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Student Senate elections seek new representation

March 14, 2013

Student senators at March 12 meeting.
Bobbi O’Brien (left), Hannah Carlson (middle) and Derek Johnson (right) at the March 12 Student Senate meeting. O’Brien is the current Senate president and Carlson is the elections commissioner who oversees the entire Senate election process. (Sarah Plank/Student Voice)

The UW-River Falls Student Senate will be having elections for next year and the deadline for students to fill out petitions to be on the ballot is Friday, March 22.

“Student Senate works with the chancellor, he relies on them to inform him of what can be done to improve student experiences,” said Paul Shepherd, director of Student Life and advisor to Senate.

For this spring’s election there will be a new Senate president, vice president, a non-traditional representative, representatives for each of the four colleges and eight at-large senator positions. If running for president or vice president, one needs to obtain 100 signatures on the petition to be put on the ballot. All other positions require 50 signatures.

“It’s a very educational experience and I learned how to voice my opinion as well as work on my leadership abilities,” said Elections Commissioner Hannah Carlson. “I enjoy being on Student Senate and I can appreciate all the different opinions that come through on campus.”

Students received an email at the end of February regarding the election and the documents for the petition, the election rules and the general Senate Committee form. The documents can also be found at the Involvement Center information desk and on the Senate OrgSync page, as well, for those who may not have the email any longer and are interested in getting their name on the ballot. The deadline for the petition is 4 p.m. Friday, March 22.

Previous experience is not necessary for a student to run for a position on Senate, however there is a minimum 2.25 grade point average (GPA) requirement. Students are also highly recommended to read and abide by the election rules.

“If they do break the rules, I do have the power to say ‘sorry, you can’t be on the ballot.’ I don’t want to have to do that,” Carlson said. “For example, they can’t start putting up posters and campaigning until after March 22.”

Shared Governance Director Jessica Pett has been on Senate for two years and will not be returning after her term is up this spring.

“I can’t run again because I will probably only be here for one more semester of classes and it isn’t fair to only complete half of my term,” Pett said. “If I were here for another year for sure, I would run again.”

Pett said that the Shared Governance director is a rewarding position and being able to see the people working in the committees for Senate and doing what they had been wanting to do for campus.

Shepherd, Carlson and Pett all encourage any student who is interested in being on Senate to complete a petition to be put on the ballot.

“We really need new people to run because it brings in new ideas and new viewpoints and that is important,” Shepherd said.

As an added bonus, those on the executive board for Senate are paid.

“It’s a relatively small stipend,” Shepherd said. “It’s a way to honor that when you are in these leadership positions, you have expectations.”

Pett advised those who want to be a part of Senate to be organized and be prepared to work hard.

“It’s not for somebody who thinks that they can just skate by. It’s a position you have to be really involved in,” Pett said.

Some important dates to remember about the Senate elections are:

Petitions are due by 4 p.m. Friday, March 22, the presidential debate will be held on Monday, April 1, the presidential primary election will be held on April 8 and 9 and the general election will be held April 15 through the 16.