One of the most fulfilling aspects of Gustavus Adolphus College is how students’ views and concerns can be represented through Student Senate. Because this is prominently a student-run organization, many individuals can have their important needs be addressed through their respective student senators.
The student body is privileged to participate in an annual democratic election where they elect the 2017 Student Senate Co-Presidents. In fact, this year’s election is fast approaching.
The applications to run for Co-President are available starting spring semester, and are due to the Dean of Students Office.
Any pair of students can apply by submitting a platform. The platform must have descriptive, insightful information on why a person is qualified to be Co-President, along with their goals and ambitions. Once the application has been approved, the duo can begin campaigning.
A significant event leading up to the election is the debate between the candidates which was held in the Jackson Campus Center on Thursday, February 27.
This will be a time for students to ask questions and learn more about the candidates’ platforms. It will give them more insight on who to vote for. Being Co-President is a tremendous role that includes various factors.
“Their responsibilities include representing the student body as a whole, especially on the administrative end, and talking to the Board of Trustees, the President of the College once a month, and being on several committees to make sure that student life functions as we need it to, and the students’ best interest is the focus of their job.” said Senior Co-President, Hercharn Singh,
Many student body decisions are discussed and voted upon in Student Senate meetings held by the Co-Presidents. Also, they are in charge of holding Cabinet meetings where they consult with the Committee Leaders in Health & Housing, Student Academic Affairs, Public Relations, Ethics, Finance, Technology, and Diversity.
As 2020 Class Representative, Michael O’Neil states, “co-presidents must be very transparent and responsive to the student body. Everybody should know what they’re doing to improve the school, and they should know what changes people want to see. Within Senate, I would say organization is the biggest key, because there job is very complex.”
Therefore, Co-Presidents are encouraged to personally connect and engage with the student body in order for progress to happen. The first step in initiating change is by being attentive to what the Gustavus students want; they must have a broad understanding of the current issues, so they can handle them.
In a way, the Co-President is an individual who represents the several voices at the college. Not just one voice, but multiple. Because this role does require a number of important tasks, it is crucial for them to manage their time, so that the Senate can function effectively.
Much of this has to do with conducting Student Senate meetings in a smooth mannor.
“A co-president is a leader and controller of student senate. They should be excellent in academic standing, and have an open mind,” said Southwest Hall Representative, Dave Edholm mentions how
This just reiterates with Co-Presidents are obliged to handle a leadership position of guiding their fellow Senators. It is their duty to provide assistance, especially answering questions their fellow peers could have. They must also have a good listening ear as to what each Senator is trying to convey. In a way, being open-minded allows the Co-Presidents to be more flexible by understanding multiple points of view.
That is what makes easy to connect to, so students are not afraid to address what they care about. Edholm continues by saying that it requires, “Honesty, empathy, intellect, and good moral standing.”
These are the vital traits that allow Co-Presidents to collaborate with student body members in a civil, understanding manner. It makes them more approachable, knowing they will try their best to make our college a better place.
Class of 2017 Representative, John Baron concludes by saying that he hopes, “next year’s presidents bring an open mind and a desire to listen to all the various communities of Gustavus. Then I hope they take what they learn and translate it into action that benefits every student and community that makes up Gustavus!”