Last night in the Gizmo, the candidates for Student Senate President for the 2010-2011 year held debates and shared their platforms with students who attended. Those running for president are juniors Gabe Paz, Kathleen Podlipni and Sam Claypool.
Some questions raised by the audience and current Senate President senior Heather Kopec and Vice President senior Trevor Sorenson involved how the candidates would handle conflict, how they would moderate discussions without letting their opinions get in the way and how they would plan to make Senate a place where students could be better engaged.
“You’re always going to disagree,” Claypool said. She said she has always been surprised at the ability of others to change her opinions and that in the event of her opinions getting in the way of a resolution passing or a discussion in Senate, she said “It’s not my job to have an opinion. It’s my job to keep order.”
Paz said that he would act differently. “If there was ever a scenario where I know my opinion would get in the way, I think it would be my responsibility to step down and keep myself in check.”
Podlipini said she would be able to understand the opinions of others, and also said, “I’m a pretty assertive person, and I’m not afraid to use the gavel.”
Podlipni and Claypool proposed to have more events between Senators and other students on campus, such as Senators and Subs, an event Claypool explained that will be happening Sunday in Wallace Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Podlipni also thought that team-building activities would be crucial to increase student input in senate.
Claypool stressed that her organizational habits would aid her in succeeding with the job, while Podlipni said that her focus was on making senate fun as well as functional. Paz focused on making Senate a place where more people could try things they want to do on campus.
“The thing about college is that there’s this huge safety net under you and we should be tryin’ all kinds of stuff,” Paz said.
The debates for student senate treasurer were also held Wednesday evening, and the candidates are junior Maxwell Galloway-Carson and sophomore Gordon Barratt.
Candidates for next year’s student senate vice president held debates Tuesday evening in the Gizmo. The three candidates, freshman Mike Gasparro, junior David Barton and freshman John Herron proposed their platforms and were asked questions by Kopec, Sorenson and the audience.
Barton cited leadership experience such as being the president of the Knox Chemistry Club, treasurer of the Spanish Club and a member of the Knox Wind Ensemble. He is also the unofficial parliamentarian of the current senate and has created parliamentarian as an official position for next year.
“I feel like I’m qualified,” Barton said. “I’d like to look at our constitution and see senate’s image improved.”
Gasparro also said he has had various leadership roles at Knox, including being a part of the student senate Sustainability Committee and using that avenue to install showerheads in the Seymour dorms that reduce water usage by about 50 percent. He is also a part of the Diversity Committee.
As far as improving senate, Gasparro said he wants to “make it more hands-on, more interactive between students and senators. We have to go out and be active.”
Herron said that while he is not a member of Senate currently, he has gained leadership experience through being an Eagle Scout and also through an internship on a Congressional campaign. “I catch on quick,” he said.
He also said that he thinks Senate does not have as high an image as it should have.
“If we’re paying private college tuition to come here, it’s important to have a say and practice being citizens,” Herron said.