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Student Senate speaks up for peers

PLNU’s Associate Student Body has recently united the offices of Student Congress and Board of Review to create the very first Student Senate.

“We want to bridge the gap between the student body and administration,” says Haley Courtney, Speaker of the Senate. “It’s a communication network that’s open and functional.”

Four students from each class are elected to hold positions on the Student Senate, seeking to serve and represent the collective student body. The Point Weekly spoke with several of the representatives via email seeking to discover their goals for the new student government group.

Paige Woodward, Senior Senate Representative

Paige Woodward

Q: What made you decide to be a part of the student Senate?

A: We seniors have a lot on our plate- classes, internships, job searches, grad school applications, real world transitions- you name it, there’s some senior out there stressing about it. And on top of all of that, we’re also trying to figure out the answer to the well-meaning but fear-inducing question, “What are you going to do with your life?” Serving in Student Senate for me then, is an opportunity as a senior to reach out to my fellow seniors for their wisdom, before we scatter away from this place.

Q: What do you hope to achieve this year in the Senate?

A: I hope that students leave this year feeling like they were a part of the governing process. If that means implementing some student-led initiative, raising awareness of something students have a problem with, or relaying to administration what students are happy with, then that’s success.

Q: Are there any topics that you’re particularly passionate about and looking forward to focusing on with the Senate?

A: Budget proposals. Just kidding! I will be most passionate about and look forward to issues that arise that directly impact the student population…the more administrative side of things, not so much. But it’s all important for the university, so bring it on.

Q: How do you plan to get the student body more connected with the Senate?

A: I think the best way to do this is just by being purposeful about engaging in conversations with students that let them know what’s going on in our meetings, what’s the next order of business, and how what is discussed could potentially affect or be of interest to each individual student- reaching out is the only way to connect.

Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?

A: I’ve played with Bo Obama, the Obama’s family dog.

 

Robert Contreras, Junior Senate Representative

Robert Contreras

Q: What made you decide to be a part of the student Senate?

A: Freshman and Sophomore year I was part of student Congress. I just still really wanted to be involved. A big thing is that I really want to, not in the cliche sense of helping students connect with the faculty, but really try and figure out what we want. And even if it’s not something that I want, how we are going to get to that if that’s what the student body wants as a whole.

Q: What do you hope to achieve this year in the Senate?

A: The mail service is different this year, the parking is different this year, the open dorm hours are different this year with the coed dorms. I think we see that every year when we come back to campus. There’s just no communication, there’s just no transparency in our system. This year one of my big goals is to not only connect with them (administration) about why all of these things are changing but where we are going so that we can help prevent this (miscommunication) from happening every year. And how we can get to that point together?

Q: What sets you apart as a leader?

A: I think what sets me apart is that I try to be as helpful to everybody else more than I try to be helpful to myself. It’s taking our vision and not saying what WE want to do, but what we want for OUR class, what we want for US. So it’s this long-term goal and it’s my looking at things in a bigger perspective. Not how can we do things that are gonna help us out now, but how can we make Point Loma just better? I feel accomplished in making changes that other people can see.

Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?

A: It takes me two minutes to get ready. It takes me ten minutes to do my hair.

 

Austin Flanagan, Sophomore Senate Representative

Austin Flanagan

Q: What do you hope to achieve this year in the Senate?

A: There’s a lot I hope to achieve this year through Senate. My main concern and purpose is to bring forth the grievances of my constituents and to achieve a remedy in those grievances. Something in particular I hope to achieve this year is satisfaction within the Residence Hall open hours. I hope we, as a class and student body, can come together and settle on an agreement of satisfactory open hours in the Halls that both administration and the students will appreciate.

Q: Are there any topics that you’re particularly passionate about and looking forward to focusing on with the Senate?

A: A topic of focus for me is unity. I hope by the end of my time in student senate this year, students will begin to have higher efficacy within all areas of the University (especially in relation to ASB and sporting events). I hope we will see a University that acts as one body, united together. One that sticks up for one another and supports each other throughout all of college’s endeavors.

Q: What sets you apart as a leader?

A: I think I tend to look at things as more of what they can be, in relation to what they are. I see so many great things at this University and the possibility for even greater.

Q: How do you plan to get the student body more connected with the Senate?

A: Through a process of ASB-led events and forums as well as sampling through questionnaires. ASB as a whole intends to connect with the student body like never before this year. We hope to see levels of involvement and awareness raise greatly throughout the student body.

Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?

A: I love music, and in that music festivals. I loved the idea of Lomapalooza on campus. I think it would be crazy fun if we could somehow turn that into our own Loma Music Festival.

 

Kristen Zachariah, Freshman Senate Representative

Kristen ZachariahQ: What made you decide to be a part of the student Senate?

A: After living on campus for just a little over a month, I’ve realized that this is an awesome community filled with so many bright and genuinely caring faces. I decided to be a part of the Student Senate because I am passionate about representing the potential that each student has for contributing to the world that we live in.

Q: What do you hope to achieve this year in the Senate?

A: I hope to learn more about how student government works here at PLNU and how direct changes are made, so that I can represent our class’s voice as best I can.

Q: Are there any topics that you’re particularly passionate about and looking forward to focusing on with the Senate?

A: I am passionate about community service, and after going on a few service trips (such as Beacon of Light) that are offered on campus, I am interested in promoting this key part of our development as people who reflect God’s qualities in the way we live.

Q: What sets you apart as a leader?

A: I love connecting to other people, whether they are like or unlike myself, and I know this quality will help me represent the wide range of voices, of the freshman class here. I am also a goal-oriented person who likes to set achievable goals and follow through with them!

Q: How do you plan to get the student body more connected with the Senate?

A: I hope to seek input from my peers and the student body as Student Senate makes decisions so that we can make decisions based on the wants and needs of the people we are representing.

Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?

A: I danced international folk dance for 13 years, and I believe that God used dance to teach me important lessons about life!

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