Photo: Tyler O’Neil
Whether one considers Student Senate an official forum for campus drama or a valuable tool for student input, what’s not usually debated is the way it is reinvented each year under new leadership. Student Body President Samantha Haas shared her reflections on its 24th session.
“This is a year where I’ve had more people coming up to me and saying, ‘Good job with Senate,’ than people having complaints and questions,” Haas said. She added that there were fewer issues creating cause for concern.
“Some of it has been work management on our part, and some of it has been a little bit of luck.”
FEES AND FUNDING
Senate has been busy debating control of student fees. Sen. Rachel Kauffold proposed a motion to separate the Board of Student Communications budget from the student activities fee and create a campus media fee. The move would not raise the Student Activities Fee, and Haas is in favor of the change.
“They should be governed differently, and the student activity fee should be completely run by students,” she said.
After extensive debate, the motion failed. It is still being revised.
Senate and Haas organized a town hall meeting in March to facilitate student-faculty discussion on the idea of a January Term at Drake. Strong disapproval from some faculty members surfaced, but it led to a more engaged student body.
“I think a lot of students see value in adding a January Term, and they need a body who’s officially there to say that, and we’re trying to provide that,” Haas said.
THE FIRST-YEAR SENATOR
David Karaz was elected in November to the position approved by the previous Senate.
“Having a first-year senator has really been a breath of fresh air,” Haas said. “David will ask questions in Senate that really clarify what we’ve been trying to say for years,” Haas said.
WHY SENATE MATTERS
“Change doesn’t happen by complaining to your roommate about something you don’t like. Change doesn’t happen by ignoring the survey that’s sitting in your inbox. Change happens when you take those things, look at them and express your opinion in a useful way to express solutions.”