The Student Senate has filled all 17 positions for the first time in years and is now ready to move toward improving its image and role on campus.
Student senators are part of the larger College Senate, an advisory body on campus made up of members of the administration, faculty, staff and student body. The executive committee oversees five standing committees on undergraduate curriculum, graduate curriculum, undergraduate policy, student affairs and faculty affairs. The number of student senators in each committee depends on how many of the committee's tasks affect the student body.
In recent years, student senators have not been active on campus, an image that this year's senators hope to change.
Dean McGee, Student Association vice president and member of the Senate executive committee, said that he hopes students will use the senators as resources and liaisons between students and faculty.
"In the past, student senators have been known for not doing anything," McGee said. "What I want to see this year is the senators reaching out to students as much as possible."
As a starting point for this goal, student senators have created the "SUNY Geneseo Student Suggestion Box," a Facebook group that allows students to submit suggestions for changes they would like to see on campus. They also have another group, the "SUNY Geneseo College Senate," for general information.
According to senior Nick Lombardo, the senators are also working to create a suggestion area on the main Geneseo Web site.
"We are looking for new, better ways to get in touch with students and faculty," said Lombardo.
Junior Karen Lemischak, a senator for her second year, is excited about the many new members of the student senate.
"They want to see things change," she said. "They have their own goals they want to set."
One of her goals is educating students about the budget since recent cuts may impact some programs on campus. Other important issues include the continued debate over the Western Humanities requirement and a proposed change to the current class schedule, both tasks of the undergraduate curriculum committee.
Senior Ben DeGeorge, a senator on the committee, said the student senators, "could have a bigger impact on curriculum changes with the backing of the students on campus." He also pointed out the importance of utilizing the student senators as a resource.
"Faculty are interacting with students all the time, but they aren't students," he said. "They don't quite understand [student concerns] as well as the student senators."
Dayshawn Simmons, the only freshman member of the senate, said he hopes to work with the Inter-Residence Council this year to increase senators' visibility in the residence halls. Simmons also stressed the importance of students voicing their concerns, no matter how trivial they may seem.
"If there's something bothering you, from CAS to quiet hours, bring it up," he said. "There are 5,000 students walking around this campus - chances are you aren't the only one."