Story by Tamara Tiethoff, News Intern
Photo courtesy of Aquinas College
Each and everyone of us are entitled to our own opinions, and when we would like to see something improved or changed we turn to our very own Student Senate. Currently, Student Senate is going through an election process to elect new cabinet members as well as executive members. Applications were due on February 24 and the elections will end on April 13. Online voting will take place from 8 p.m. on March 15 until 5 p.m. on March 22.
Over the years, Student Senate has put on various events that have impacted the Aquinas College student body. Some of the events that Student Senate put on this year included casino night during orientation, traveling coffee for exam cram, a water drive for Flint, the third annual leadership conference, a senate open house, and a fall and winter retreat. There are also a few big events being planned to happen before school gets out as well.
“[There will be] It’s On Us National Week of Action in April. We will have a final Town Hall Debate, and finish elections for [ the] Executive Committee and the class senators. We will also have a Campus Safety panel and a Fireside Chat on March 30,” explained junior and Student Senate Vice Chair Zoe Gipson.
When senators were asked about their favorite part of being involved with Student Senate, they had many things to say.
“I have loved the opportunity to create my experience. So much of Senate is taking things into your own hands and turning something out. We get a lot of student concerns, some of which we can’t do much about, but a lot we can. There is continual improvement, and since the body and leadership changes so much, there’s always a new perspective. I have gotten to come in and do some really incredible things with some incredible people,” stated Gipson.
“I like[d] being able to represent myself and the student body during the Senate meetings. It’s good to have a voice and it’s a great way to make sure that your voice, along with others, is being heard,” shared first-year student senator Patrick Truskowski.
One of the biggest decisions of Student Senate this year was the stipend decrease. After working with their budget director and budget committee, Student Senate officials voted to have their own stipends eliminated in hopes of being able to put more money toward the students instead of themselves.
“I would also like to say that another big achievement has been our work with RSO Assembly and the changes we have been making the past few years and have continued to make. We’re focusing on giving RSO leaders what they need in terms of resources, while providing a place for checks and balances,” said Gipson.
Student Senate gives students the opportunity to get involved in the behind-the-scenes work at Aquinas. Instead of just wishing for a change, the elected representatives of each class are given the opportunity to actually make the change. Despite any preconceived notions about your chances to get elected as a representative, anyone who has an interest in being a leader and being a voice of the student body is encouraged to fill out an application.
“I’ve heard a lot of people say that it’s a popularity contest, because student government in high school always was. But here, it’s not,” shared Gipson. “We’re small enough that “popularity” isn’t what makes these elections. It’s passion, and people can see that miles away.”
As junior senator Kashcha Sanor said, “getting involved with Senate can seem scary but it’s a really supporting group of students. It’s an empowering community once you take the first step. We’re here to support the student voice and create a well rounded experience for all students. Talk to a class representative. We are far from scary and we want to hear you.”
About the Writer…
Tamara Tiethoff is a nursing major in the UDM/Aquinas program. In the future she hopes to become a neonatal nurse and continue writing on the side. She enjoys staying busy, but in her free time she loves drawing, spontaneous adventures, and coffee shops.