The student Senate recently elected a new ASB president. The student senate’s purpose, according to their commitment statement, is to “represent the students of SPSCC and to serve as advocates for the enrichment of student life.” The new ASB president, Jessica Wilkins, explains what the student senate does for the college.
Wilkins clarifies that ‘ASB president’ and ‘student senate president’ are the same title, inhabited by her. ASB stands for associated student body, meaning that she is essentially representing the voice of all students in decisions regarding the school. Wilkins sits in on meetings and boards that determine where funds go, reviews plans for expansion, educational changes, and other changes made to policies. The simple phrase that Wilkins used to describe the role of the senate was “the bridge between the students and the administration of the school.” Wilkins went on to add that the senate’s main goal was to “observe where students need help and support, what can be added, and what’s beneficial- and then make those changes.” This is a point of interesting for students that participate in any club, work on campus, or if they are involved with SPSCC in pretty much any way.
Wilkins disclosed that one of her specific goals was to increase the availability of alternative textbook options. If accomplished, this would make it easier to finding a textbook that isn’t $200 or $300, or more. While the senate’s main job is to listen to and represent the students, they also have a responsibility to maintain the core values of the school. These values, such as expanding diversity on campus and increasing student retention, often guide their actions and determine where the senate will focus their attention. Although this sounds like a lot of pressure, Wilkins describes the role of senate president as “definitely a job- but still very fun.” While Wilkins has a definitive responsibility as the voice of the students on the board of trustees, the way that the senate operation is pretty low-key.
Wilkins says that when they’re “in session” or debating ideas, it’s kind of like a discussion among friends. Not to say the senate takes the rights of students lightly, but they do operate on a casual level. However, when Wilkins goes to the board, she represents the needs of the students with full weight.
When asked if there was anything she wanted to include about the student senate, Wilkens said that “you don’t have to be a political science major to be a part of the senate.” Her message was to get involved in student government, regardless of experience, the willingness to learn and a drive to help and represent the students is what truly matters.