Student Senate held Senate Day on Wednesday, April 5 to promote the senate elections and encourage students to participate in voting. Senate members called over passer-bys, asking them to vote and showing off the various prizes they could win if they participated. Students also answered trivia questions and offered feedback of their perceptions of the St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) Senate. The Senate elections’ purpose is to choose what students will be represented on the Student Senate in the coming year. This year, the ballot also asked of students their opinion on lowering the budget for The Wheel student newspaper. The proposed change was to lower the budget from 14% to 9.2% in the next year and coming years. The choice to lower the budget had come up because the Wheel was not able to use all of its funding in the past year.
The election results came out April 6. The elected candidate for Senate president is Biftu Bussa, winning with 97.97% of the votes. Muna Scekomar won for Senate Chair. Anna Foster won Sophomore Representative, Sochenda Pen won for Junior Representative, and Heidi Holthus won for Senior Representative. For Commuter Senators, of which there are four seats, Rahma Abufoor, Paxoua Vang, Pang Vang, and Sochenda Pen all won. The student body also voted to lower the Wheel’s budget in the coming years.
Many students came out to vote in the elections. “It’s my responsibility as a member of the student body,” commented Sarah Haglund, 18’, on voting in the Senate elections.
Rahma Abufoor was up for election in the positions of commuter senator, international senator, and sophomore representative. Abufoor currently serves as a commuter senator, and it is the first time she has served on the Student Senate. “It’s my first time here. I think my first month was kind of complicated. I have three other commuter senators to ask though,” she added. When asked what she’d like other students to know about Senate, Abufoor answered, “It’s a complicated process, we need everyone to agree with us, and things take more time!”
Sochenda Pen, 19’, serves as a Commuter Senator. “Some students don’t know we have office hours, students should come during office hours”, said Sochenda Pen. “We want more students to be involved in Senate”. Pen commented that her position allows her to be a speaker for the rest of the student body, and she tries her best to respond to commuter students’ needs. Students are always welcomed to observe at Senate meetings, which are held weekly on Tuesdays from 12PM-1:15PM in the Rauenhorst Ballroom.
Kylie Schmidt is a co-chair of the Environmental Issues committee on the Senate, and tabled for Senate Day. “There are a lot of moving parts to [Senate] and you don’t see that unless you’re a part of it” said Schmidt. The environmental issues committee is currently looking into putting another hydration station on campus. They also do tabling events that teach students how to use the compost and recycling systems at St. Kate’s. “We try and organize events on campus that are centered on making St. Kate’s more environmentally friendly” added Schmidt about the environmental issues committee.
The next Senate meeting is Tuesday, April 18th at 12PM. Newly elected Senate members will take office in the upcoming Fall 2017 semester.