The Student Government Association at Springfield College has many members, all who have a specific job to do. One of the most accessible groups for the student body is the Student Senate.
The Senate’s role is different than that of the SGA Executive Board. While President Kristina Dupuis and her vice presidents run committees and have more visible roles in the SGA, it is the Student Senate that is the mouthpiece of the general student body.
“Senators act as (representatives) of their class,” said Student Senate leader Heather Mitchell. “They voice the opinions of the students and then act upon those matters. Senators hear information from their fellow peers and either bring the information to me or to the Executive Board.”
Mitchell, a senior, coordinates Senate actions. She works closely with both the Senate and the General Council to ensure that problems are dealt with quickly and effectively.
“As Senate Leader, I am responsible for closing the gaps between the Executive Board and the senators,” said Mitchell. “I act as the liaison between the two groups so that we stay connected and informed.”
The Senate’s main area of responsibility is to hear complaints and suggestions from students and work with the General Council on solutions.
“For example, at general council, a senator brought up that there have been complaints about the laundry systems at our school,” said Mitchell. “People feel that there are not enough washers and dryers, and their clothes never really get clean.This information is then given to Carlton [Gill, the Vice President of Student Affairs] and he then will talk with Residence Life to see if there is something we can do to fix the problem and possibly get more washers. This is a great example of issues that are brought up to senators.”
The senators are elected by their classmates every year. There are four senators for each of the four classes. This year, the Senate is welcoming seven new senators to its ranks. The senate meets on its own, as well as in the General Council meeting with the Executive Board.
“Senate meetings are short and to the point,” said Mitchell. “We talk about things happening on campus and things we would like to do in order to improve the lifestyle of our peers.”
Student Government appealed to Mitchell because she felt it was an effective way to make changes and get her voice heard.
“I became a senator because I wanted to do something about problems that I saw on campus or heard people talking about,” said Mitchell. “I knew that at SGA I could voice my opinion and possibly make a difference on our campus. I hear people complain a lot, and I wanted to do something about it in order to make our time at Springfield College better.”
Mitchell is currently working with the library and public safety to try and make the library a safer environment. There may be possible policy changes in the future, but for now, Mitchell and the library are asking students to keep belongings with them and to make sure they provide student IDs in the computer lab.
Josh Ernst may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org