By Cullen Trobec
You might not know it yet, but there are new Senators on the block.
After two senators stepped down at the beginning of this semester, the Senate held a special election to fill the two vacant Club Auditor positions on the Activities and Allocations Board. First-year Simeon
Farquharson and sophomore Nate Saunders came away with the majority of the votes.
As club auditors, both Saunders and Farquharson will be working with the Activities and Allocations Board to determine funding for the various clubs and organizations that receive funding through the Senate. The potential benefit to the wider campus community is a key factor in determining whether or not funding is allocated.
“We all pay a lot of money to be here, so I think that student activities money should be spent as effectively as it can,” Saunders said.
The two new senators ran on a split ticket in hopes it would improve their election chances.
“I felt like he [Saunders] was definitely more qualified than I was,” Farquharson said. “For us to run together was an honor. I felt really empowered being able to run with him.”
“I’ve gotten to know him [Farquharson] really well this semester. I had full faith that he would be a quality person to serve regardless of whether or not we both won,” Saunders said.
Saunders has technically been a part of the Senate since last year, although not as an elected official.
“I was the Executive Assistant of Public Relations before this. So I worked for the Public Relations Representative, but I couldn’t vote,” Saunders said.
His prior experience has already begun to show its advantages. With the knowledge he’s gained already, Saunders is prepared to hit the ground running.
“I should be able to jump right in without much of a learning curve. I’ve already been at meetings, I understand the procedure of the Senate and I know what our plan for the semester is going forward,” Saunders said.
Likewise, Farquharson also already has his own familiarity with the Senate. He spent his first semester at SJU taking part in the Senate Leadership Experience, a program that allows students to learn about the Senate’s process without holding an official position.
“The program makes you aware of your leadership abilities, helps your speech development, and familiarizes you with the Senate,” Farquharson said. “It’s a great program.”
With the addition of Farquharson, the Senate now has three first-year members, a rare occurrence. Farquharson is [excited, and hopes to be an effective additional voice for the hundreds of first-years at SJU who he says can be overlooked in comparison to upperclassmen.
“It’s pretty cool to have three,” Farquharson said. “We’re planning a lot of good things for first-years. Just wait until they come to fruition.”
Looking forward, both Farquharson and Saunders are optimistic. Despite recent tensions between the Senate and a number of cultural groups on campus, the two see promising room for communal growth.
“I’ve only been here for a semester, but what I’ve noticed about this community is that we never get down for too long. We always seem to have an optimistic sense of being able to turn things back around.” Farquharson said.
Saunders pushed the idea of inclusivity as a necessary overarching theme that the Senate will need to follow in the coming years.
“I think there’s a lot of complacency on this campus when it comes to fighting for inclusivity, but I also think that the Senate can set a good example for other students,” Saunders said.
Saunders also referenced multiple areas that he believes the Senate has made improvements in just since the beginning of the year.
Initiatives enacted by individual senators and the Senate’s relations with the city of St. Joseph have improved markedly.
Farquharson echoed Saunders’ positive outlook.
“The discussion and improvement we’ve had shows that we are developing as a community,” he said.
Both Saunders and Farquharson are determined to use their recent election to the advantage of the entire CSB/SJU community, no matter what new challenges might await in the remainder of the second semester.