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Senate election brings new leadership

March 30, 2012

The elections for Student Senate are right around the corner and it will be up to the students to decide who they think will best represent the entire student body.

Voters will have a choice between two candidates for Senate president and three candidates for Senate vice president.

The candidates for president are Bobbi O’Brien and Samuel Tauchen. Both candidates are members of Greek organizations at UW-River Falls.

O’Brien is currently serving as the Greek representative on Senate.

Vice presidential candidates include: Riley Haynes, Elliott Kann and Carlan Strand.

Haynes currently holds a position as first-year representative on Senate. Both Kann and Haynes bring some more of the Greek life to the elections.

Strand, the incumbent, is running for re-election.

All presidential and vice presidential candidates were asked via email why they are running for Senate and what they are advocating for.

“The reason I am running for president is to bridge the gap between senators, faculty, community members, and most importantly, students. My primary goal is to build a relationship with the students and be able to earn that respect,” said Tauchen.

“Students need a voice and good representation, and I feel I have the ability to communicate with them effectively and bring their ideas to the Senate. Something I would like to accomplish if elected president is student involvement in Senate decisions,” said O’Brien.

“I know the position well after my experience this year. I hope to continue to advocate for as many students as possible, and also want to continue to ensure that Student money is spent wisely,” said Strand.

“It is a position that cannot be taking lightly for the opportunity to offer involvement to give back to the students. I want to offer premier leadership that represents the student body and campus organizations by increasing awareness of the importance and ability of Student Senate,” said Kann.

“I chose to run because I am passionate about serving UWRF to the highest degree possible. As vice president I wish to serve my fellow students by considering the thoughts and opinions of students from all viewpoints, and representing each of them equally on the Senate floor,” said Haynes.

Student Senate Advisor Paul Shepherd explained that the elections are very important and students need to be made aware of that.

Some students may question the Senate’s relevance to them and opt not to vote. This could be a big part of why for the past few voting cycles, UWRF has seen less than 10 percent of students voting.

“Student Senate really is the voice for all students and the decisions they make have the ability to affect everyone whether they feel those effects or not,” Sheperd said. This semester Senate has made some important decisions about budgeting, raising student segregated fees, and how to spend down reserve accounts.

Senate member and Elections Commissioner Ben Blanchard stresses that Senate is more important than people think.

“We are blessed in the state of Wisconsin to have as much power governing our own university as we do. Many of the faculty and staff here at UWRF pay attention to what is said and done on the Senate floor.”

On Monday, April 2 at 8 a.m., the polls will open. An email will go out to everyone currently enrolled at UWRF that will include a link, which will take you to a survey that acts as your ballot. Once your ballot is completed and you submit it, it records the results automatically.

Voting will close on Tuesday, April 3 at 4 p.m.

The results of the election will then be reviewed and posted at 5 p.m. that day. The new Senate will take over at the end of April.