Student Senate voted on and approved a new constitution during an executive session March 4. The constitution, which includes new dorm representation for senate members, written by senior Sam Thompson, vice president, will be implemented in the fall.
Senate will be changing its name to the “Student Government Association” and will now allow student representatives from different dormitories, along with class representatives.
Sophomore Logan Presnell was elected the 2015-2016 student body president – the first president of the new Student Government Association.
1. What are your thoughts on the new constitution and representative system?
When this idea was first presented last spring I thought that the new system of representation was a fantastic idea. That being said, I was thrilled that Sam along with other members of the constitution committee took the initiative to see something that we felt needed changed and to actually do something about it. When the new draft of the constitution was presented, I was trying to be as critical as possible because I knew there was a good chance I was going to be the one inheriting the new system and wanted to believe in and understand it to the best of my ability. We were able to discuss, make a few changes, and really get the new constitution exactly where we thought it needed to be to benefit the student body most efficiently. The new constitution is great. It is an edified and revised version of the old constitution, a process that was long overdue. Most importantly the new constitution implements a new system of representation for what will now be called Student Government Association (SGA). I am very pleased to be moving in this new direction and think that the new system of representation will improve participation in student government, enhance representation of the student body, raise awareness of what student government is and who is involved in it, and will boost voter turnout.
2. What challenges do you see facing you as you deal with this new system?
I am very aware that by making a change like this to a long standing organization that has been set up a certain way for many years that challenges are inevitable. My goal as I lead SGA will be to not cower in light of these challenges but to take them head on using discernment and wisdom to solve each and every problem to the best of my ability. We have a young executive board, myself included, and some might say that the experience is not up to par. However, I am a very determined individual and hold myself and those I am working with to a very high standard and I am fully confident that through hard work and perseverance change can happen. I believe that this will be the case next year for the first Student Government Association.
3. How have other senate members reacted to the new structure?
As I mentioned, senate as a whole was aware of this idea last spring so returning members were not thrown off by it. In fact, if there had been time last year the system most likely would have changed then, but it just was not possible. That being said, we were totally on board this year when Sam Thompson took the initiative to write up a new constitution. We definitely looked over it closely, made some changes, and expressed our concerns (all of which were heard and dealt with). Then when the final version was presented almost every senator was excited to vote on it. The vote was very close to unanimous and I know that those senators returning are excited for the new system and those leaving are confident in the change that is to come.
4. How will you work with all the potentially new senate members next year with the new system?
I am very excited to work with the new representatives next year. We are losing a lot of people after this year, and although I am sad to see them leave I am very excited to have some fresh eyes and ears representing the students on this campus. I think it is fitting that with a new representation system we have a largely new group of representatives. I am most excited about this because these new representatives will come in with an open mind and my goal is to motivate them to make SGA an extremely dynamic organization on campus. I personally have been encouraging a lot of students who I think would do a great job representing this campus to ensure the quality of our representatives, which is vital to our success as an organization. I am also excited to have senate members returning who bring a lot of experience and insight to the table. With all representatives next year I plan on implementing multiple principles that will improve awareness of our representatives on campus and improve the voice that students and our organization have.
5. Final thoughts?
In conclusion I am very excited to take on this challenge. With risk comes great reward. I think it is safe to say this is a bit of a risk but I think the reward will be unbelievable. With this new constitution and system of representation comes a revitalization of student government on campus and I am more than thrilled to be a catalyst for that process. Finally, I encourage all students who have any interest in making a change and being a microphone for the voices of the students on this campus to run for a spot on SGA. It is an extremely rewarding and eye-opening experience that you will not regret.
A full story on the new constitution will appear in issue five April 2.