, SB Voice is a great idea. It gives students the chance to make a change: an impact on the school that they were always dreaming about.

The only way that these changes can be implemented, however, is if they have a vast, receptive and supportive backing. According to Ferone, “One of the advantages is that people can vote on the issues submitted. We’re hoping more people use it because if we bring [an issue] to administration they’ll see how much support is behind it.” If it is used to its full potential it can take off.

For example, there is currently a Food and Drug Administration policy in place which states that any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 cannot donate blood. Essentially, gay and bisexual men who are sexually active are banned from donating. Expectedly, this topic has raised some eyebrows and initiated some debate. This is currently SB Voice’s most voted on topic. It calls for letting anyone with healthy blood donate, regardless of sexual history. The presenter of the issue wants to make this a school-wide cause.

The only problem is that in a university with almost 25,000 students the issue only has 27 votes. For SB Voice to have a legitimate effect on our school, more people need to know about it. Once that happens it is only a matter of time until we see the changes we want implemented.

People say they want to make a difference, but when the opportunity presents itself, not enough people are taking the initiative.

I say get out and post what you are thinking about on SB Voice and chances are there are others with the same thoughts. They might not take it upon themselves to be heard, but you can. Like Mario and Brian, go make something happen.

Correction: Because of an editing error, this article originally stated that an FDA policy was in place because of blood drives at SBU. Blood drives at SBU were not the cause of an FDA policy and the article has been updated to reflect as such.

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    MarioSep 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    SBVoice can be found on the USG Website at