Valparaiso University's Student Senate is looking to fill it’s open positions in order to have a full senate.
Since the formal senate election process happened in Spring 2021, with the exception of the Freshmen Senators who are elected in the fall, these candidates will have to be interviewed and selected by the Senate Screening Committee.
The Senate is coming off their biannual reapportionment where they reevaluate the number of senators that should be on senate and which positions they hold.
“Every two years Senate looks over how we can better represent the campus community,” said Ben Jacobs, Student Senate Vice President.
For example, the number of class seats for freshman-seniors was changed from four students to three.
With these changes, there are currently eight positions available. The Senate is looking to find one Junior Senator, one Senior Senator, three At-large Commuter Senators, two College of Nursing and Health Professions Senators and one Transfer Senator.
In addition to Senators, they are looking for some executive board positions. These include a Webmaster who is an aid to the Public Relations Coordinator and an Executive Aid to the Treasurer so that they can pass the baton to new leadership when the current members graduate or study abroad next semester.
On Sept. 15, Student Senate held an election for the three Freshman Senator positions available. This year’s candidates were Dianne Dollison, Lucas Lennen, Aidan Walton, Tsion Wolka and Ayat Haque.
Ballots for the election were sent out to the entire freshman class via email and 116 ballots were submitted. The ballots were counted and verified by the Student Senate Elections Committee. In the end Dianne Dollison, Lucas Lennen, and Aidan Walton were elected.
Freshman Dianne Dollison ran for student senate with the goal of being able to give the freshman class a voice on campus. For the freshman candidates, the race has provided an opportunity to get to know other freshmen students who are also new to the campus community.
According to Dollison, the most exciting part about campaigning has been “getting to know people and knock on doors to introduce [herself],” explaining that she is running to represent their class.
“You walk down the hallway everyday and don’t necessarily say ‘Hi’ to people, but you get to interact with people this way and have more familiar faces on campus,” Dollison said.
One priority for Dollison, as she takes her seat in Student Senate, is to continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation on campus and revise campus policies accordingly. Ideas new senators bring to the table are welcomed with open mindedness by Senate leadership.
“We like to see their ideas and how they can help the campus community in years to come,” Jacobs said.
Student Senate works to give students a voice on campus. Jacobs finds the addition of new senators extremely exciting because they come with new perspectives and ambitions that will drive the student community in a positive direction.
“They came to campus searching for a way to be in student government and represent students,” Jacobs said. “We really see some vigor in them, they want to do this.”
Representing the student body is one of the Senate’s top priorities. Students can make their voices heard by contacting their senators or submitting a forum of concern to the Public Relations Coordinator. They can also attend the Senate’s General Assembly meetings in-person at the Harre Union Ballroom every Monday at 8:30 p.m., or join via livestream.