Senate has new office

Senate has new office

by Jasmynne Sloan

The Student Senate has a new office in student development that is open every afternoon, Monday-Friday.

The office is a new project for the Senate and was allocated $4,900 in the 2002/2003 Senate budget.

“The money given to the Student Senate office is an executive budget that is used to run student government,” said Jake Abel, student body president.

The office contains a laptop computer and a new multi-purpose printer-fax machine-copier-scanner.

“The computer and printer are both one-time expenses,” said Abel.

Another $2,000 of the budget went toward a student government leadership conference in Los Angeles over the summer, and the remaining money will be spent on office supplies, binders for each senator and a variety of senator incentives.

“We were one of the few senates that attended the L.A. conference that didn’t keep an office,” said Abel. “That was one of the reasons we decided to set up one.”

“We want to expand student government, and give it more legitimacy, but we realized that it would be hard to do without a central location,” Abel said.

The office is staffed by cabinet members, who have two or three hours of office time a week.

“Our goal is to guarantee that our officers have some time each week that is devoted to student government,” said Abel.

“I spend two and half hours a week here. That’s plenty of time for me to get everything done I’m supposed to,” said Sophomore Class President Eric Elben.

While there, senators may work on amendments and resolutions, look over policies and do work specifically for their committees, but their main task is to keep a record of what is done.

“Now that we have a place to keep them, we’re trying to set up procedures and rules to keep better records so that the next officers will have a better idea of what to do,” Abel said.

“The computer will help us keep all of our documents in one place,” said Abel. “That will keep us from having all our records on different disks and computers.”

Officers are not the only people who use the office. All senators are required to check in there once a week.

“Our goal is to keep senators asking their constituents questions,” said Abel.

“I think it’s a good idea to have all of us check in because being a senator is an active process and checking in keeps it that way,” said freshman senator Libby Ehrig.

“I also think that the office will provide a more informal atmosphere for senators to discuss ideas and issues,” said Ehrig.

Another goal is to have students come to the office with questions and concerns.

“If a student has a complaint, they shouldn’t have to look someone up, they should be able to go to the office so that their concerns get put on the Senate or cabinet agenda,” said Abel.

There are still a few things to work out before the senate office is running smoothly.

“There have been a few incidents where someone has stopped by the office and no one is here and we’re working on making sure that someone is here all the time during office hours,” said Abel. “We’re still trying to get a consistent schedule laid out.”

“I’m a little concerned about officers being here when they’re supposed to,” said Elben.

Many students still do not know there is a Student Senate office on campus.

“I want to put out a mass e-mail soon, but I haven’t done it yet because I want to be sure that the office is going to be available to anyone who wants to stop by,” said Abel.

“I like having an office because it makes student government more tangible to the student body,” said Ehrig. “If people can see the office and go there, then Student Senate becomes a real part of the campus community.”