The William Jewell College Student Senate Cabinet for the 2017-2018 school year are Drew Novak, senior political science major, Luce-Virlynn Apollon, senior nursing and applied critical thought and inquiry major, Jacob Dice, junior physics, economics and mathematics major and Chris Choe, sophomore Oxbridge Institutions and Policies major.

The Hilltop Monitor interviewed Novak (DN) Apollon (LVA) about Senate’s upcoming year.

What does Senate hope to accomplish this year?

LVA: Senate is hoping to accomplish lots. We’ve made lots of progress through the summer and now have the momentum of a full, functioning Senate. We’re planning on pushing more policy recommendations as well as improving communication between students, administration, faculty and staff. We will be hosting more events as well as funding more organizational activities on and off campus.

DN: This year, the Senate will be confronting a variety of stiff challenges. We’re going to work to increase student participation on campus not only through our own actions but also through collaborating with Student Life and other student-led organizations on campus. We also intend to increase collaboration between student organizations on campus by building partnerships not only between student organizations and Senate but also between the organizations themselves. Last, we intend to work with the administration and our campus’ multicultural organizations to further Jewell’s desire to be a more diverse and inclusive institution.

How do you think the implementation of the new alcohol policy has gone so far?

LVA: So far, it’s been pretty good. We haven’t really had time to truly see the difference. I know that as more organizations host events utilizing the new alcohol policy, students will be able to see the culture shift happening.

DN: We’re very early in the year and therefore, in the early stages of implementation, but I believe that all parties are satisfied with the changes to the alcohol policy, and I think that the students in particular are excited to see what this means for our community. With that being said, I do believe that the policy is something that we will have to pay attention to moving forward. You have to evaluate it continuously to make sure that it’s achieving its desired aims and in the most effective way possible. In the last analysis, though, I am confident that this policy is going to make our community a better place.

Has the structure of Senate changed since last year? Do you think any changes will help or hurt Senate accomplish its goals?

LVA: The structure has changed a little bit. There are four senators from each class instead of five. It makes our senate closer and more effective by minimizing the potential for cacophony. The standing committees have changed a little bit as well. Now we have a policy committee, an external engagement committee, an events committee and an internal communication committee. The slight changes in structure are reactionary to our changing campus climate. It’s important for the Student Senate to reflect and represent the campus as a whole.

DN: We have created a new committee called the communications committee which is headed by our Secretary, Chris Choe. The communications committee will be responsible not only for communicating information within Senate but also handling Senate’s external communications. Practically speaking, this means that the committee will contain some senators who will function as liaisons to other student organizations on campus. We believe that this is going to make it easier for Senate to interact with campus organizations and that it’s going to help things get done much quicker and with less confusion.

What are the biggest challenges Senate is facing this year?

LVA: Senate has changed a lot in the recent years. Challenges might be a bit antagonistic, but we are excited to make some real progress. Last year’s Senate did a lot by propelling the alcohol policy change … This year we know our work will be comparable if not exceeding last year’s Senate. We hope to make lasting change in the realms of diversity and inclusion as well as campus culture as a whole.

DN: Senate is facing a variety of challenges in the coming year. In a sense, we are working against the clock because we’re confronted with a variety of challenges and only a limited amount of time to craft solutions to them. We’re also working against a cemented status quo and are now tasked with finding ways of changing solidified narratives. These two challenges together certainly make our work more difficult, but it also adds an incentive to overcome. I’m confident that as the year progresses, we’ll be able to work past these and once we do, we’re really going to see the change that we seek.

Student Senate hosted its first town hall Sept. 11 during Jewell Time and discussed the new alcohol policy, cafeteria hours on the weekends and upperclassmen parking issues. The next town hall is Oct. 11. Student Senate meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Yates-Gill College Union 210.

Photos by Cassie Hayes.

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