Senate

Student Senate

The St. Olaf College Student Senate provides a venue where elected representatives discuss the operations of the Student Government Association and student life issues in general. Administrators and staff frequently present information regarding the College and solicit student feedback from Senators. Senate is presided over by SGA Vice President, Nick Stumo-Langer ’15 and consists of three groups of student leaders:

+ SGA Branch Coordinators (ADC, BORSC, DCC, MEC, PAC, Pause Co-Coordinators, SAC, SOC, VN), SGA President, Faculty Committee Senators (Student Life, Curriculum & Environmental) & Inter-Campus Liaison – Elected in the Spring of the year before they serve, Voting Members.
+ SGA Admin Team (Executive Assistant, Marketing and Communications Director, Financial Officer and Webmaster), Inter-Hall Council Chair & Student Alumni Liaison – Appointed in the Spring of the year before they serve, Non-Voting Members.
+ Residence Hall Senators (Thorson, Mohn, Ellingson, Kildahl, Rand, Ytterboe, Mellby, Hoyme, Larson & Hill-Kitt), Special Constituency Senators (Multicultural, International, Off-Campus & Honor Houses) – Elected in the Fall of the year they serve, Voting Members.

These student leaders work on behalf of the St. Olaf student body and strive to help create an environment of inclusion, positivity and fun for every single Ole.

Senate meets every Tuesday in the David E. Johnson Boardroom at 6:30pm, starting September 23rd! All students are more than welcome to attend.

Minutes

Standing Senate Subcommittees

Standing Senate Subcommittees are entities with a mandate from the Student Senate to be formed every year and enact or investigate a specific task. Their processes are similar from year to year. Membership is required in either a Standing or Yearly Senate Subcommittee in order to be an SGA Senator.

As a long-term standing subcommittee, the Bylaws Subcommittee has a long history of refining and shaping the SGA Bylaws and Policy Manual to better reflect how SGA operates.

The bylaws subcommittee is responsible both for working with senators to refine their proposals before Senate and also to systematically and holistically revise and update the SGA Bylaws throughout the year. Committee members will come to know the bylaws thoroughly. It is recommended that, if you have questions on the SGA Bylaws or Policy Manual, you meet with committee members.

Previous Bylaws Subcommittee Reports:
Bylaws Subcommittee Spring Report 2014

The Internal Affairs Subcommittee investigates how SGA can improve and attempts to answer these questions: What about our structure or our processes needs work? What role can SGA play in enhancing and encouraging the development of student leaders? How can SGA better utilize its senate positions and its branches to serve student needs for programming and advocacy? How is SGA meeting the needs of students? Are students aware of the resources SGA has for them?

There is plenty of room for creativity and initiative to improve SGA, so if there is an issue that needs addressing, bring it to Internal Affairs!

Recent years have brought forth a number of issues worthy of continued discussion on campus embodied in the SGA Internal Affairs Subcommittee Annual Executive Report for 2014-2015 including:
- Making residence hall senators more effective liaisons between their constituents and SGA
- Evaluation of the Inter Hall Council Co-Chair position and their role on Senate
- The implementation of a Religious Senator position on Senate
- Accountability of SGA Stipends and those positions that receive them
- Better student awareness of the SGA Capital Improvements Fund
- Possibly separating the Hillboe and Kittelsby Senator Positions
- Senate Subcommittee Semesterly Reports

The Sustainability Subcommittee has been renewed for an additional year by the 2013-2014 Student Senate in order to continue the project and initiatives it researched during the school year.

Questions raised by the 2013-14 incarnation of the Sustainability Subcommittee were:
What are the pros and cons of adding an environmental branch to SGA?
How can we revise the position of the Environmental Senator to make it a more useful and well-appreciated job?
Is SGA being “green” in the types of events it supports and the way it conducts its business?
What can SGA do to better advocate for sustainability?

Their initial findings can be found in their St. Olaf Environmental Programming Report Fall 2013

The committee also succeeded in passing a referendum of St. Olaf students reading: “We as a student body call for renewed and assertive action towards institutionalized sustainable policies by the administration in partnership with student-led efforts” by 86% of all students who voted.

One Senator  will serve on this campus wide committee, which looks at safety issues on campus. The committee discusses accidents, safety policies, safe work practices and possible remedies.

Yearly Senate Subcommittees

Yearly Senate Subcommittees are formed by the SGA President and Vice President to enact and investigate pieces of their election platform. These can range from specific issues (such as Wellness) or project based (such as Pride Statement). Membership is required in either a Standing or Yearly Senate Subcommittee in order to be an SGA Senator.

Taylor Lipo-Zovic, Chair What are similar colleges doing with their student government? What events are they throwing? Which speakers are they bringing? How are they structured? Do they provide services we don’t? What are there websites like? We encourage you to contact student leaders at peer institutions directly and find out what they are up to. At the end of the semester, we would like to see a report to senate about how St. Olaf SGA can improve and where we are doing well compared to other liberal arts colleges.

Big Questions:

  1. What are the biggest challenges facing liberal arts colleges and their student governments?

  2. What can we learn from other colleges? How can we provide the best experience for students?

Bailey Williams, Chair Last May, SGA Senate voted to approve the new values statement for the college. This new PRIDE statement still has limited visibility and awareness on campus. In November, a week in chapel will be dedicated to discussion of the PRIDE statement and how it relates to life on the Hill. We want this committee to be creative in finding ways to promote this statement and how it can help Oles. This type of promotion will probably involve working with the Pastor’s Office, the Dean of Students Office and other facets of the administration.

While promoting the PRIDE values is certainly important, the values are an aspiration and we don’t always live up to them like we could. We want this subcommittee to talk to students, faculty and staff to find out where our campus community is succeeding at living the PRIDE statement and where there’s room for improvement. Ideally, we would love to have a presentation to Senate at the end of the semester with some initial findings from this committee.

Big Questions:

  • There are plenty of students who don’t engage SGA or the chapel, how can we reach out to them with the PRIDE statement and make it a part of their lives?

  • Which elements of the PRIDE statement are we succeeding in? Which values are we struggling with as a campus community?

  • Who can we draw in to this conversation to make it more resonant with students, faculty and staff?

Ad Hoc Senate Subcommittees

Ad Hoc Senate Subcommittees are formed in response to different campus issues arising throughout the school year. They will primarily draw their membership from Senators interested in addressing the issue and attempting to solve the problem. Their membership is optional.

Documents

SGA Constitution
SGA Bylaws (edited June 2014)
SGA Policy Manual

Forms

Senate Proxy Form
Timothy Cashin Senator of the Year Nominations

Want Senate to Look at Something?

To submit a request to Student Senate as a whole, contact the SGA Vice President. To talk to another senator or a committee chair, select them from the senator list below. Branch coordinators can also be found on their branch’s page on Oleville.com.

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