Student Senate president accomplishes goals, looks to future
December 16, 2011
Finishing up the last semester of classes, preparing for student teaching in the spring, practicing for a senior trumpet recital, planning a wedding and, oh yeah, representing the entire student body at UW-River Falls. This is a taste of what Student Association President Tyler Halverson had on his plate this semester.
Halverson said he is proud of the accomplishments made by the Student Senate under his leadership this semester, but admits there were challenges along the way and still plenty of work yet to be done.
“I feel that we have performed well, but there is always room for improvement,” Halverson said. “We started out the semester with very heavy legislation, and took stances on issues such as state budget lapses, state bills, and University and city policies.”
By the end of October, the Senate passed motions to restructure the Allocable Fees Appropriations Board, reform student organization funding and require a higher vote threshold to raise student fees.
Halverson said his greatest personal success was leading the Senate in taking a stance against the budget lapse cuts placed on the UW-System in October by the state government. “I coordinated the circulation of a press release (of the Senate’s stance), which was run by several prominent news agencies around Wisconsin,” said Halverson.
Although this is Halverson’s first year as Student Association President, he participated with the Senate since 2007. His years of experience as a senator helped him prepare for the responsibilities as president, Halverson said.
“Having been on the Senate for the past four years, I had a good idea of what to expect,” said Halverson. “Although, there are always little bumps in the road that test ability, patience and perseverance.”
One of the greatest challenges this semester was reducing the size of the Senate reserve account, Halverson said. But with the recent creation of an ad-hoc committee tasked with reducing the account, Halverson said he feels confident the issue will be resolved successfully.
“I think the Student Senate has been very active this past semester, working with a wide range of issues that affect the student experience at UW-River Falls,” wrote Student Senate Faculty Advisor and Student Life Director Paul Shepherd in an email statement. “Halverson approached his position as president with a high level of enthusiasm and passion, which has led to some good conversations within the Senate about important issues.”
Nearly half of the senators this semester were serving for the first time. One of them is Jessica Pett, the nontraditional representative and ethics committee chair.
“I feel this semester we were able to get a lot done that pertained to the student body as a whole, and that we were able to weigh in on important issues that had a state wide impact,” said Pett. “Overall I think that Halverson has done an admirable job as president.”
Along with his responsibilities on the Senate, Halverson said he is in the early stages of planning his wedding with fiancée and Senate colleague, Facilities and Fees Board Chair Beth DeLong.
“We are both at the same stage academically and heavily involved in student government, so it has been challenging to make sure we still have time for each other and maintain a healthy relationship,” said Halverson. “I would say we have more than risen to the challenge.”
With the semester coming to a close, Halverson said he is looking ahead to what is next for the Senate.
Along with overseeing the reduction of the Senate reserve account, “the non-allocable and allocable budgets will be the largest and most publicly recognized issues this next semester,” said Halverson. “A large amount of our time will be spent on these issues.”