Student Government Association elects seven new senators, bringing senate to quorum


Seven senators-elect stand in front of their new constituents during the Student Government Association meeting on Jan. 22 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Central Michigan University's Student Government Association elected seven new senators at its meeting Jan. 22, effectively filling 19 of the possible 26 seats in the senate. 

The senate's ability to vote on legislation and elect members of the organization to leadership positions hinges on the number of people present - 16. 

Last semester, four senators resigned within the first two months of SGA's meetings. Should a similar event occur this semester, the senate will dwindle to 15 seats and will be unable to effectively champion change within the organization. 

During the senate meeting in the Bovee University Center Lake Michigan Room, Senate Leader Caroline Murray commented on the issue and said, "If three of you are gone, we can't do anything." 

Murray stood by her initial statement regarding filling senate seats this semester, desiring "quality over quantity."

The students running for election were guaranteed a seat in the senate as long as at least one vote was cast with their name. The general membership of SGA elected all seven members: 

  • Dale Hardeman, freshman
  • Caleb Kaufman, sophomore
  • Shane Guenin, senior
  • Celia Millane, sophomore
  • Ariel Salter, sophomore
  • Makenzie Morales, sophomore
  • Pravallika Chirumamilla, sophomore

Chirumamilla, of Battle Creek, said her motivation to run for senate came from a budding interest from high school she wanted to pursue now. 

"I wanted to run for senate so I could do my project proposal," she said. "(It would be) an art show for schools that need a boost in their funding for their art programs." 

Embracing the novelty of new faces and a new semester, SGA President Anna Owens welcomed General Board in the Bovee University Center Auditorium during the executive board update before launching into a speech outlining the administration's platform.

Owens reported a successful semester of a "project-based" organization. She cited the following initiatives: 

  • Charles V. Park Library 24/4 Study Room
  • Diversity Committee's "Culture, Not A Costume" campaign
  • Governmental Affairs Committee's Local Candidates forum
  • RSO Growth and Development Committee's "RSO and Grow"
  • Spirits and Traditions Committee's introduction of a Spirit Week

"Transparency was yet another goal of this administration," Owens said. "We have been working on issuing weekly press releases the past semester (and) we have been holding General Board every week." 

In the address, Owens mentioned two pieces of legislation ready for introduction at the next SGA meeting. One piece, headed by the Academic Affairs Committee, involves the updating of the university's bereavement policy. The other, written by the Sustainability Committee, supports the creation of a food pantry on campus to help reduce food waste.

A social media coordinator and press secretary have been chosen by the organization's executive board but still require approval from house and senate.

"We do all this in hopes to create a healthy and diverse learning environment while fostering a positive image of our university," Owens said. "I'm incredibly excited to see what all of you will bring to the table over the next semester."