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New Student Senate president focuses on UWRF future

April 12, 2012

Improving communication between the Student Senate and students, keeping tuition low, and taking a close look at any segregated fee increases are a few of the main goals for the 2012-2013 school year voiced by the new Senate president and vice president.

Bobbi O’Brien has been chosen to represent the student body as the Senate president.

Her running mate, Carlan Strand, was voted vice president for a second year.

Both O’Brien and Strand bring experience to their new positions having previously served on the Senate.

O’Brien is a junior this year and is majoring in accounting.

She is an active member of her sorority, Phi Mu, and currently serves as the Greek representative on Senate.

She received 52 percent of the vote defeating Alpha Gamma Rho member, Samuel Tauchen.

“This year’s election cycle was very exciting. It isn’t very often when the Greek vote is split between two Greek candidates for president,” said Elections Commissioner Ben Blanchard.

O’Brien’s platform included two main things furing her campaign: improve communication between Senate, the students and faculty, and the Capitol as well as keep tuition as low as possible.

“In my term, I really want to see Senate reach out to students and let them know we are here for them and that we represent them. There seems to be a barrier between Senate and students and it’s important that this barrier is broken down,” O’Brien said.

One of O’Brien’s main goals is to ensure that any raises in tuition directly benefit the students and are an absolute necessity to ensure the quality of student life is maintained.

She said that base tuition has risen, and unfortunately, there is nothing Senate can do about that.

What it can attempt to control is the cost of segregated fees.

“As seen this year, many departments and organizations on campus have asked for increases in their fees, and unfortunately, some need to increase in order to ensure quality and safety of student life,” said O’Brien. “What I can promise the students is the Senate will not just rubber stamp any proposal for a raise in fees. Senate will thoroughly look at any cost that affects tuition.”

The support of O’Brien’s Phi Mu sisters was what really pushed her to run for president.

Jayne Dalton, a Phi Mu member and current senator, encouraged her throughout the entire process.

“Without them, I wouldn’t have had the courage to follow through with the election. I cannot give enough thanks to those who coached me through the process,” O’Brien said.

Vice president Strand is very pleased to be voted into the position for a second term.

“I am happy that the UWRF student body is willing to put its trust in me. I campaigned on experience and keeping fees as reasonable as possible. One of my main goals for this next term is to get more students involved in Senate business.”

This election showed the importance of the individual vote as Strand defeated the runner-up, Elliott Kann, by only one vote.

“Thank you to everyone that voted for me. Every vote really did count,” Strand said. The new Senate will be inaugurated on April 24 following the final meeting of the current Senate.

Tyler Halverson, current Senate president, will hand over the gavel to O’Brien and she will call her first meeting as Senate president to order.

With a year of experience under his belt, Halverson gives O’Brien and the new Senate a bit of advice: “You have to be ready to have the mud slung at you. Don’t let it get you down. Stick to your convictions, what you were voted on, but be sure to listen to everyone. Be ready to deal with everything and anything and make sure you are making an even keel and not a knee-jerk decision,” Halverson said.