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Senate Spotlight

In a new monthly article series, Her Campus Siena will be sitting down with Andy Murphy, the Student Senate President. This series will cover all of the issues and initiatives that the Student Senate is looking to solve and address during the current term. In our first interview with Andy, we talked about the short and long term goals, and what you can expect from your fellow Siena Saints.

When asked about the intentions and the goals of Student Senate in the upcoming term, Andy immediately launched into the discussion of the health involvements initiative. This initiative is centered around five main aspects; mental health, faith, environment, food, and fitness. There is specific focus on spiritual, physical, and personal well-being. Mental health and spirituality goes hand in hand, and Andy emphasized that this aspect is about knowing your resources on campus, such as the Counseling Center and Fr. Larry as College Chaplain. This comes at an important time, not just for the Siena community, but also for colleges everywhere, as mental health issues are on the rise. The new phrase, “unity plus community,” now being promoted by Siena, portrays an inclusive community and understanding community. It is important that students feel that they are an integral part of Siena and feel that they can affect positive change in their community.   

In regards to fitness, Senate is aiming at having renovations to the Marcelle Athletic Complex this upcoming summer. Also in the works is the return of the outside basketball courts and the search for an alumni who would be willing to donate to lessen the monetary stipend. Always a relevant issue in the discussion of health, food, which was the next topic discussed. There is going to be a new focus on vegetarian and gluten-free availability on campus for the students who require it.  

Andy’s next point for Student Senate was a number of smaller projects, but projects that would create a large impact nonetheless. These projects include printing stations in Ryan and Plassmann Hall, allowing for more convenience for first-year students. Certain to be a big hit, charging stations and televisions in Casey’s is next on the list. Andy then referenced a new “back door policy” that would allow students to enter into their residential buildings through the back doors, giving the backdoor to Padua Hall as an example. The hours of the back doors would be somewhere between the hours of 8am through 8pm Monday-Sunday.  

After we commented on how much Student Senate has in the works for Siena, Andy referenced the whiteboard behind our heads. Pictured below, the board, while it may only contain ideas, it is testimony to the hard work Student Senate is willing to do in order for those ideas to come to fruition.



The conversation then segwayed into a new plan involving Residential Hall Association (RHA) and the Office of Community Living regarding furniture removal for returning students. This new policy would allow for returning students to place a request for furniture removal two weeks prior to arriving back on campus. That way, there would no longer be a large backlog of furniture requests when first year students arrive on campus.  

After much discussion of what Student Senate has in store for Siena, we turned our conversation to Andy. When asked what he would personally like to accomplish as Student Senate President, he said, “I want to branch out and connect with more students. The more people I know, the more I can help them, and the more ideas we can get out onto the table.” If there is one thing that Andy would like the Siena community to know, it is that he wants to close the gap that he feels is present between students and where students can voice their concerns. He would like to close that gap and make it known that there are outlets for students to go to if they have an issue or a concern. In order to address any fear that a student may have of being shut down when they come forward, he wants people to know that the Student Government Association (SGA)  is there for them every day of the week. “I want to students to know that we are there for them and yeah, we dress up in suits and ties every day of the week, but we are kids just like them. We have a good time, we do school work, but every now and then we put a tie on and talk about policies.” 

In conclusion, there are many projects and reforms coming our way from SGA. In the future, we can anticipate seeing posters detailing what has been accomplished that month. There will also be a SGA banner that will contain all logos and meeting times to encourage the general public to attend. All in all, there are many great things that the Siena community can look forward to. Stay tuned for next time’s Senate Spotlight to see the progress of these great ideas and ambitious projects.

Megan is a happy twenty-something exploring the possibilities of life.  She is the Campus Correspondent of Her Campus Siena and dreams of wearing high heels everyday to work. She can usually be found drinking coffee, working out to Taylor Swift, maxing out her credit card, or scribbling jibberish down in her planner. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @msalavantis. 
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