Student Government troubleshoots confusion with senators

Emily Echevarria, Government Reporter

This year’s fall elections will be uncontested, meaning that all individuals who ran for election won their seats. Further, Student Government has noticed a high turnover rate in senators and certain confusion among new members.

It’s understandable, of course, that someone would feel confused or uneasy when starting a new job. To promote a learning-friendly and inclusive environment among senators new and old, Student Government is implementing a series of training programs.

During Senate meetings throughout the semester, Treasurer Kenny Smith has been providing mini-training sessions on financial topics pertinent to Student Government, such as the Activity and Service Fee. On Oct. 19, he talked about the Supreme Court case of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth, a case that established that universities are allowed to charge an activities fee as a part of tuition. At UNF, the activity fee is $10.18 per credit hour and goes towards services like the Student Union, Student Government, and other programs. 

To provide further help and training for senators, the Constitution and Statutes Committee plans training sessions throughout the year for senators to educate them on the committee structure, the formal and informal duties of a senator, and other topics that would aid them in working in government. 

Most recently, Government Oversight Chair Kristen Ballard developed a mentorship program to pair new senators with experienced ones to help ease their transition during their first semester in office. This program will include biweekly meetings between mentors and mentees and will go over topics like the budget process, Roberts Rules of Order, and more. 

This program used to exist within Student Government, but was not entirely successful. Ballard wanted to bring the it back, and so she revised the old program and met with former GO Chairs to discuss what went wrong. She then spent several months working with her committee to develop a plan to re-implement the program, and it was introduced in Senate on Oct. 18.

This mentorship program, along with the various training sessions provided throughout the semester, work to make Student Government a place for students to learn and grow as they serve the student body. These initiatives aim to make senators more knowledgeable and capable leaders, while making the environment more welcoming to newcomers and hopefully encouraging more students to sign up for elections. 


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