This Fall Term was not much like the others; the weather has been warmer, the crows have yet to show their faces and somehow the walls of Seymour Gallery were not littered with the campaign posters of eager Senate candidates as it usually is. For multiple reasons, all of these things are disheartening, but the last one is especially concerning.
After all the controversy over the last Student Senate Exec election, a majority of students still did not run for Senate. At a time of heated campus controversy and potential for change, many of the students still did not seize the opportunity to represent their classes with a voice of passion and activism that many Spring Term felt was necessary to better the campus.
Though many were quick to ridicule and criticize the results of the Exec election in May all over Yik Yak and Facebook, not many of those students decided to run for Student Senate.
Senate is a tremendous opportunity in itself — students get to see what happens behind the scenes on a faculty committee. They get to have input on student committees, and they get to see where some of that Senate funding goes first hand — not to mention the leadership and professional training one receives by simply attending weekly meetings.
Student Senate doesn’t take up more than three hours a week for the average senator and it looks amazing on a résumé; there are very few reasons to not run for Senate, and yet many Knox students seem to find those reasons.
The realm of Student Senate today is teeming with controversy — the switch to Bon Appétit and all of those changes in the Hard Knox Café, the Title IX activism going on the realm of Health and Wellness and the potential for change in the smoking policies on campus — and I’m certain that almost every Knox student has an opinion on every single one of those issues. These same issues existed last year and the student body had to have known they were coming. Those topics are now on the table and are being spoken about on a weekly basis, but without the student interest that was there in the spring.
To be a senator, you certainly don’t have to be a politician. You don’t have to be great at public speaking. You don’t even have to have an interest in anything political; you only have to have the interest and some driving passion toward one of the concentrations of Student Senate committees. The Exec Board was able to fill all 24 Senate seats, but only after some serious recruiting.
Next time there’s a problem on campus, don’t be afraid to let your representatives know, for they are the ones who actually do have the ability to cause real change on campus. Senate is not a blank space — it’s truly an outlet for activism and development. I only wish more students realized this.