The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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2008-2009 Senators inaugurated: President excited about future

In front of two dozen family members, friends and administrators, 30 senators were inaugurated into the 95th SMU Student Senate Tuesday, including 15 first-time members.

After President Turner’s opening remarks in the commons of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, in which he thanked students for “always sending us outstanding people to represent them and serve this institution well,” Student Senate Adviser Jennifer Jones expressed her trust in new senators to positively affect change on campus.

“My charge to you as members of the 95th Student Senate is to do what Ghandi said: to be that change that you want to see in the world, and that world being here at SMU,” she said. “If you believe it, you can achieve it. And I believe in you and all these administrators around you believe in you.”

In his inaugural speech, Student Body President Rob Hayden, in turn, expressed gratitude to Turner, Dean of Student Life Dee Siscoe and Jones, for giving senators “the most powerful tool for change: a voice. We won’t let you down.”

“We see an administration dedicated to the students and the prosperity of our university,” he said.

For senators to get anything accomplished, Student Body Vice President Patrick Kobler said an open line of communication must exist between student representatives and the administration.

“We’re here at a great time,” he said. “There are so many positive changes going on, and I feel the students need to be a part of those changes and that’s all of our responsibilities.”

Hayden had encouraging words for new senators after their inauguration.

“This is our time. Be respectful of the power you’ve been given by the university, and remember, to whom much is given, much is expected. Our intention is to make this institution everything that it can be and everything that it ought to be.”

Passing a series of legislation in response to recommendations of the Task Force Report released on January 30, 2008, senators have repeatedly voiced their opinions to the administration this semester. Hayden seemed pleased with Turner’s approval of 36 of the 38 proposed recommendations.

“I’m convinced the recommendations from President Turner were well thought out and were really looked into. It is something that enough people put their input into and I think we got a pretty good turnout. Some were left vague purposefully, but that gives us the opportunity to talk about them more,” he said.

Quickly after assuming office, Hayden turned his attention to the future, addressing issues that he hopes can help establish effective communication between a senator and each of his or her 300 constituents.

Looking to expand their committees’ structure, Hayden and Kobler hope to place more non-senatorial members on committees before the start of next year, in addition to making a big push to first-years so they know what Student Senate is and what it does.

The initiative would designate one representative from each student organization as a liaison in direct contact with the senate.

“If they’re submitting a funding request, or coming to ask for anything or talk about something, it’s the same person every time, so they’ll be able to develop a more personal relationship with [the senate],” Hayden said after the meeting. “Vice President Kobler campaigned on it and people have been responding well to it. That’s the first thing, because if you’re not communicating, nothing’s going to get done.”

Also during the meeting, new senators cast their first votes, filling the three remaining positions on the senate’s executive council. Chief of Staff Jeff Ordner, Speaker Allison Kara Reyes and Parliamentarian Kyle Bennett were all elected in the first session of SMU’s 95th Student Senate.

Hayden had good things to say as far as what students should expect from the senate over the next year.

“Get excited – the senate, we’re really excited. I’m convinced this is a pivotal time for the university.”

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