Students speak and Senate listens

December 14, 2012 | 11 a.m.

Bethel’s first Student Senate Week sets up fruitful give and take

News | Cherie Suonvieri for The Clarion

Students speak and Senate listens

Ashley Jacobson, chair of the Senate’s Student Involvement Committee | photo for The Clarion courtesy of Bethel Information Services

Lending an ear to student voices, Student Senate dedicated a week to reaching out to the Bethel community. Bethel’s first ever Student Senate Week began on Monday, Nov. 12, and it was a success according to Ashley Jacobson, Bethel junior and chair of the Senate’s Student Involvement Committee.

“The goal is to get students involved in where their student activity fee goes,” said Jacobson. The funds from the $75 student activity fee, which is tucked discreetly in the list of tuition charges, are distributed to various clubs and organizations on campus through bills written by the Student Senate.

“We really want to spend the money that we have on what students want,” Jacobson said. “I think the best part of Student Senate Week was the table we had set up with the student surveys. We got a lot of really good feedback.”

By the end of Senate Week, 190 student surveys had been returned. The responses are still being analyzed, but a few in particular stood out, including requests for the addition of a convenience store and for hand dryers in the bathrooms.

“A lot of people requested a fitness center and more parking, but that’s just not something tangible for Senate right away,” Jacobson said. “It’s definitely something that we’ve mentioned in the past to administration and they know that it’s something that students want.”

In addition to the student surveys, the Senate looked for feedback in other ways. Throughout the week, senators spent time on shack to connect with the residents they represent. A Blitz event was also held on Monday night in the Brushaber Commons to create conversations between the Senate and the students.

Looking ahead to future Senate weeks, there are a few tweaks the senators hope to make, including holding a Senate meeting in the Brushaber Commons. All meetings are open to Bethel community members, but the Senate hopes to increase student interest by meeting in a communal space.

For students interested in attending Senate meetings before the next Student Senate Week, meetings are held every Monday at 7:30 p.m. in BC 468.


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