Columns / Discourse / Student Senate / October 2, 2008

The Senate Perspective: A new senator’s perspective

Hey everybody, my name is Gordon Barratt and I was asked to write to you guys about my first student senate meeting. Let me start off with how I became a student senator. I’d toyed with the idea of running, but never really considered it as an actual option. However, when I saw students handing out applications in front of the caf one day, I figured I might as well at least ask about it. I asked the people there what Student Senate actually does, and they replied, “it’s like student council in high school, but with money.” Sounded good enough, so I filled out an application without thinking [too] much about it. Then, when it came time to vote, I logged on and found out that my name was the only one on the ballot! Automatic win! So after a few days of aimlessly bragging to my friends about winning a position I was literally given just for showing up, I had my first senate meeting. It was actually really interesting. We were given a few papers to explain to us how things worked, and a nametag to make us feel special.

The first item we had to vote on was allocating $3000 for a rap concert put on by WVKC. I was nervous, and hesitant to speak while the WVKC representative was taking questions from the Student Senators, but I had a good question to ask about where the money was actually going. Looking back, I believe that the fact that I asked that was the only reason I was elected by the freshmen senators as the freshmen representative to the executive board. I ran for that position against 2 other first-years who had both been on student council at their high schools, something which I had never done. I had gone first of the three in saying why people should vote for me, so I was unprepared and rambled a bit. I was really surprised that they said I was elected to that position, and thinking back, the fact that I spoke up is really the only thing I think I had going for me (or maybe it was the “cheese-it” shirt I was wearing…).

Student Senate seems like a really amazing experience so far for any student, especially first-years, to see the inner workings of our school and to be a part of how the system works. When I was looking through the paper we were given on the powers of Student Senate, I was amazed at how much we are really in charge of. I remember in high school, the reason I never chose to run for student council was because they had almost no powers. They decided, as far as I’m aware, on shirt designs, the school talent show, and the theme of prom (and the principal had the final say on all of these things anyway). Considering how awesome Student Senate is looking right now, I was really surprised to hear from Elaine Wilson, the president of Student Senate, that there are underrepresented districts. I asked her why, and she told me it’s because not enough people ran. Some districts (such as mine, Seymour) have only one, or even no representative for several seats. I understand this because I almost didn’t run, but having run I can say it was a really good decision. For any of you guys who want to run, I’m told the next elections are at the beginning of winter term, so I would urge everybody not to be shy, and to pick up an application when we all get back to school on January 5th.

Gordon Barratt


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