William Jewell College’s new Student Senate Cabinet, Your Voice on the Hill, was elected early October. The Cabinet is composed of President Olivia Eggleston, senior nonprofit leadership and Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry major; Vice President Tavarus Pennington, junior communication and English major; Secretary Grace Garbe, junior communication and nonprofit leadership major; and Treasurer Ireland Hawkins, senior accounting major.
The Cabinet’s main goals for the year include supporting the diversity and inclusivity clubs, student and community engagement, and general health and safety here on the Hill. The Cabinet has the responsibility of electing Student Senators into office, a process that, in the past, has been informal and inconsistent. They plan to address these concerns through a process of effective communication, putting emphasis on the value in a variety of representation from all the clubs and activities at Jewell.
The general goals of the Cabinet have been categorized as progress towards inclusion, engagement and safety. The Senate plans on supporting various groups and giving funding to events that will improve student engagement on campus, particularly for clubs in support of minority groups that promote inclusivity on campus, such as the Black Student Alliance and Gender Issues and Feminism club.
They also plan to promote student involvement through modification of the traditional Coffee with the President, changing it to a broader student outlet for questions or a forum and allowing more access to the president and the administration. Safety is particularly important on campus this year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cabinet finds it important to demonstrate a positive attitude towards the campus safety guidelines, encouraging correct mask procedures, safe living spaces and mental health awareness.
“As a Cabinet we want to encourage protocols regarding COVID. Fostering a positive attitude toward mask wearing is important for the senate to demonstrate,” Eggleston said.
The main focus of the Cabinet this year is dependent on flexibility and close accordance to feedback from the student population, utilizing the Senators as the “eyes and ears of the broader student community.” The 16 Senators, four from each grade, are expected to contribute to the Senate meetings and work to achieve the goals established through their communication between the student population and the Cabinet. This requires a variety of representation of clubs from each Senator to ensure input from minority groups on campus.
The election of Student Senators has historically been inconsistent, varying each year with no expectations set for the involvement of the Senators. In the past, the Cabinet has picked people from within their social circles to fill empty positions, resulting in a lack of representation in student government and difficulties in progress for the College. However, Your Voice on the Hill set specific expectations and standards for the selection of student officers this year, and despite the delay of Senate elections due to the pandemic, the Cabinet has made a great start to the year for change.
The Student Senators this year are elected with consideration to their abilities of leadership and communication skills, along with those who have excelled academically and can show that they care about the needs of the College. They should be passionate about the positive environment of the college and have well-developed time management skills, as Student Senate is a large time commitment. The Cabinet claimed it is essential that the Senators are chosen based on their involvement in a diversity of activities.
All of these qualifications for this year’s student government are put in place to ensure the positive progress in the functions of the College.
“The ultimate college experience for our Students and making our campus the place students want to be,” Eggleston said.
The Cabinet is also considering working on additional projects. One of which is a student needs cabinet. The project, which was the centerpiece of the Cabinet’s campaign, is spearheaded by Alex Theissen, senior political science, economics and Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry (ACT-In) major. Theissen is in the process of implementing the cabinet through new organization Cardinals Care, aimed to increase student welfare by providing products for students who do not have access to hygiene products and other resources. The Student Senate Cabinet aims to help Theissen in the implementation process.
The Cabinet described the need for such a student needs cabinet. The dining hall on campus is closed during breaks, meaning student-athletes, international students and other students who stay on campus during break often don’t have resources for food. Similarly, some students may have a hard time accessing hygienic products due to lack of funds. The Cardinals Care cabinet intends to address these concerns, allowing a place for students to access necessary resources. Senate is in contact with Theissen, willing to work with him and help fund his project if necessary.
The first-year student senators are Calvin Heit; Oxbridge institutions and policy major; Chloe McDonnell, Oxbridge history of ideas major; Hattie Miller, international relations major; and Luke Zahnd, Oxbridge institutions and policy major.
The sophomores are Carly Mantia, biology major; Christian Santiago, history and political science major; Claire Henry, digital media communication major; and Gabrielle Fournier, Spanish and international relations major.
The juniors are Hailey Wall, psychological science major; Jacqueline Mikkelsen, English major; Ky Schardein, Oxbridge institutions and policy and international relations; and Kylie Phipps, nonprofit leadership major.
The senior senators are Garrett Peoples, business administration, accounting and ACT-In major; Madison Carroll, Oxbridge institutions and policy and international relations major; Anthony Hansen, nonprofit leadership and business administration major; and Megan Sprague, psychological science and nonprofit leadership major.