Prospective Senate candidates gather to hear from current Senate panelists

Student Senate hosts a panel to answer questions regarding the new restructuring bill. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Camille Cox | Staff Writer

Student senators of various classifications gathered together to speak to potential candidates about their time in student government.

The panel consisted of Rochester Hills, Mich., junior Samuel Beatty; Kansas City, Mo., sophomore Katy Turner; Dallas senior Harper Taylor; Nacogdoches freshman Logan Lee; and The Woodlands junior Nick Madincea.

Prospective candidates listened to the senators speak about their candidacies, with the deadline to file to run for the positions approaching at 5 p.m. on Friday through Connect.

Houston junior Ruhi Thapar, mediator of the panel, began the discussion by asking each senator to share their role within the Senate.

Taylor explained that each senator is required to join one of the six committees, which consist of Academic Affairs, Campus Improvements and Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion, Finance, Operations and Procedures, Public Relations and Senate Executive Council.

“My committee is Academic Affairs, and a little of what we do is we have weekly meetings where we discuss bills that we’re writing; how it started was just one document full of ideas that we see in the academic realm that we think we can improve,” Taylor said. “From there, I have monthly meetings with Dr. Wesley Null, who is our vice president for undergraduate education, and I take the ideas to him, tell him what we’re thinking. Then he tells me how to expand on that.”

Lee explained that as soon as you join the Senate, you hit the ground running to enact change for the student population.

“The first day that you get into Senate, you hit the ground running hard,” Lee said. “You have a lot to do because you are elected to represent students, but at the same time, you have amazing peers and you have amazing people above you to help you.”

Beatty said he has enjoyed making new connections through the Senate and collaborating with others to make change.

“It’s a really great way to meet other people through your class who might be from a different segment of campus, and when you meet them, you get to learn about issues they’re thinking about and issues you’re thinking about,” Beatty said.

Waco junior Josie Pooler said she decided she wants to run for Senate after the restructuring proposal passed, reallocating 40% of the Senate’s current seats to include academic college representation.

“I have been interested in Student Senate for a while, but I just didn’t think my odds were good,” Pooler said. “Especially in terms of the at-large seats, it can feel like a popularity contest, and I didn’t really like my odds, even though I did want to help change, which I feel is very important.”

Pooler said she will run for both the at-large junior seat and the School of Social Work seat.

“I really like the idea of increased representation, because as great as business and poli sci students are, that’s not the entirety of campus, so I really like that they are making an effort to bring in different voices,” Pooler said. “And social work — we’re downtown, we’re not on campus — so different issues affect us, so I’d really like to be a voice for my peers and work with my peers to kind of bring their needs to the table.”