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Student Senate selects Vice President Hobbs

September 20, 2012

Student Senate leaders Bobbi O'Brien and Matthew Hobbs
Student Senate President Bobbi OʼBrien chose Matthew Hobbs to be Vice President of Senate, not because they had similar views on issues, but because she knew they would work well together to improve campus. (Megan Rodriguez/ Student Voice)

Student Senate President Bobbi O’Brien has big plans for reaching her goals of keeping tuition low, increasing visibility of Senate on campus and helping students improve their college experience. However, her right-hand man, student-elected vice president, Carlan Strand, has resigned from Senate and a new vice president has already taken office.

UW-River Falls student Rebecca Smallwood was unaware that Strand had resigned and questions whether the process of determining this new vice president was fair to the students as there have not been any elections held.

“If the students were given the power to vote for the Senate president and vice president in spring elections and either position happens to become vacant, students should again be allowed to choose the new person who will represent them.”

According to ARTICLE XIII, Section C of the Student Senate By-Laws, “In the event of an officer vacancy other than the Student Association President on Senate, the Student Senate President, subject to confirmation by the Senate, may appoint a student to fill the vacancy.”

Therefore, upon receiving Strand’s resignation, O’Brien was in charge of appointing a student to fill the position of vice president with confirmation by the Senate.

The new vice president chosen by O’Brien, Matthew Hobbs, is no stranger to Student Senate. He served as a senator on the Senate last year, was very active, and was elected this past spring to serve again as an at-large senator.

Hobbs is in his third year at UWRF and is majoring in international studies with an emphasis on international global development and is minoring in Chinese history and language. He explained that he was very interested in the position as vice president to help with his application for graduate school.

“This is an invaluable experience that I can use for the rest of my life,” Hobbs said. “I’m very excited for this year as I feel the Senate is going to be very productive.”

O’Brien explained that Hobbs was quick to apply for the position and she knew right away that he would do a good job of representing the students. Her choice of Hobbs for the position went before the Senate’s Executive Board for approval and then before the entire Senate which confirmed her appointment unanimously.

“I specifically chose Matthew Hobbs, because he is an outstanding leader on and off campus. He is driven, hardworking, and extremely reliable. There is no doubt in my mind he will leave a very positive impact on Senate and on this campus.”

The Senators agree with O’Brien in her opinion about Hobbs and are fully supporting him as he learns the ropes and gets settled into his position as vice president.

“When he presented his case to the Executive Board he was very enthusiastic about taking on this new role and he is doing such a good job already,” Senator Jessica Pett said.

O’Brien and Hobbs have different opinions on many matters, but they said that they are always objective and work together very well. Their goals for this year for Senate are also a bit different. As one of Hobbs’ main goals is to focus on more in-sourcing especially for the University Center, as they have had significant budget cuts. He believes that it is an incredibly important building that students should be able to get the full benefit from.

With three meetings under its belt, the Senate is already moving forward with many different motions and matters of importance. Senate is currently working on ensuring student orgs understand the budgeting process, how student orgs can access their allocations, and how to responsibly and properly spend their money. The Allocable Fees and Appropriations Board (AFAB), Student Life, and O’Brien are formulating a process that will revamp student org budgeting.

This week a motion was approved to allocate funds to the UWRF rugby team to purchase new jerseys, which were required by the Recreation and Sport Facilities to be replaced. The funds will come from the reserve account, which currently amounts to over $100,000 and is of major importance to the Senate this year. It is to be allocated and spent down for the benefit of the students and the University.

One major goal for Senate this fall will be the Vote Project. As everyone most likely knows, this is a presidential election year. Senate will be encouraging all students to vote. As the elections come closer, you will see campus plastered with the Vote Campaign.

There are currently eight seats open on Senate: one at- Large Senator, the College of Business and Economics representative, four First Year Representatives, the Greek Representative, and the Diversity Representative. Elections will be held to fill these positions and students have already started to apply. O’Brien explained that having representation of all students by Senators who have different views, backgrounds and experience is extremely important in making decisions for all students.

“The semester so far is going wonderfully! We already have such a diverse group of Senators that are all dedicated to Senate, the Students, and this campus. I am extremely excited to see where this year goes.”