Student senate works to connect students to administration

WSUSA Senate
(Source: Brady Harris)

The Weber State University Student Senate, one of the largest collegiate student senates in the state, is finishing out the semester as it started — by connecting students to their administration.

A senate policy of note from the 2013 fall semester was the formal request to the President’s Council to re-examine the Assessment and Placement Policy that affects students in developmental math and English programs. The policy request was formally submitted in Senate Bill 131125-01. Although the bill has been presented to the President’s Council, the senate will not vote on the formal request until January 2014. More information is available on this policy review in this issue of The Signpost.

Student senate president Brady Harris estimated that about 75-100 issues have been resolved this semester.

“From the small things that we don’t really record to the big things like working with the administration (for changes) in developmental math . . . any issue that’s resolved is a success for me.”

Harris, who has worked on WSU’s student senate for four years, said he’s enjoyed working with this year’s senators.

“We’ve got a great team this year . . . (They’re) seeing the bigger idea of senate, which is to help students, and that’s the only reason we’re here — to be that voice of students to the administration. They’re all individual senators . . . but they don’t work like that. They work for the bigger idea . . . (of) what we can do.”

Sophomore Marissa Questereit has approached the student senate with an issue before, and said she had a positive experience.

“They’re very helpful and efficient at solving students’ problems, and they’re easy to go to,” she said.

Questereit, who lives in the residence halls, recently appealed to Harris for the installation of a Redbox, or DVD rental machine, in the dorms. “I emailed Brady, and he got back to me right away and said, ‘Yeah, that’s a good idea!’ They even have (the issue) listed on the papers in the bathrooms. It’s cool to see.”

Harris emphasized that students who have issues of any kind can come to their senators for help addressing them.

“We are able to accomplish things. The administration does come to us and ask for our opinions, and they listen to the senate,” Harris said. “So the senate going forward with an issue is a lot more powerful than a single student going to President Wight — not because the student is less important, but because we’ve established that the senate is an official body for the administration to get issues from.”

WSU’s student senate has made an effort to be more visible to students, such as by setting up senate tables in the Shepherd Union Atrium. Current issues the senate is discussing are listed on the WSU Today fliers posted in the bathrooms of the Shepherd Union Building. Harris said he also utilizes social media as a way of connecting with students and finding more issues that need addressing. He said he checks Facebook pages (such as WSU’s official page and Weber State Confessions) and Twitter for things the senate might be able to help with.

“I would say one of the big things (that has been done) in the senate would be that we’ve had a lot of little things that add up to big things,” said  India Nielsen, the College of Arts and Humanities senator, who added that issues such as broken door handles and sidewalks come up. “Nothing is too small. A problem might seem small . . . it might seem like not a very big deal, but if somebody wants to bring that issue to us, we really want to work on it. We really want to help the campus and the students.”