Student Senate expanded outreach efforts in response to a lack of student interest in running for the 30 open positions on Student Senate for the 2019-20 school year.
Each fall, all elected positions, including 16 class representatives, five on-campus representatives, five off-campus representatives and four executive members must be reelected. While most senators are seeking reelection, many positions will stand vacant if no new candidates run.
Election Commissioner senior Drake Summers extended election informational meetings another week, adding seven meetings. Any students interested in running for a Student Senate position must attend an informational meeting to be eligible.
Although students must have at least two semesters of Student Senate experience in order to run for executive positions, all other representatives need no previous experience.
“It’s less about your experience, and about your dedication and willingness to be open to new ideas, be willing to serve the student population and be ready to take action,” Summers said. “Those are the people who are going to be the best at being senators.”
Summers said he hoped advertising for longer and reaching out to faculty, especially in the social sciences, would attract more students to the opportunity.
“We just want to be able to broaden the spectrum a little bit,” Summers said. “It never hurts to gain new experiences and new ideas through people. It’s not that we don’t want people to get reelected, but we also want to make sure everyone has the opportunity as well.”
Summers said Student Senate reached out to social sciences students, political science majors especially because student government is a stepping stone toward running for public office and provides comparable skill training to students.
Student Senate President senior Alyssa Lincoln said political science majors are especially valuable senators.
“Political science students are super important to the success of student government,” Lincoln said. “They’re some of our most influential senators, so we really try and target political science courses and the humanities as a whole.”
Lincoln said there are some students who engage with the Student Senate Twitter in high school and come to Northwest for Student Senate or with running for a position in mind.
Although Student Senate can be a larger time commitment for students with weekly meetings, committee participation and volunteering, Lincoln said everyone knows leaders on campus who are fit for the job, but they just need the push to attend their first meeting.
“I think Senate can be daunting; it can be scary, but those that really invest in Senate would all agree that they’ve had an overwhelmingly positive experience,” Lincoln said. “The connections that you get to make, the inner workings that you get to know, the people that you get to connect with, all of those opportunities are so profound and life-changing.”