Debates for Student Senate chair positions drew low attendance from both students and candidates last week. Only one candidate from each position arrived to answer questions and two students who were not affiliated with senate observed the debates.
“It’s really the responsibility of Student Senate for not advertising twice now,” Student Senate President senior Sofia Tagkaloglou said about the poor attendance for both Student Senate debates. “We tried to put up posters, but that didn’t really work out.”
According to Tagkaloglou, Student Senate also had difficulties informing students about the debates held in February for the Executive Committee. The location for this debate was given only three hours before it was scheduled. Tagkaloglou attributes this short notice to disorganization among the executive board. However, despite the lack of attendance from both students and candidates, she believes the debates went well.
“Regardless of that, I do feel that the candidates did a really good job … despite people not showing up, they’ve been campaigning,” Tagkaloglou said. “People have been sending us messages and asking us questions, so it feels like we’re still very engaged.”
Candidates running for Campus Life Chair included junior Rachel Sanders, sophomore Cayne Randle and freshman Musaddiq Javed. Only Sanders was in attendance for the debate and the other two candidates did not provide a written statement.
Sanders emphasized that she was previously uninvolved on campus and how that motivated her to run.
“I wasn’t really applying myself to the community here at Knox and so I wanted to get more involved,” Sanders said. “I’m just a people person, so when I saw the description of Campus Life Chair, I thought that would get me more involved with the students on Knox’s campus.”
Dining Services chair came next with two candidates, including sophomore Nathan Errampalli and freshman Chance Rowan. Questions came from the current chair of Dining Services Leonard Monterey and focused on how the candidates would deal with conflicting concerns of students and Bon Appetit.
Errampalli was absent due to a volunteer commitment and sent in an email statement where he proposed creating an online forum for students to voice their concerns. Rowan emphasized the importance of accommodating dietary restrictions and religious preferences.
“Some things I want to look at are dietary needs because I know a lot of friends of mine – and myself – couldn’t really be here as much because there weren’t that many options,” Rowan said.
The Diversity Chair candidates include sophomores Eden Sarkisian and Amn Farooq. Farooq did not attend or send in a statement. Sarkisian said that she would focus primarily on Disability Services.
“That’s the one thing on campus that I think needs the most attention,” Sarkisian said. “To reach out to the administration to help hire someone else in the office and reach out to international students and working class students would really be my main focus.”
Sophomore Carolyn Ginder appeared as the sole candidate for the Health and Wellness chair position. Ginder said the focus of her campaign would focus on changing the Health Services Center.
“I personally do not dig the Health Center, I’m not going to lie,” Ginder said. “Personally, when I have gone to the Health Center, I had to wait a long time just for someone to tell me that they couldn’t see me. I know that we just switched over to another health service and so I think it is important to address these issues.”
The Sustainability chair candidates included junior Rachel Watson and freshman Caitlin Edelmuth. Only Watson attended and Edelmuth did not send a statement. Watson mentioned how senate committees are only able to really accomplish one goal, and decided her focus would be on reducing the amount of plastic water bottles at Knox.
“I want to get more water fountains on campus and improve the water fountains that are already on campus,” Watson said.
For the future, Tagkaloglou said that she will send out a message for the next Student Senate for ideas to improve attendance.
“I’m going to leave in the notes for the future that the Taylor Lounge is good because it’s more open,” Tagkaloglou said. “I think also putting the dates in TKS would be good too.”
Eden Sarkisian and Rachel Watson are employed by TKS.