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Robinson, Blais address new group members

| Thursday, April 7, 2016

This past Wednesday’s Senate meeting marked the first senate meeting of the Robinson-Blais administration.

Junior student body president Corey Robinson and sophomore vice president Becca Blais were sworn into office, as they stated their commitments to upholding the constitution of the undergraduate student body. Following their oaths, the new senators of each dorm were also sworn into office.

This administration’s senate will follow a new model, which places some senators into four different committees as a part of each meeting. These committees are Health and Wellness, Sustainability, Community Engagement and Campus Affairs. Senators also have been assigned to different executive cabinet departments.

“We are trying to make it more effective and efficient by separating [senate] into smaller committees and by approaching this with a interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach to these problems. We are excited to see what you all come up with and what you guys want to change,” Robinson said to the senators.

The new senators for the 2016-2017 academic year approved the following individuals in their incoming student government positions including chief of staff, junior Michael Markel and parliamentarian, freshman Monica Montgomery.

Sophomore Alexandra Eisele will take over as secretary. Executive controller will be sophomore Daniel Swanson, and junior Erica Tabor will serve as director of communication.

Andrew Recker was named athletics representative, while junior MaKenna Siebenaler was approved as the campus ministry representative.

Senior Rachel Wallace will serve as the Student Union representative to Diversity Council. The senate also approved freshmen David Hopkinson and Nabila Mourad as the First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership (FUEL) directors.

Director of the department of academic affairs will be junior Eva Niklinska and the director of the department of campus technology will be freshman Bryce Badura.

Juniors Caitlyn Hodges and Kimberly Sullivan will take over as director of the department of community relations and director of the department of constituent services, respectively.

Sophomore Xun Chris Wang will be the director of the department of gender issues for the new administration, and freshmen Julia Dunbar and Stephanie Mastorakos will serve as the director of the department of health and wellness, and director of the department of internal affairs, respectively.

The new senators also approved freshman Prathm Juneja as the new director of the department of national engagement and outreach.

Freshmen Joseph Sierotko will take over as director of the department of residence life and director of the department of social concerns is freshman Andrea Tong.

Director of the department of university affairs is junior Andrew Helmin and junior Grace Watkins was named the University policy liaison. 

“The purpose of the committees is to really empower those senators to have a voice,” Blais said. “A lot of people are shy or nervous about raising their hand and sharing their opinion, but when you break people down into smaller groups and they get to share their perspective of their committee, their department, their dorms, their clubs, the people they represent … then it really gives them a chance to be vocal.”

“What I am hoping for … the senate is, first of all, greater collaboration between senate, SUB, and Executive Cabinet,” Blais said. “The second thing I would hope for is … that they utilize the time to work in those small groups and work in the big group to form resolutions about the issues that they really care about, to really get to discuss the issues that affect our university every day.”

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