Student Senate starts year with new senators

Erin Jones, News Reporter

Winona State University’s Student Senate held their first meeting of the semester last Wednesday, January 10 in the Purple Rooms of Kryzsko Commons.

Members of the Senate went about their meeting as usual, but took some time to welcome a few new Senators.

Student Senate President, Ben Reimler, commented on the addition of the new Senators.

“It was our first meeting with several new Senators,” Reimler said. “Having them join us is always a high point.”

Because of the new additions, the Senators wanted to allow time to help the new Senators understand how meetings normally work.

Senator Jessi Harvey-Rigby, a sophomore nursing major, also commented on the new Senators.

“We welcomed three or four new Senators to the table,” Harvey-Rigby said. “The meeting was more reintroducing things they may not know and taking things slow, so they could understand where we were going.”

Though the Senators wanted to take time to help the new Senators, they also had normal business to take care of.

Reimler stated that in addition to welcoming the new Senators, there were a few other important items on the agenda.

“The biggest questions we had tonight had to do with funding and contributing to the Midwest Music Festival and the Frozen River Film Festival,” Reimler said.

Senator Harvey-Rigby agreed with Reimler, adding that funding for the Midwest Music Fest is something that comes up every year in Student Senate meetings.

“The past couple of years the funding has ended with a $1,500 amount, but we’ll see how that goes at our next meeting,” Harvey-Rigby said.

The Senators also agreed on the importance of some of the meeting’s guest speakers, which included the Vice President of University Advancement Ron Dempsey, and the new Associate Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity Jonathan Locust.

Senator Max Gonzalez, a senior Spanish major, commented on the short speech given by the new associate vice president of inclusion and diversity.

“I appreciated the points of information he brought up because his position is very important to the Senate,” Gonzalez said.

In addition to the associate vice president of inclusion and diversity, the Senate also got to opportunity to hear the vice president of university advancement speak.

“Talking to him was good because it gets us thinking about capital campaigns he might want to see,” said Senator Ivy Kuhn, a junior criminal justice major.

Senators Kuhn and Gonzalez both commented on an issue that was brought up by their fellow Senator, Nick DeMaris.

During the meeting, the Senate gave DeMaris the chance to speak on an issue regarding technology and student laptops in upcoming years.

This issue is mostly in the physcial differences between the laptops students are using now veres the ones that they will have in the future.

Kuhn said she thought it was one of the more important issues of discussion during the meeting. Senator Gonzalez agreed, saying that he was surprised that he hadn’t heard much on the issue before the meeting.

Unfortunately for the Student Senate, they learned that there wasn’t much they could do about technology and student laptops, at least for a couple of years.

“It sucks that we can’t do much about it until 2019 or 2020,” Gonzalez said. “But we are definitely going to keep it in the back of our minds.”

Though the Senators agreed that everything they discussed at their first meeting was important, they also agreed that it was a standard meeting and that the welcoming of the new Senators was a big deal.

“The meeting was basically just starting back up again with the semester and making sure everyone is familiar with what’s going on,” Gonzalez said.

Kuhn agreed, saying that the meeting was a good start to the new semester.

“I think it was a good first meeting and for the new Senators they get a good taste of anything we might see this semester,” Kuhn said.