Senate to use summer for planning, redefining itself

As Undergraduate Student Government Senate met for its last meeting of the academic year Tuesday, the new senators looked toward the future in implementing their goals and plans.

Since the beginning of its term on April 2, the senate has passed two resolutions. One resolution advocated for the administration to provide more funding to recreational sports and facilities and the other called for a committee to reconsider campus smoking policies.

During their final meeting, senators considered passing a new resolution supporting a two-year postponement of El Centro Chicano’s relocation from its current space in the United University Church to a new space in the Student Union. The senate will continue to draft and vote on resolutions in the fall to advocate for the needs of the student body.

Until then, senators said they plan to use the summer to consider issues and articulate their goals for the year. While the senate will not be drafting or passing resolutions over the summer break, Residential Senator Brandon Chang said the group will collaborate and share ideas before classes resume.

“We certainly plan to work together over summer,” Chang said. “Even now, the senators are brainstorming projects and reaching out to various other branches of USG to facilitate collaboration so that we can hit the ground running in the fall.”

Before the fall semester begins, all of USG’s members and senators reunite during the annual fall retreat. USG Vice President Ryan Park said this is the time when USG will begin brainstorming what it wants to accomplish in the upcoming year.

Park, a former Greek senator, said the newly elected senators have already shown great potential for leadership during their first few weeks in office.

“I’m very proud of how the senators dove head first into their responsibilities and have taken up the reins without a question,” Park said. “The transition has been extremely smooth and I can’t be more proud of the dynamic attitude that each and every one of them have embodied so early on.”

Park said his goals for the senate include redefining the roles of a USG senator and encouraging senators to lead other students outside of their respective residential, commuter and Greek communities.

“I want them to transcend their constituencies and reach out to the undergraduate student population at large to champion their wishes, needs and desires on campus and to help bring USG to the students and vice versa,” Park said. “At the end of the day, the senate is a tool that any student can utilize to have their voice heard by the administration.”

Residential Senator Matthew Prusak stressed the importance of collaboration among senators.

“Senate has been working really well as a group thus far,” Prusak said. “We’ve got a great mix of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds to ensure a balanced perspective on campus issues.”

Park said that such a balance is necessary in an organization that aims to balance the needs and interests of both the student body and the administration.

“We are the mediating body of USG,” Park said. “We are here to make sure that we are presenting well-thought-out, intelligent and poignant pieces of legislation that, in theory, positively affect the entire student population.”