By Zach Tufenkjian | Guest Contributor
Just over one year ago, I authored an opinion piece saying that student government needs your voice “now more than ever.” I thought about what our Student Senate debates would look like if we had a more representative Senate from every area on campus. After the student body’s historic vote last week to restructure the Senate, I no longer have to wonder. However, we still need one last piece to bring it all together: you.
If you’re ready to be a part of the Senate’s next chapter, I urge you to consider running for a Senate position in the upcoming elections or joining student government in any of its three branches. The Senate is primed to welcome a new generation of student senators and address student issues better than ever before. We just need you as part of that new generation and to carry the torch forward as we work toward a more representative Baylor Student Senate.
However, the Senate’s new structure is not only about reapportioning seats. It is about providing an opportunity to build a better deliberative body that works for all. As of now, 40% of seats are designated based on academic college and five distinct student populations. While the Senate’s old structure was sorted solely by classification, there are now specific seats for students in the Schools of Social Work, Engineering and Computer Science, Music and Education — all of whom had no representation among this year’s membership. There is also a seat for transfer, international, veteran, athlete and first-generation students.
Make no mistake: Every college on Baylor’s campus will have representation, and 60% of seats remain, at large, based on class. The other 40% of seats are proportionally based to ensure a fair system that works. While everyone has some degree of knowledge on student issues facing specific classes, academic colleges, or student populations, the people who can speak best on these issues are those who are in those electorates.
I am encouraged by the number of students who have participated in our ongoing conversation about student representation. Our Senate is entering the next chapter in its long history of seeking to enrich the quality of student life and change our campus for the better. With its arms fully outstretched, the Senate is ready to welcome you as a voice on behalf of the constituency you represent, whether you are a candidate or a voter.