STORY BY COLE NORUM
On Thursday, Sept. 26, the Drake University Student Senate voted to allocate funding for the girl’s dance club, men’s soccer club and the Drake tennis club. Senate also approved two new student organizations, including an LGBTQ advocacy group.
Five candidates for first-year senator also attended the meeting, each speaking briefly about their qualifications and what they’d like to accomplish if elected.
“As first-year senator, you take your goals and responsibilities as they come,” said candidate Trevor Matusik. “My number one goal and my number one priority is to always have my first-year peers in mind.”
The candidates discussed their platforms, each based on continuing their active engagement with organizations and fellow students as well as tangible goals.
Each candidate touched upon the lack of coin dispensers in residence hall laundry rooms, alluding to local businesses growing upset with students asking for handfuls of quarters.
President Joey Gale welcomed the candidates’ input.
“It’s always inspiring to hear from fresh minds,” Gale said.
The Senate unanimously approved One Voice and the Drake Political Review, two new organizations created by students to cater to needs of the student body they felt have not yet been met. Both groups sought approval by the senators to move forward in their goals of promoting advocacy and awareness.
The Drake Political Review will communicate an eclectic representation of student voices on non-partisan political issues, according to an official statement.
The group aims to host events and forums on a wide array of issues directly affecting students.
One of the issues mentioned was rising tuition costs and general college affordability, topics any student can discuss regardless of political knowledge or party affiliation.
“We can discuss both sides of the issue while remaining non-partisan,” said review member Susanna Hayward to the senators.
In addition to approving the Drake Political Review, senators voted to approve Drake University’s first LGBTQ advocacy group, working alongside the support group Rainbow Union to promote an environment of increased inclusion.
Grace Wenzel, who started One Voice as her senior capstone, spoke before the senate on Drake’s limitations in accommodating those who identify as LGBTQ.
“What we found in our research that we’ve been doing is that there are lots of areas of improvement on Drake’s campus,” Wenzel said.
The group hopes to create allies on campus through a grassroots campaign, beginning with an entire week devoted to spreading its message of acceptance and activism. The organization anticipates their campaign will also contribute to its sustainability.
“This needs to be not just a semester-long project,” Wenzel said. “Really, the end-goal for the class and then moving forward … is getting student support.”
Over the next four years, One Voice will work to accomplish a goal included in the Senate 60: making Drake a top 20 LGBTQ-friendly campus by 2018. Earlier this year, Grinnell College, another Iowa college, was awarded this distinction and was ranked No. 18 in the nation.