First Senate Commences a Productive Year

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Last Sunday, the ASWC Senate entered its first meeting of the 2015-16 school year to the tune of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” As the music faded out, the formal dress code and prompt start reestablished the importance of the occasion.

To begin, the Executive Council presented a variety of ongoing initiatives, from Arthur Shemitz’s goal of connecting intercultural clubs to Dani Hupper’s push for a bike-share program. The Senior and Junior delegations trumpeted their success at Trivia Night, while the ever-passionate First-Years conveyed their continued interest in working with BonAppétit.

ASWC ratified the Whitman College Green Park Bi-Lingual Program, where Whitman students who speak Spanish mentor Green Park Elementary School students as they learn English. While already quite successful, the club hopes that ASWC recognition will facilitate its ability to collaborate with other on-campus groups and organize community events.

Additionally, the Senate ratified the Whitman Baking Club, which will donate bake sale profits to a variety of charities. Although some senators raised concerns about recognizing such a new club  (Ombudsman Mitchell Cutter commented that he “likes to see a club exist for a semester” before formally approving it), the Senate  ratified Baking Club unanimously.

Club Director Josie Furbershaw introduced this year’s Senator-Club Pairings , which give clubs a direct way to communicate with ASWC.

ASWC provided funding for the editors of Waiilatpu and four members of the Pioneer to attend the ACP’s National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas. Both campus media organizations emphasized the breadth and quality of training provided by the Convention. Waiilatpu co-editor Danica Wilbanks hopes that the workshops in leadership, photography, problem solving and design will help her lead the yearbook’s “large staff of energetic first-years” and improve the general structure of the publication. Marra Clay, publisher of the Pioneer, aims bring ACP back to the Whitman community by hosting all-campus journalism workshops upon her return.

Junior Dennis Young, praised for his exceptional active listening ability, was enthusiastically confirmed as an appointed member of the Nominations Committee. The Senate also confirmed Lily Parker and Conor Scanlon (commended especially for their prior student government experience) as the newest members of the Oversight Committee and Mitch Cutter as Ombudsman, a decision that Senator Tom Howe dubbed “pretty above average.” As Ombudsman, Cutter will liaise between the Executive Council and Senate as well as connect with individual Senators through one-on-ones.

The Senate concluded its official business  by passing Act SAS 15.10, which extends the election voting period from twenty to forty-four hours. Oversight Chair Jon Miranda supported the Act, suggesting that it would increase voter turnout from fifty to sixty-five percent. First-year Senator Shannon Zander, however, expressed concern, claiming that because low turnout results from voter apathy, not time constraints, the act might not improve turnout.

In their closing comments, ASWC members Katie Steen, Emma Bishop, Anya Tudisco, Dani Hupper and Jack Percival expressed joint concern over an incident at an off-campus party  and affirmed their commitment to ensure student safety. A Town Hall meeting addressing these and other issues will be held on October 20th at 7:00 PM in the Reid Coffeehouse.