Senators need to show up, listen and represent their constituents.

Collegian Editorial

Collegian Editorial


Show up and speak up.

That is the most important part of being a senator on Students’ Association, according to Viraj Patel. Patel is a senator on SA and wrote a column focused on the topic in the March 29 issue of The Collegian.

We, at The Collegian, couldn’t agree more.

But not all senators are even doing that. There’s some room for improvement, especially with a new SA body being sworn in next week.

We, at The Collegian, believe more senators need to be held accountable as representatives of the student body. What it all comes down to is that senators should show up, listen and represent their constituents.

Once senators are elected, they’re supposed to represent the values and opinions of their constituents. But some senators don’t do that — some don’t speak at all during meetings, debate issues or ask questions.

Being a student senator is an opportunity to represent other students and make a tangible difference at South Dakota State University. It’s not meant to be just a resume-builder, and senators should not remain complacent.

Granted, there are a handful of senators who are extremely active in SA. They speak up and debate, they talk about what’s happening on campus, they take action to make a positive difference in the community. They care and show that they care.

We, at The Collegian, appreciate those senators and the passion they have for their positions.

But, some simply don’t care enough.

If a student attends an SA meeting (at 7 p.m. each Monday in the Lewis and Clark room of The Union), they’ll see senators with their computers open, scrolling through Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.

If that student happens to sit at the table and misses something during the meeting they’ll need to turn to the senator next to them and ask what they missed. But they’ll likely hear, “I don’t know” or “Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.”

We know this happens because this has happened to us.

It shouldn’t. Senators should be paying attention to the meeting — it’s not only part of their responsibility as a senator, but it’s disrespectful to the people talking and to the people who elected them.

The senators who are active in SA do a good job of talking and giving reports, but another issue is that overall committee reports are lacking. There are only a couple given each week. Senators are presented with a full page of committee options to be part of during their term, but we may never hear about what’s happening in these committees because some senators have often not delivered a report.

We need to know what is happening in those committees, what improvements are being made and what challenges there are. But the only way we will hear about them is when a senator reports about that committee. Because senators aren’t speaking up as much as they should be about committee reports, we’re missing out on important campus information.

That doesn’t sound like a true representative to us.

What we’re seeing now in some of these senators aren’t what they are supposed to be.

We want the next Senate body to be made up of senators who show up because they want to, ask questions because they care, listen because it’s their duty and do all of this to represent the voices of the student body as student senators.