With three incoming Student Senate Student Body Officers (SBOs) elected and the presidential runoff ending Friday, The Scout’s editorial board would like to reflect on the current leadership and set expectations for the incoming one.
Outgoing student body officers
When the current SBOs were elected a year ago, they, like all of us, had no idea what the following school year had in store. COVID-19 had just been declared a pandemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The newly-elected SBOs adjusted quickly.
First, the Student Senate increased its social media presence effectively. Knowing most communication this semester would have to be digital, Student Senate created user-friendly graphics summarizing lengthy university emails and campus resources concerning mental health.
The Scout respected when Student Senate spoke out against the university concerning its decision not to implement the pass/fail grading system for the fall of 2020. Not only did they make their discontent with the Provost’s choice clear in a press release, but student body president Emma Hoyhtya also attended university senate meetings to discuss the issue and asked Provost Zakahi to attend a forum.
When the administration answered student opposition about the removal of spring break in its entirety with “no homework days,” the organization, again, communicated its dissatisfaction and encouraged students to reach out and voice their concerns through forums and interactive story replies on social media.
Despite the pandemic, Hoyhtya and fellow student body officers mobilized student opinion more than ever before. As a result, the organization’s visibility on campus has certainly increased.
Incoming student body officers
With slowing COVID-19 rates and the increasing availability of vaccines, the 2021-2022 school year is being viewed optimistically. Last month, the university announced its intentions to return to more traditional operations.
Still, we hope to see continuity between the former officers and the incoming ones in terms of visibility and efforts to gauge student opinion.
Hopefully, the newly-elected staff will use the current momentum to gather student opinions on the soon-to-be-announced guidelines and regulations for the fall.
We also challenge the new officers to hold the university accountable for their promises to improve diversity and inclusion efforts, which the university committed to in the summer.
Another essential role the Student Senate should play is as a restorer of student morale. The task of improving the environment next year will require much more than “Rise of the Red” giveaways. With more clubs and organization vacancies than before due to the pandemic, we hope to see more opportunities created for such organizations to reach the student body.
The Scout commends the previous student body officers for their devotion to the student body and hopes to see the trend continue once the new officers are sworn in.