Clarion, Pa.- Clarion University’s Student Senate welcomed four new members to the organization this semester. Edward Green and William Vanderbilt, freshmen, as well as Jarrett Boxley and Megan Rothermel, upper classmen, assumed positions as student senators at their first meeting on Monday, Sept. 8.
For the first time, this year’s voting and application to join Student Senate was held completely on CU Connect. Student Senate President, Marissa Kealey, was thrilled to have four new members join the organization. “It is written in our constitution,” she remarked, “that each year we keep two seats open for upcoming freshmen. We also had two members graduate this past fall, opening up two more positions.”
Two additional seats became available after one student decided to transfer and the other withdrawal from the University. Senate president since the spring of 2014, Kealey hopes that her organization will go beyond the minimum this year. She added, “Since 2009, Senate has been struggling with the issue regarding the relationship between itself and student peers.” She and several members of the committee would like to see an increase in community and university participation. She reflected, “Many students don’t really know what we do and how much we are involved in a lot of events that they participate in.”
Student Senate works alongside the Clarion Students’ Association, which allocates funds to student groups and Recognized Student Organizations or RSOs. She smiled and said, “We actually review and either deny or accept requests for the funding of many student organizations.” Kealey continued, “For example, we approved funds for RSOs to attend business conferences or educational trips like the one Dr. (Sandra) Trejos just recently took several students on. We also are partners with the University Activities Board and organize Wingo and the Bean Bag Tournament.”
In two weeks, members of the Senate will be attending a retreat located at Camp Coffman. There they plan and strategize of more exclusive ways to get university students involved and voicing their opinion. Some ideas, such as having Student Senators tag along with admission counselors or planning a Meet the Senators Day, have already been taken into consideration.
Clarion University President Karen Whitney voices her own opinion about the new goals of Student Senate; “I am thrilled with their agenda. I strongly believe they are the voice of our students, and I am proud of their leadership and the items of interest that they are pursing. I give them my full support.” Kealey concluded, “We are here to represent the student voice. But how are we to know what students are passionate about or want fixed if no one is attending our meetings and voicing his or her concern?” She then added, “Our meetings are open to the public as well as students and staff.
We want to hear your concerns, we want to be able to help in whichever way we can. That is our No. 1 priority and goal.” The Student Senate has been a student run organization since 1964 and is always looking for ways to grow and mature, seeking the voice of the student body. Students who would like to voice a concern, idea, or get to know more about the Student Senate, can attend weekly meetings on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. in Gemmell Room 246.