Next year, the Student Senate will see a new leader take the helm. While President-Elect Sam Tauchen comes from a family of leaders in state and local politics, Tauchen said he ran because he had something to offer the student body.
Tauchen defeated Dominic Riel 351-121 in the final election tally, and while Tauchen is humbled by the results, he wants to “hit the ground running” and get started working for the students.
“I’m very humbled, honored, to serve in this high leadership position. This is only the beginning. It’s time to move past the election and start working to represent the students who elected us,” Tauchen said.
Tauchen’s family has a history of serving Wisconsin.
Sam’s dad served as township chairman for Hartland, and his uncle is currently a representative in the Wisconsin State Assembly.
“They are strong leaders and I’ve always looked up to them,” Tauchen said. “They’ve been very supportive to me.”
Tauchen started at UWRF in the fall of 2009, and has been involved in various organizations, which he said will help him bring a wide-range of backgrounds to help the student body.
“I have the perspective of being involved here and in Madison, so it helps me know how campus works,” Tauchen said.
Tauchen has been involved in the Ag. Ed. Society, Alpha Gamma Rho, Alpha Tau Alpha, the Knights of Columbus, an intern at the state capitol, an FFA official and has served on Senate this past year.
“I want to be accessible to students and I want to be amongst the students,” Tauchen said. “I didn’t run for the title, I ran because I wanted change.”
The focus Tauchen would like to begin his term with is to start assigning people to committees and to appoint directors and chairs before the summer. Forms to apply for committees can be found on Senate’s Org Sync page under forms. One of Tauchen’s goals is to make Senate more visible to the students.
To do this, Tauchen wants to plan a summer retreat with the newly elected Senate to develop group dynamics and leadership skills so Senate knows what they need to know, like who to contact. He also suggested that Senate may try to reach out to student organizations by picking events to attend and give feedback.
“Having students come to Senate hasn’t worked, so I want to go to the students,” Tauchen said. “I want to be an open book and I want the feedback, I love to listen.”
The first meeting under Tauchen’s direction will be April 30, when current President Bobbi O’Brien will turn over the gavel and the 76th session of Senate will begin.
After serving for a year, O’Brien is proud of the relationships Senate has built, particularly with the administration and Board of Regents. She said that has helped them to come up with solutions together and has paved the way for future Senates to work with the administration as well. But she had a few words of advice for Tauchen.
“You can never start planning too early,” O’Brien said.
She also said she wished she had been more assertive early on.
“Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in public opinion, but I learned it is OK to take a stance.”
That is one of the biggest challenges Tauchen forsees.
“Being president is a huge responsibility. We have to try and balance what is right for the entire student body. We can’t please everyone, and I’m not looking to please, because we also have to look at the big picture and for future students,” Tauchen said.
Tauchen’s running mate, Tony Sumnicht was elected to be vice president through a ballot not connected with Tauchen’s (each position is elected separately). He received 323 votes, while current Vice President Matthew Hobbs received 139 votes. In all, 499 students voted in the election.
However, both Tauchen and Sumnicht campaigned together and share many of the same ideas and goals for Senate. But for now, Tauchen will share in his family and Senate’s tradition of public service.