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The books close on the 74th Student Senate

April 27, 2012

The 74th session of the Student Association Student Senate has come to a close. With 106 motions considered this year, it was one of the most productive sessions to date, according to former President Tyler Halverson.

“There were three major accomplishments this year in my opinion. The biggest was potentially the reform to our allocable funding system. The second is the success of the Reserve Ad Hoc (Super) Committee and the third being the new UW-River Falls spirit song,” said Halverson.

Since the first meeting of the 74th session on April 26, 2011 until the gavel was dropped concluding the Senate’s final meeting, the members really experienced everything.

The allocable funding system is something that has come before the Senate multiple times and attempts have been made to try and make the process easier. However, it was really this year that the system was finally reformed with now only one committee overseeing the process, one fee, one set of rules, and only one comprehensive allocable budget.

According to former Allocable Fees and Appropriations Board (AFAB) Chair Ben Blanchard, this reform is something that is going to make the job of the AFAB much easier and clearer for next year and in years to come.

The reserve accounts became a major area of concern for the Senate this year as it was feared the state would raid the accounts if they remained plentiful. Halverson made this issue a priority and pushed for ideas of ways to spend down the accounts.

A town hall meeting was held by the Super Committee and many of the ideas that came out of the discussion, along with others, were brought before the Senate.

One of the biggest allocations went towards the campus mall project and lighting the back path, something Halverson said has been a hot issue since he first served on Senate in 2007.

The dedication of the new UWRF spirit song, Our Chance to Fly, is an accomplishment that may not be so obvious to students and possibly seen as not really that important, but Halverson thinks otherwise.

“The song was played at the fall 2011 commencement and will continue to be played at commencement ceremonies in the future. It is really a legacy thing, a way for Senate to say it helped to leave a mark.”

The spring semester brought many challenges before the Senate with budgeting, proposed segregated fee increases, and awareness of Senate for the elections. New Senate President Bobbi O’Brien said that many of the challenges were overcome because of the openness and willingness to discuss issues.

“People really came out of their shells and spoke their minds. I was especially impressed with the process and discussion surrounding the segregated fee increases.”

UWRF Student Curtis Mishler believes that student senate is there for a reason and said that it really does have a great responsibility to students whether they see it or not.

“I didn’t always follow the politics or what student senate was doing this semester very closely, but I know they were there to represent us and do what we as students would want.”

Emotions were high during the final meeting of the 74th session. Former Senator Jayne Dalton gave a short outgoing speech and while she talked it was obvious that many of the senators, both returning and outgoing, were sad that the year had to come to an end.

After Halverson gave his final speech as president, the inauguration of the new Senate began. The ceremony was put into place to give the process the more formal feel that it lacked in previous transitions.

“The inauguration ceremony makes it so much more special. It really made me feel the weight and importance of my position,” O’Brien said. After all was said and done, Halverson, who has been a part of Senate for five years, was asked what he will miss the most and what he feels he has accomplished.

“It really comes down to the responsibility. When I carry out my responsibilities on Senate I feel like a better person and that is what I will miss most,” said Halverson. “It has always been my goal to pursue policy that benefits the students of this University and as I exit, I can say that is exactly what I did.”

The 75th session of the Student Senate was called to order by O’Brien on April 24 and the new Senate has officially taken over representing the students of this University.