Senators begin new term
April 20, 2012
The 13 newly elected Student Senate senators have many different goals for the Senate going into their term. These include the visibility of Senate on campus, connecting and working together as a new group and getting involved in committees.
In this election, there were 662 students who voted yielding a voter turnout of 10.8 percent of the entire student body. This number is very similar to the previous elections held in April and October of 2011.
“With only 10.8 percent of the student body voting, many of these races could have ended up differently,” Elections Commissioner Ben Blanchard said.
Many of the senators are very concerned that the low voter turnout suggests Senate has become something that students are uninformed about and are therefore not involved with. The new senators said that this is something they will work very hard at changing.
“The other senators and I will represent the student body as best we can, but it is always very beneficial to hear directly from the students,” Senator Dominic Riel said. “So we will work on trying to keep the student body informed on work being done and encouraging more participation with the Senate.”
Riel will serve as the representative for the College of Business and Economics on Senate.
The representatives for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Education and Professional Studies are Brandon Scharping, Grady Nelson and Hannah Klingfus, respectively. Joining them at the Senate table will be non-traditional representative Elliott Kaan and eight other atlarge senators.
They include: Samuel Tauchen, Riley Haynes, Hannah Carlson, Asher Heer, Matthew Hobbs, Amy Graham, Derek Johnson and Kayla Edstrom.
All but four of the new senators are currently serving on Student Senate.
Director of Student Life and Senate Advisor Paul Shepherd said that it is really great that the Senate transition happens when it does at the end of the school year because it allows the new Senate to utilize the knowledge of members of the previous Senate while they are still available.
“The transition really gets the Senate jump started for next year. Many of the current senators who have served multiple terms will be graduating so it will really be a new year in terms of experience,” Shepherd said.
Although many of the new members have already been acquainted, Senator Edstrom explained that for the end of this semester her main goal is to get to know all of the new senators and find the best way for them to work together so that the Senate can better accomplish things for next year.
“By making connections right away at the end of this semester, we should have a lot easier time getting things done in an efficient and productive way next year.”
Current senator Beth DeLong has always felt strongly about the members of the Senate getting involved with many different committees. She encourages the new senaters to become more knowledgeable by getting involved in the decision making process early, at the smaller committee levels.
Many of the new senators said that they want to be very involved with the Allocable Fees and Appropriations Board (AFAB), Student Affairs and Academic Services committee, Ethics committee and Facilities and Fees Board. On April 24, the outgoing Senate will vacate their seats, and the new Senate members will officially begin their term.
“Next year on Senate I want to continue the great work that has been accomplished by this year’s Senate,” said Klingfus. “We need to ensure that we continue to look out for our peers and help to provide the best education and environment for all UWRF students.”