Student Senate met April 9, and the majority of the meeting was taken up mostly by a Q&A session with candidates for Senate Exec. Board. The meeting began with an announcement that Pat Custer and Haley Gluhanich had won their races for Vice President and President of Senate, respectively.
The first Q&A session for the position of Secretary was the only true race between candidates, Marisa Balanda ‘21 and Anna Burns ‘19, the runner-ups of the Vice Presidential and Presidential races respectively. Both candidates said that Secretary was not a fallback position; Ms. Balanda conceded that as a first-year, she may have set her goals a bit too high, while Ms. Burns stated that Secretary was a position she had considered from the beginning. Both candidates emphasized that they would like to send out meeting minutes and agendas for Senate earlier; when the current Secretary, Kaitlyn Helmstetter ‘18, brought up that Minutes often take editing and additions, Ms. Balanda conceded that perhaps Tuesday was more realistic than Monday night, while Ms. Burns suggested having committee chairs send in their reports before the meeting, so the Secretary did not have to wait for chairs to contact them afterward.
Both candidates also liked the idea of a Senate newsletter, especially considering that the Public Relations Committee’s role may be folded into the Secretary’s job next year. Ms. Balanda also emphasized that she would still like to have a training for new senate members, and that even if not elected she may try to work with Dean Ramsey to bring such a program into existence.
The only Treasurer candidate was Nick Arbaugh ‘20, who complimented current treasurer Sarah Berkowitz ‘18 on her work keeping the Senate financially responsible this year, and stated that he would like to continue her work. Mr. Arbaugh also mentioned editing the Senate Request form to make it easier, and codifying more rules for Senate spending, similar to the amendment passed earlier this year limiting the amount of funds Senate would supply for clubs to go to conferences. On most other issues, such as Senate as an activist body or the possible evaluation of speakers first by BMC, Mr. Arbaugh said that in the end these were decisions that should be made by Senate as a whole, not by himself or the BMC.
Laryssa Horodysky ’21 is the new OSAGL (Office of Student Activities and Greek Life) Senate Liaison. Ms. Horodysky was not able to be involved in Senate this year, but cited her desire to become involved as motivation for her run. She talked extensively about the importance of publicizing the clubs on campus, helping people who may have class conflicts with events such as Activity Fair become involved and learn what clubs are available.
She also stated her intent to work with clubs and listen to their opinions and concerns as the Affinity Group structure of Senate, which will allow groups of clubs to elect representatives who will have a vote, giving clubs more of a voice in the decision-making process.
Abby Hauer ’21 is the new Senate Parliamentarian, citing the work current Parliamentarian Pat McKenna ’20 has done on the constitution this year as inspiration for her run. Ms. Hauer stated her intentions to work on the constitution further. She wants to set up a more solid structure to govern Affinity Groups next year, floated the idea of putting language in the constitution that would promote Senate choosing Students for Administration Committees and Task Forces, and would also like to improve the simple grammar of the constitution.
Ms. Hauer was also questioned at length about the Equity Committee she was on at her High School to combat an incident of racism. This committee established guidelines for inclusion and equality, as well as disciplinary measures for violations of those ideals. Ms. Hauer stated that she does not think that there is precedent to establish such a code at Gettysburg at this time, but a new philosophy directly addressing inequality and inclusion could lay the groundwork for such a thing. Any punitive measure, however, would be decided and debated by the entire Senate body.
Marisa Balanda and Anna Burns then headed back up to give the Senate an update on the school’s Facilities Task Force. They met for the first time on April 3, where the committee discussed normal times for addressing facilities concerns; a normal report can take up to five days to fulfill, while a rushed report would be addressed the same day and an emergency report would require immediate attention. The idea of facilities leaving orange door hangers on rooms after Facilities workers have been in the room to fix the problem has been proposed.
Laundry will most likely be free until the end of the semester, and the school is re-thinking its contract with the current third-party service, which technically owns and is supposed to maintain all machines on campus. Secretary Helmstetter suggested the college pressure the company to take better care of the machines we have currently by threatening to withdraw from the contract. Facilities will be sending out a campus-wide survey, which all students are encouraged to reply to. The next task force meeting will be on May 1, to allow time for survey taking and sorting of the data.
Ms. Balanda and Ms. Burns also gave the Senate a handy tip; if you have a facilities request over a weekend, submit it through the website instead of calling facilities directly. The form for online submission is on the front page of the student section of Gettysburg’s website.
Nerd Nation’s base budget was approved, and College Dems was given money for Young Voters Day that they will later reimburse Senate for.