Student Senate goes back to basics

Student Senate members gathered together Saturday in an effort to educate newly appointed members as well as returning members on senate procedures.

Student Senate Speaker Jarrod Scherle and the members of student government’s executive branch led the retreat with each student executive giving a presentation.

The veteran student government members explained differences between the Student Senate resolutions, bylaws, and bills to meeting senate requirements. Senate members were given time to ask their more experienced members questions.

“This isn’t something you can take on partially and expect to succeed in it,” said Scherle, a senior finance major. “It really becomes a part of who you are.”

Kaci Abolt, a sophomore political science major, along with two other senate members were assigned to the student affairs committee now led by the Student Senate Parliamentarian Ed Hotwagner.

“I think it brought us together,” Abolt said. “It will only have a positive impact.”

Throughout the retreat, senate members cast votes using their cell phones to say what they thought of the retreat and the senate overall.

The student government diversity requirement was also explained to senate members.

It is by definition anything that makes someone different, Student Body President Michelle Murphy said.

Senate members can either attend an event or plan one of their own.

“It’s just another way to get your paws out to make sure we are representing all students,” Murphy said.

The requirement was made to give senate members, who are supposed to represent a minimum of 400 Eastern students, a better idea of who they are representing.

The visiting of on campus organizations is intended to allow senate members to get ideas or vote on their behalf rather than abstaining during a student senate meeting.

When a senate member abstains during the voting process it’s like silencing 400 voices, Scherle said.

A monthly visitation to a Registered Student Organization is also a Student Senate requirement.

The senate members cannot be a part of the RSO.

“It’s our way of communicating with students,” said Mary Lane, a sophomore athletic training major.

Dan Nadler, the vice president of student affairs, attends every student senate meeting after being told by former Eastern President Lou Hencken to attend weekly Student Senate meetings in an effort to keep himself up to date with student issues.

“I try to have the same kind of commitment the (senate) has to student government,” Nadler said.

Nadler said he has only missed two meetings since he took office in 2005.

“While sometimes there are debates within the Student Senate members there is always the question what do the students think and that’s our responsibility,” Nadler said.

“Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you’re having to vote on a particular bill or issue that might not be the most popular, but at the same time you aren’t always voting how they would vote,” Nadler said.

Senate members cannot always vote the way Eastern students would vote because it might not be for the betterment of Eastern, Nadler said.

“(The administration) can’t read our minds they just collect our tuition bills,” Scherle said. “Dr. Nadler can’t go out and talk to 12,000 students as a (senate member) we can try.”

The retreat began with a video called “10 Commandments to Leadership.”

The video had 10 rules people in power or leadership positions should follow in order to become successful and productive leaders.

The first three points listed were to: make what matters really matter, practice what you preach, and share what you know.

“Let your differences be your direction was one I liked,” Scherle said.

“It’s kind of depressing that the student body does not respect the student government as it stands now,” Scherle said.

The Student Senate meets at 7 p.m. every Wednesday in the Arcola-Tuscola Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

“We don’t always agree with people, but student government wouldn’t be very useful if everyone agreed on the same page,” Scherle said.

Nike Ogunbodede can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]