3 candidates running for student senate speaker

Logan Raschke, News Editor

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Three senators presented to the rest of Student Senate ideas and plans they would execute to improve student government if they were elected to be speaker next term.

Brianna Hogen

Hogen said she has only been a student senator for one semester, but in that short amount of time she was instrumental in helping the alumni affairs committee go from being inactive to “thriving.”

Her main talking points included accountability, open communication, inclusion and availability for the student body.

Hogen said she would like to increase the diversity requirements for student senators from two to three per semester if she became speaker.

“It’s so many different events that go on in a semester and we have a whole semester, and I know everyone’s busy, but the whole semester is just packed,” she said. “This month—there’s just something (going on) everyday.”

She also said an open line of communication from students to Student Senate is important. To open up that line of communication, Hogen said she would like to see suggestion boxes around campus for students to voice their concerns.

Student government does have the Let Your Voice Be Heard tabling series to communicate with the student body about important issues, but Hogen said sometimes students are more willing to express their opinions and ideas anonymously through suggestion boxes.

Communication and engagement between students and student senators is also lacking, she said. She would like to see senators engaging with student leaders in registered student organizations to coordinate special events.

Additionally, she said she would like student government to collaborate with more minority organizations on campus for events to promote inclusion. 

Michael Perri

Perri said he would like to establish another committee to research how other student governments operate.

After this committee conducts appropriate research, he said he wants members to propose solutions to the senate for the purpose of improving student government.

Perri said he also wants the best senators to lead optional workshops for less experienced senators in addition to the mandatory training. He would like to incentivize marketing within student government as well, he said.

Student Senate could have competitions to see which senator(s) could get the most advertisements and marketing out and distributed around campus to fulfill this goal, Perri said.

Additionally, he said too much of the marketing that gets printed for student government goes to waste because it is unnecessary, so reducing the number of ads printed would save the senate some cash.

He also said splitting up the campus into several sectors and appointing each to a committee for marketing distribution might be a more effective way to get news of student government events out.

Perri said senators must start reaching out to other RSOs and getting involved with different organizations more frequently as well.

“The more we learn about other people, we can bring ideas to the senate to help us,” he said.

He would also like to continue the Let Your Voice be Heard tabling series; student government has only hosted three tablings this semester, but Perri said he would like to increase that to six a semester (one in December, one in September and two in October and November), Perri said. Perri also wants to implement one-year terms for committee chairs and have an application online to make the entire hiring process easier and faster, he said.

Seth Yeakel

Yeakel said he would like student government to host a banquet in the South Quad in September to engage with students and hear their ideas.

He wants to lead a discussion during this banquet in which the senate would go through what he called a number of agendas, only unlike normal Student Senate meetings, students could also participate in the ongoing conversations, he said.

He also wants to create mock meetings between old and new student senators to prepare the new recruits for Student Senate.

Yeakel also said he wants to create one-on-one meetings weekly with senators and committee chairs to review duties in detail. He said the purpose behind these meetings is to ensure transitions from senator positions to committee positions is smooth. He also hopes these meetings help the less experienced senators understand “what they sign up for,” he said.

Yeakel wants to work with the vice president of student affairs to reach out to RSOs, getting senators involved with a wide range of activities and encouraging RSO members to come to the Student Senate meetings. Yeakel said the rationale for encouraging RSO members to attend meetings is to get more student input. This might also positively affect Student Senate recruitment.

Student Senate will have a primary election during the next meeting (April 17) to conclude which two out of the three nominees for speaker will be included in the final consideration for the position. The senate will then have a discussion and vote on next term’s speaker.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].