ASWSU senators had to pull chairs from the audience and find room at a full table last night in CUB 204.
The new ASWSU senate has five more members than it did last year to represent the interests of WSU students.
The senate switched to a representation model based on academic colleges, such as business and communication, rather than living areas. The new structure is a reflection of the degrees earned by students during the past four years at WSU.
The new senate is divided differently. Ten senators represent various colleges: six for the entire WSU campus and four senators for un-certified students. Two senators represent freshmen, and one represents the Honors College.
Also at the table were ASWSU Vice President Derrick Skaug and the administrative assistant, who records the senate meetings.
Arts and Science Sen. LaKecia Farmer said it will be great to have such diversity at the table. The large group should not affect discussion, but might actually make things better, Farmer said.
“Even though we have such different perspectives, I feel that we can all come together and get along and it won’t hinder anything,” she said.
Arts and Science Sen. Brenna Stroup, who also served as a senator last year, said the new structure will be an interesting challenge. The interesting aspect is how senators will reach out to the students in their college, Stroup said.
One way to contact the students she represents is looking for clubs and organizations within the Liberal Arts and Sciences department, she said.
“It should be fun actually getting to meet students who are in the same college as me,” Stroup said, “and I can relate a little bit more (than last year). “
Pro-Tempore Taylor Hennessey said it feels good to have so many senators at the meeting. The senate is going through some “growing pains,” Hennessey said, and he is working with the CUB on how to accommodate everyone in the facility.
The benefit of the college-based senate, he said, is an increase in contact between senators and students who are majoring in the same area of study. Hennessey is also promoting interaction between senators and students by requiring all senators to spend one paid hour per week out in the WSU community, such as attending various group events within their colleges, he said.
The best way for students to contact their senator is through the ASWSU website and by visiting senators during their office hours, Hennessey said.
“I always encourage (students) if they’re ever interested – or maybe the seating in the CUB stinks – to come up to the third floor and kind of hang out with us,” Hennessey said.