Student Senate adapts to COVID-19 outbreak


Jelan Buchanan, Reporter

Eastern’s Student Senate is still trying its best to take care of business even though the entire campus is remote. The senate is still holding meetings every Wednesday at 7 p.m. online through Microsoft Teams.

Student Body President Carson Gordon said senators are working on online programming, social media campaigns, legislation and transition materials for those who will be taking on their roles after them.

“We’ve had a surprisingly smooth transition. Our executive board, along with Speaker Yeakel and our advisers, has worked really well together to make the process effective and efficient,” Gordon said.

She said that everyone on the senate has been utilizing messages, emails and Microsoft Teams, so there has not been a problem at all with communicating.

“Student Government really feels more like a family than an organization, so we’ve all been checking in on each other quite a bit,” Gordon said.

She said Microsoft Teams is excellent to use because that is how senators are able to do their work for the week. “It’s definitely taking some getting used to, but it has worked well so far.”

Gordon said that roles have been changed within the committees on Student Government because of on-campus programming being closed. The senators are looking for new ways to engage with the campus community and the students off campus by using social media.

She said that the student government also had a meeting with President Glassman and that he is being very supportive of them while they continue to work in the midst of this COVID-19 situation. 

Gordon said that if students would like to join the meetings on Wednesdays, they can reach out to her or Yeakel (emails are listed at the end of this story) and they will be able to get them added to the meetings.

“We are also recording our online meetings, so if students are interested in watching them, we can share them that way as well,” Gordon said.

She said as the president of the student government, she is doing her best to continue to fulfill her duties by working on programming, meetings and legislation.

“But my role in the organization has transformed quite a bit in recent weeks. The transition to online learning can present a lot of difficulties in terms of mental health and maintaining a strong academic standing, so my number one priority right now is making sure our student leaders focus on themselves a students and individuals,” Gordon said. 

Gordon said the sudden switch to online-only classes came as a surprise to her.

“It’s definitely not how I anticipated finishing my time in the organization. Our executive board has really become more of a family than a group of coworkers, so despite everything that’s happened, I am so grateful to be ending my senior year with lifelong friendships that I’ve found from this group,” Gordon said.

She said she would have preferred that the commencement was not canceled but felt like the university made the right decision.

“I’ll still be a student here at EIU, so I’ll probably go ahead and walk in the December ceremony,” Gordon said.

She said her plans after this semester are to come back and get her master of business administration degree, and then she will proceed to law school. She plans on becoming attorney after school.

“I’m not sure what kind of law I’d like to practice yet. Ideally, I’d like to get involved in some sort of government position,” Gordon said. 

More information about the senate can be found on the website or by contacting Gordon at [email protected] or Yeakel at [email protected] 

  Jelan Buchanan can be reached at 581-2812or at [email protected]