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  • Alyssa Kornacki

USA embarks to establish senator at large

By: Alyssa Kornacki

As the beginning of the first semester at Canisius University begins, the senate members working on the Undergraduate Student Association (USA) have been busy planning their updates for the new academic year.

The Griffin sat down with Jahare Hudson, president of the Undergraduate Student Association. He shared some of the upcoming changes that USA will see this year: this includes the addition of a new position, senator at large. The senator at large represents the entire student body: they are students who have varying interests on campus, and they fill vacant senate positions if elections close and there are not enough candidates.

The decision to have a senator at large stems from changes within the demographic of students. Hudson disclosed that Canisius has a student body now with demographics unlike ever before. For USA, there is the issue of not always having enough senators.

There are three main branches that form the Canisius University senate: legislative, executive and cabinet. The cabinet consists of a speaker who is appointed by fellow senators to lead and structure the senate meetings. Similarly, the vice speaker is appointed and assists the speaker, fulfilling their responsibilities in case of their absence.

The executive board comprises four positions that the entire undergraduate community elects. The roles include president, executive vice president, vice president of business & finance and vice president of marketing & public relations. The members of the cabinet are the Student Athletic Advisory Board representative, Student Programming Board representative, Diversity Board chair and the chairs of all committees. The legislative branch is composed of the 20 voting members of the senate, the speaker and the vice speaker. The voting members are senators, of which there are 5 that are elected to represent each class.

USA is not the only club struggling with engagement. Other clubs are seeing the same issues, as well. As many clubs have, the Undergraduate Student Association has promoted their open senator and executive board positions, but they have received low interest from some classes. The former and current executive board members of USA sat down and determined that it was time to make a change.

Hudson said this “serves as a model for everyone else on campus: clubs and organizations should be open to change to fix practices and policies.” Overall, he encouraged club leaders to “be better for the students that come after them.” Jahare also shared, “We see a reset when the e-board leaves: we should be building on what was set before.” He later asked, “Why are we constantly rebuilding our organizations?” Through all of this, he encouraged student leaders to work towards “getting better and better and better.”

This fall, USA plans to run more town hall events. This will be a way for undergraduate students to meet different groups in different departments and ask questions. Additionally, senate meetings will be shifted from Tuesdays to Fridays.

USA encourages students to attend and voice their ideas along with the senate, Hudson emphasized. These meetings will always be open for students to attend. Hudson also shared that there will be an Afro/USA co-hosted event coming this semester and that the Undergraduate Student Association would like to partner with different organizations on campus such as pre-health students and others to share their experiences.

Jahare, in his last year at Canisius, left me with the following words: “Our students are doing more: not just saying, but we are doing more. Work together to build the next student leaders.”

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