Meet Gustavus Student Senate Co-President, Herchran Singh!

Herchran Singh is a senior biology major from Rochester, Minnesota, and has been a part of the Gustavus Student Senate since her first year on campus. Currently, she acts as one of the two Co-Presidents of Student Senate along with senior Alex Shaikoski. I had the chance meet and talk with Herchran about her experience with Student Senate, and her role as co-president!

Gustavus Student Senate is the governing body for students on the Gustavus campus. They are involved with and in charge of Take Your Professor to Lunch, the Readership Program that provides student access to newspapers such as the Star Tribune and New York Times, financing for student organizations, as well as the Gus Bus. In addition to these operations, they also address the concerns of the student body whether it be issues involving hazing, changing the student calendar to add Indigenous People’s Day, or concerns with the water in a certain building on campus tasting metallic.

The positions on the Gustavus Student Senate are placed into four categories: Co-Presidents, Cabinet Members, Class Reps, and Residence Hall Reps.

What are your duties as Co-President of Student Senate?

“As Co-Presidents we facilitate all student senate meetings, using Robert’s Rules. We meet with President Bergman on a monthly basis to discuss what her goals are, and what Student Senate’s goals are. We also meet with our advisor JoNes every week, to discuss student concerns and what we as Student Senate can do to help the student body more comfortable and excited about being at Gustavus. We also meet with our cabinet as support, to see how we can help get the actual meat of the work done, which is done within committees.”

What is the most rewarding thing about being one of the co-presidents of Student Senate?

“It’s rewarding to get to interact with a wider population of students. Not only do we can to talk to cabinet, but also we get to talk to with the senators and interact with them. Due to this, and because people know who we are, they come up to us, or send us emails with concerns, or interview us about the issues going on around campus. I think that’s the most rewarding thing. Having the ability to work with a team that’s working really hard, but also being able to share that with the student body and have their concerns come in through the co-presidents down into the committees.”

What is the most challenging part about being a Co-President of Student Senate?

“I think it’s challenging to manage how much time the job commands. We do our Monday night meetings; we have to prep for those, and they can be just upwards of two hours long. We also have cabinet meetings once a week; we meet with our advisor once a week, and we meet with the president once a month. We also have spontaneous committee meetings that come up. It takes up time.”

Have you held other positions on Student Senate other than president in past years?

“My first year I was the International Student Representative, my sophomore year I represented Prairie View Hall, and then last year I was Diversity Chair, and then co-president elect, and this year Co-President.

What are some of the things that Student Senate is currently working on addressing?

“Our Student of Academic and Student Affairs Committee, along with Diversity Committee, and Health and Housing are looking into finding a way to get a multicultural counselor and investigating the value of having one on campus. Obviously, resources are an issue with hiring people, and it’s costly. They are looking into the benefits and drawbacks of that, and if it is worth our investment. The other thing that just happened was our Unity Event. We were tabling all day, asking students to fill out a sheet of paper that says something that makes you unique, or something that unifies you with other students at Gustavus. Our goal was to promote positivity about differences as well as similarities on campus. We are currently working on the Take Your Professor to Lunch process. The Dakota Access Pipeline has become especially important and finding out where the student body stands on that issue is something that they’re investigating. Our Public Relations Chair is working very hard to get the Student Senators known around campus, because it seems to be that a lot of times people don’t know who their senators are.”