New senators prepare for term as Senate seeks to improve retention
Seven new senators were sworn into Student Union Senate last week. With eight resignations last term, current SU members are working to make sure both old and new senators stay with the body through the entire term. To ensure fewer resignations, Senate revitalized its recruitment and retention committee, which had fallen out of practice over the past year.
Vice President of Administration Nate Ferguson is spearheading the committee, whose first meeting saw many SU officers in attendance from several parts of SU.
“It was exciting to tell that morale was improving and everyone was really looking forward to what SU could do,” said Ferguson, a junior.
The main purpose of the committee is to ensure that senators’ morale stays up. Ferguson said morale has been a problem for some during the past semester.
The new senators are bringing with them both an awareness of some of the problems Senate faced last semester and optimism about the future.
Sophomore Jacqui Germain, a newly elected senator, said she considered previous senators’ dissatisfaction with their positions when she ran for Senate.
“[The] problem with Senate is that it seems sometimes like they don’t focus on things that are important,” Germain said. “They focus on things like cleaning up legislation, but if you do that all the time…people don’t want to be as involved anymore if they don’t feel like they’re doing anything worth their time.”
Sophomore Cody Katz, another newly elected senator, said that senators getting recognition for their work is important for keeping up morale.
“Seeing results and being recognized for those results” is important in order to stay enthusiastic about Senate, Katz said.
The committee will be working on increasing recognition of senators’ accomplishments. Ferguson is compiling a list of everyone’s projects and sending out internal newsletters to make sure everyone in SU knows what everyone else is doing.
“It’s something tangible people can look at,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson hopes that when officers feel disenchanted, they will be comfortable enough to approach the executive officers or the speaker of the Senate. He also wants to make sure everyone has fun.
“[I want to make sure that] we’re not taking ourselves too seriously because we’re all students,” Ferguson said. “We’re all working together to better the University.”
The new senators are excited to get involved with Senate and look forward to making a concrete difference in students’ lives. Their interests range from improving school spirit to combating discrimination.
Sophomore Alex Cooper, a newly elected senator, wants to increase collaboration between student groups.
“I wanted to push student groups with similar ideas that may not interact to expand who they hang out with,” Cooper said.
Germain says her two main goals are to get students more involved with extracurricular activities on campus, especially sports, as well as to raise awareness among students that they should bring their concerns about the University to Senate.
In addition to Katz, Germain and Cooper, the new senators are junior Pat Kelly, freshman Ross Passo, sophomore Taylor Epskamp and sophomore Dan Robinson.