Making Student Senate Count
Each February, the Grace College student body elects a new student body president, an important position in the student senate. While the president-elect doesn’t take office until the next fall, he or she begins training and preparation in March. A few months ago, I was the person developing dreams, visions, and strategies in preparation for this 2017-2018 year.
My involvement with Student Senate began last year – I worked as the Senate administrative coordinator. In this role, I assisted the student body president, managed internal communication and planning, and helped with organization and operation details. These responsibilities ultimately created a heart in me for the fundamentals of Student Senate at Grace. In running for and planning for the student body president role, I realized that one of my primary goals is to legitimize the function of Student Senate on campus.
How does that work? How do I mold an effective team out of a group of strong personalities and different opinions? What steps do I take to create an environment that is empowering to them? Why do I believe in the Senate team? That last question quickly became the most important for me to answer.
I am a political science major and an aspiring lobbyist. I know that my passion for student government is connected to my interest in political science. However, I did not see the connection between Grace College Student Senate and the practice of lobbying until recently. Lobbyists research and listen, and then they do everything they can to communicate a message in the most effective way possible to the elected leaders. Lobbyists have little power to act, yet they are some of the most powerful actors in politics.
In the same way, Student Senate cannot and should not attempt to function as the Grace College administrative team. Rather, we have a unique connection to Grace students and the potential to become some of the most powerful actors at Grace College. I believe in Senate because I believe in the power of research, synthesis, and good communication. Through this, we are able to be a sounding board for the student body and their voice to administration.
Now, just over a month into the school year, I can say that I am deeply proud of the team and how they have pursued this goal. I believe in each one of them as individuals and am grateful for how they contribute towards making Senate great. They are passionate about Senate and about Grace students. They have joined me in working to create a place of belonging for each student at Grace. I look forward to learning more from their creativity, thoughtfulness, and initiative throughout this year.