The Student Association Executive Board is working to create a Student Senate branch of SA. The Student Senate will begin meeting in the spring semester and will be comprised of about 40 Geneseo students. Representatives for the Student Senate will come from different areas of student life, according to SA President senior Michael Baranowski.
“There are 14 student senators right now on the College Senate formulating the student caucus,” he said. “Those students will also join the Student Senate, and then there’s 16 residence halls [representatives] and five off-campus students and four class presidents. The SA Vice President rounds it off at 40.”
The creation of the new legislative body reflects the new board’s attempt to become more active in student affairs, according to SA Vice President senior Ashley Buttice.
“Part of mine and [Baranowski’s] platform for running for SA this year was to make us more of an advocacy body and more of a student government than being like a student bank,” she said. “Currently, there’s only 14 students and myself who fulfill the seats on the College Senate, so there’s a student voice on the College Senate. That’s great, but it doesn’t leave us very much time to get things accomplished on the student level, or complete legislation that would directly impact students.”
The Student Senate will put together resolutions based on what students are interested in. Those resolutions will then be put before the SA Executive Committee for further approval, Baranowski said.
“One of the examples I’ve provided before is that Indigenous People’s Day has become quite popular, especially around here,” he said. “If it became something that students wanted to see happen, then they could present it to the Student Senate to write legislation, and then we would pass a resolution through them. After that it would come to a two-week reading at the Student Association meeting.”
Applications for Student Senator positions will be available in November or December, according to Buttice.
“We want to try to get 40 students implemented next semester,” she said. “Applications are probably going to be roughly around the end of November or beginning of December and hopefully they’ll be selected and notified before we go on winter break. When we come back, there’s going to be some trial and error, but we’ll probably have biweekly meetings of the SS itself.”
After next semester, Baranowski and Buttice want to make the Student Senate a more permanent body through a referendum that will amend the SA constitution.
“It’s almost like adding a standing committee, like IRC or AAC or GCAB,” Baranowski said. “So this would add the basic framework of a Student Senate into our constitution so that year after year this is something that will have to be done and performed by the Executive Board. I think it needs at least 10 percent of the student body to vote on it, and then it needs to pass by a two-thirds majority.”
Organizing the Student Senate is a process of trial and error, Buttice said.
“We’re probably going to do an application process at the end of this semester just to gauge interest,” she said. “With everything that’s a startup, it’s going to take a couple of semesters to get established and to figure out all the different bugs and quirks that can happen.”u