Pacific’s student body has the chance to express their opinions and concerns about changes happening within their community, but students would have to attend the Student Senate general meetings.
The Student Senate host an open forum meeting at 5 p.m. every Monday in the Berglund Hall conference room 200.
“Most meetings focus on debating policies, new ideas and explaining why things at Pacific are the way they are,” said Student Senate Vice President of Communications Svea Larson. “We really try to communicate to the senators, and thus the student body, the reasons that things on campus happen the way they do, as well as try to fix problems that students might have.”
The goal of each meeting differs depending on the issues at hand. For example, with the planning and implementation of Pacific University Library’s Media Lab, Library Director Marita Kunkel came and shared the background information, goals and even blue print for the area with the attendees in the Oct. 8 meeting.
“If we have a guest, we try to give value to their time as much as possible,” said Larson. “Meetings are a place that the executive board and staff members can bounce questions off the student leaders and get some response. We are often asked to help shape university policy.”
The student leaders giving their input include not only the student senate, but also senators elected from each residence hall, including two representatives for students living off-campus.
There are also representatives from the main groups on campus. The Chair of the Activities and Cultural Events Board Kate Schiewe; President of the Pacific University Greek Senate; President of the Residence Hall Association; the Student Athletic Advisory Council President and the Board of Trustees student representative Tyler Oshiro attend these meetings weekly. There are even representatives for international students and from Connections, a group for non-traditional and transfer students. While formal meetings, they are still open to the general student body so they can learn and express themselves.
This year, the meetings also include a sustainability representative, who is in a trial period to be added to the official roster.
Director of the University Center and Student Activities Steve Klein is also present at every weekly meeting.
“The point is to engage the senate body in metabolizing campus events and happenings to reflect the undergraduate student perspective on a host of subjects,” said Student Senate President Blaise Holden.
Visitors to the meetings have also included the Director of the Center for a Sustainable Society John Hayes, among others.
Hayes attended a student senate general meeting Oct. 15 to ask the senators and student representatives for their ideas on what the Center for a Sustainable Society should focus on.
“Nothing’s set in stone about the center,” said Hayes. “It will evolve over time and I want feedback from lots of students.”
Hayes and the attendees had a conversation about what students wanted to see the center accomplish. The representatives even expressed issues for Hayes to take into consideration, including Student Senate Vice President of Leadership Coco Kapfer’s concerns about B Street not being as utilized by students as she said she thinks it should be. ACE Board Chair Schiewe said in the meeting that she would like the center to take environmental science majors senior projects and have them put to use on Pacific’s campus.
“Important issues are culled out of the mix and brought to attention,” said Holden. “Last year we produced a document on changes we thought were important and gave it to President Hallick. I do believe that using the senate as a focus group has been successful in the past for various visitors.”
Although the items being discussed affect Pacific as a whole, the attendance of the general student body has been minimal at these meetings. Larson said this may be due to general lack of knowledge about the meetings themselves.
“I recommend all students to come to a senate meeting,” said Larson. “It is a great way to get involved and know what is going on and make life at Pacific the best it can be for you.”
To advise an agenda item for the Student Senate General Meetings, please contact Holden directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with proposed issues or item topics to discuss.