Recap of the Senate Advocacy Day


Madison Long, theWord Lead Reporter

Last week, our Student Government Association (SGA) Senate held its first Senate Advocacy Day for the 2021-2022 academic school year.

 Senate Advocacy Day consisted of three parts: the Deans Engagement Hour, Student Connections via Canvassing, and the October 13 SGA Senate Meeting.  

The Day consisted of widespread engagement of Senators, Deans and students. 

The idea of Senate Advocacy Day was spearheaded by SGA Vice President of Internal Affairs, Julian Woods. Woods campaigned on Senate Advocacy Day as being one of his main focuses for his term. 

“My goal is to educate and create awareness of the Senate because most students didn’t know that our university had a Senate,” Woods said. 

As desired by Vice President Woods, the purpose of Senate Advocacy Day was to inform students about the role of a Senator on campus and their role in SGA. The goal was also to encourage more students to connect with their college’s senators and utilize them as a resource to improve and address concerns relevant to their college.

During Part I of the Day, Deans Engagement Hour, the Senators met with their respective deans from 8am-4pm. The meetings consisted of Senators advocating and asking questions from the submitted survey. Some Senators met in-person with their deans, while others met via Zoom.

Part II of Senate Advocacy Day consisted of the Senators connecting with the student body. This manifested into a canvassing event at Williams dining hall, the clocktower, and the student center. Senators had the opportunity to directly interact with students in their corresponding colleges. This aspect of Senate Advocacy Day ranged from 2pm-4pm. 

Part III, the final event of Senate Advocacy Day was the October 13 Senate Meeting. The meeting served as a debrief session of the day (e.g., meeting content, tabling content, feedback). The meeting included two guest speakers, the first, Provost Beryl McEwen, who offered empowering insight relative to growth and being the change we want to see at our university. “If better is possible, good is not enough,” Provost McEwen said. The second guest speaker was SGA President, Verdant Julius. 

President Julius expressed his gratitude for the Senators and their time when he expressed that he was, “Super proud of the Senate”. Julius also took the time to inform the Senators of restorative justice efforts that are in progress here on campus. Students will have the opportunity to be hired to the University Police Department (UPD) under committees so that students can be a part of decision making. Lastly, Julius noted that a memorandum revealing what will come out of these ideas will be revealed tomorrow, Thursday, October 21, 2021. 

In the final meeting, some Senators communicated the effectiveness of the Deans Engagement Hour and their overall perception of their Dean’s response. 

Senator and speaker for the College of Science and Technology, Laila Rahman-Latta, reported that Senator Ma’Nai Kerr, also for the College of Science and Technology,  spoke to Dean Abdellah Ahmidouch about implementing a recitation program, a space in which students could obtain time outside of class and homework to just focus on practice problems and understanding course material, within the college. 

Rahman-Latta noted that Dean Ahmidouch was, “…very receptive.” She reported that Dean Ahmidouch and the college have already begun looking into a program like this for the Math Department, “..where students have the most struggle” Dean Ahmidouch said. The Dean also expressed that he is open to having a similar program expanded to the other departments. 

Despite the difficulty, the SGA Senate made it clear that they want to hear from you and communicate your concerns. This is why a special thanks should be given to our Senators and the judicial committee in particular. This committee was responsible for the creation of the survey, which served as the starting point for a bridge of communication between the students and their corresponding Colleges. 

Our Senators are here to serve us, they are here to advocate for our needs. Our needs cannot be met if they are not communicated effectively and if there is no effort being put forth. 

As students and future leaders in the world, let us focus on communicating effectively so that we can build together and address change for our illustrious university.