Senate Beat: Nov 21, 2019

Senators talk elections and what it means to be a part of the Reed Student Senate

On November 21, the Reed Student Senate was visited by this years election czars, Kiana Cunningham-Rodriguez and Jasmin Castellanos, who dropped in to let all in attendance know the when and where of this year’s elections. After this, the senators stuck around to enlighten all on the ins and outs of being a senator as well as to provide an open space for this year’s candidates to ask questions and share the concerns that inspired them to run. 

The meeting started with a typical inception of chaos manifested through the absence of both the microphones and the lovely Senate Secretary Maddie Huber. A seemingly disjointed beginning culminated in a wholly informative and insightful meeting regarding all things elections. Vice President Pixie Freeman noted the commonly perceived ambiguity behind the role of the senators and stressed the current senate’s emphasis on creating an extensive job description, which she continued to read aloud. This substantial list consisted of the “shalls & shoulds” of being a senator — including many attendance and engagement obligations — and culminated with the requirement to “stay up on campus gossip.” 

Senators Alisa Chen and Aziz Ouedraogo turned the spotlight on the prospective senators in the audience and expressed an interest in hearing what it is each individual plans on running for. The candidates began listing topics and issues they wished to address and alleviate including food security, justice, stress culture, accessibility and community involvement. One candidate proposed creating a cumulative list of campus clubs with easy accessibility to increase student engagement. Another expressed a specific passion for issues regarding food and desired to improve the board plan. Interjecting, Alisa responded “I don’t think you can do that, how does that make you feel?” Chen, noting that the candidate was a bit baffled by this remark, expanded her question by bringing attention to the harsh reality that most of these candidates had unrealistic goals.

 After this, the senators began to emphasize the fact that the job comes with a lot of work and very little reward. The senate meetings were described as being an avenue for the senators to present to the public what it is they’ve accomplished in the past week, and although it may consist of small matters — like club funding — it really is these minor functions that keep the culture of the school running and alive. The board stated that if you’re running for a senator position, look forward to “getting shot down in meetings a lot,” and “have big goals, but expect the nitty-gritty.” Most of the hard work you’ll do will happen behind the scenes, and it’s likely that you’ll never accomplish the goals you set out to achieve. The wisdom continued: “Be confident, assert ideas, and be adaptive. Senate gives you the knowledge to be comfortable doing what it is you have to do.” Their fantastic and inspiring spiel ended with words encouraging the candidates to engage in conversation with the senators one-on-one to get a more personal feel for the potential work ahead of them.

If you are invested in the current state of your college, which I sure hope you are, you’ll be happy to know that elections open today, Friday, December 6, and will take place in both the Library Lobby and Commons. So get up, get involved, and go vote!

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