As a part of its Jump Start campus campaign, the newly elected student body officers are planning to recruit senators differently in an attempt to better represent the student body.
Members of senate currently serve to represent living areas, including the residence halls, greek houses, St. James, Student Apartment Complex and off-campus residencies. But with the changes, there would be senators to represent living areas, greeks, student-athletes, the academic colleges and other student organizations.
It’s great to see the new officers taking this initiative in trying to fix recruitment, which has been a problem on senate for many years. However, we’re happy they’ve said they’re waiting to get student approval before enacting this new plan, because the plan likely will not work.
Recruiting senators from different avenues of campus won’t better represent the student body. All students live in one of the constituencies currently represented on senate, so everyone already has the opportunity to be represented.
And while the new way of recruitment may provide a temporary spark encouraging new members to join, it won’t necessarily recruit the strongest representatives. If senators are serving to represent student organizations, it’s likely they’ll be vying for their organization’s motives rather than what may be best for the student body as a whole.
Also, there is already a Student Advisory Committee, which meets weekly and includes leaders from most major student organizations.
If senate wants to focus on stonger recruitment, it should focus on better publicizing elections for senators.
When elections occur at the beginning of the year, many people don’t know what senate is nor do they understand what it would be like to possibly hold a seat on senate.
It’s a strong idea to target freshmen, because they will likely be motivated, and wanting to join for reasons beyond building a resume.
However, recruiting freshmen also means taking the time to make sure they know what senate is and what it stands for. Getting the strongest senators requires active recruitment and education, not just a booth at the activities fair.
Another important change the new officers want to make is attaining student opinion through surveys. However, they’ve said they want to do this through the Scout or the Edge, which may not be as strong of a way to reach students as through senate’s Web site or e-mail.
Recognizing a problem is the first step to fixing it, so it’s exciting the new student body officers have targeted recruitment. Since the SBO’s are young, hopefully their first years will be successful, because the problems with senator recruitment may take longer than a year to repair.