SA Senate greets fresh faces

Toby Uecker

Toby Uecker

The school year may be coming to an end, but a new session is just beginning for several SA Senators that are now three meetings into their tenure representing their respective colleges.

For first-year Pharmacy senator Joe Crawford says his first few meetings have brought him a real understanding of the Student’s Association and its duties.

“You get a real grasp of how the system at SDSU works,” he said, “and if you want things changed or you have complaints, you get a very realistic grasp of what you can do about it.”

But that grasp of the system doesn’t come without active participation, he said.

“I think you really bring in questions because there’s so much you don’t know about,” Crawford said.

As the first-year senators get their questions answered and begin to feel more comfortable, he added, they can begin to have a major impact on the student governing body.

According to SA President Eric Erickson, at this point, “Everyone’s starting to come out and start talking about the issues.”

“A lot of (the new senators) have really good ideas, and they’re really ambitious,” he said. “They want to get out there and change stuff to make SDSU that much better.”

Crawford cites major issues he wants to take on, ranging from the union expansion to the intended DI switch and also has smaller ideas for campus improvements.

Fellow first-time senator Rachell Weaver, who represents the College of Arts and Science, said that knowing how to work within the SA is key to getting her goals accomplished.

“I think the importance is getting a feel for what we’re there for. … It’s really easy to catch on,” she said.

Weaver wants to use her tenure on the Senate to create stronger bonds between the government and the students it serves.

“We’re supposed to be representing their views, and if we can connect with them, then that is so much better,” she said.

Weaver thinks that publicity through a campus radio program would do a good job of meeting that goal, as would taking ideas back to other campus organization.

Erickson said the SA is working on that aspect of the new senate by encouraging especially the first-time senators to get out and talk about the SA at meetings of organizations within their respective colleges.

“The best thing is to just get out and talk to as many regular students as you can,” Erickson said.

As for the dynamic within the student governing body, both the new senators and the more experienced leaders agree that there are many benefits to bringing in new faces and ideas to the decision-making process.

“It brings in different concerns that other students have that we didn’t see or we didn’t address as much as we should have,” Erickson said.

“They bring a lot of personality and a lot of intelligence,” Weaver said of her fellow new senators.

“I feel like I’m in very great company. … The new senators bring in a lot of passion and a lot of dedication for serving the students, so I think they’re going to be really great.”

She also said that having the elder statesmen available to lend support and guidance is a large benefit for the incoming senators.

“If I have a question, I can go to them. I can ask them,” she said.

Crawford said that, while asking those questions isn’t always easy, it’s something that every new senator needs to do to find his or her place.

“Occasionally … it can be intimidating,” he said. “However, if you are really joining SA to make a difference and learn stuff, it’s also important to take in a lot of what happens.”

He said that the beginning of a senator’s term is particularly important for knowing what happens.

“These first couple weeks and these first couple meetings have been very huge,” Crawford said.

Erickson remembers the first few weeks of his first term as senator two years ago and recognizes it can be a challenge. For the time, though, he has advice for the current newcomers.

“Take advantage of your time as a leader on campus to make it that much better for next year and for the future of SDSU,” he said.

#1.887043:3725373653.jpg:sandl.jpg:First-time senators (left) Kristen Olsen, Seth Koch, Joe Crawford and Rachell Weaver pore over documents before their Students? Association Senate meeting Monday night. The group?s ?freshman class? said they were excited for the coming year and optimistic about the things they can accomplish.: