45th SGA Senate will begin Thursday
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 09:10
Now that election results have been announced, the Student Government Association is looking forward to the start of the 45th Senate come Thursday.
The Black and Gold ticket and the Dedicated and Willing Nation of Knights ticket both ran for Senate this year. There were 45 representatives on the Black and Gold ticket, of whom 40 were elected, and there were 18 representatives from the DAWN of Knights ticket, which had five of its members earn Senate seats.
Of the 58 seats available on the 45th Senate, eight are currently vacant; by the end of the 44th Senate’s term, 35 seats were vacant and all nine seats in the College of Graduate Studies were vacant.
SGA President Cortez Whatley said senators are responsible for meeting the needs of their assigned Registered Student Organizations, meeting with the dean of the college they represent and meeting the needs of and advocating for their constituents.
Enrollment figures are used to determine how many representatives there are for each college within Senate. For every 1,000 students in a particular college, there is one Senate seat, Whatley said.
For students who want their voices heard in Senate, Whatley said the best thing to do is to get involved.
“The best way is to obviously get involved … the next best thing is to connect with your senator from that college to be able to have that person as your spokesperson, so that the ideas that you have and your friends have or you get from your classes; you’re able to have somebody you can talk to on a pretty frequent basis and to be able to have that line of communication,” Whatley said.
Elections for the 45th Senate were held Monday through Wednesday and students were able to vote on myUCF.
SGA Supervisor of Elections Kim DuBois said that compared with last year, about 1,000 more students voted in elections this year — a 20 percent increase — for a total of 5,659 voters.
DuBois said the elections commission had a tent set up in front of the Student Union so potential voters could stop by and get information on the candidates from an unbiased source; senatorial candidates were not allowed within 15 feet of the tent.
DuBois said she is pleased with the increased voter turnout and she is excited to see what the 45th Senate has in store.
“I think it’ll be a very interesting year. I think they [the 45th Senate] have a lot of new people on board that will hopefully bring a lot of great things to the table. It seemed like everyone was really excited about it, so I’m really excited to see what they can do,” DuBois said.
She said students who wanted more information on the candidates could have attended one of the information sessions held before elections, visited the SGA website or stopped by one of the tents outside the Student Union.
Elena Applebaum, a senior international and global studies major, said she did not vote in elections and she doesn’t believe the information on the candidates was readily available.
“I kind of just forgot [to vote]; I also didn’t really know anything about the candidates,” she said. “I think most people just vote because somebody gives them something as they walk by or if they know somebody running.”
Junior creative writing major Rebecca Rodriguez also didn’t vote in elections but said the information on candidates probably would have been easy to obtain.
“I just didn’t really have the time [to vote],” she said.
During the 44th Senate, which had its last meeting on Sept. 27, 88 bills were passed and $574,200 was allocated to different RSOs and events.
While Whatley was running for SGA president in March, he said the 44th was “one of the worst Senates” in the history of UCF’s student government.
“I think that it’s come a long way since that point in the year, so I think they were able to shape up pretty nicely ending the term and then, like I said, I’m really excited for the 45th to come in and see the changes and the things they want to take away from the 44th and bring on to the 45th, as well as do differently from the 44th.”
SGA Senate meetings are held 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Thursday in the Student Union Key West Ballroom. These meetings are open to the public and a live blog is available at CentralFloridaFuture.com.