Senate By-election: What You Need to Know

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Hannah Sesink
At-Large Senator
Tue, 03/12/2019 - 10:15

Written by Hannah Sesink, At-Large Student Senator

So you’ve probably heard of the Senate by-elections currently underway, but you’ve also probably wondered “what does this mean” or “why should I care." What is Senate, anyway?

My name is Hannah and I am finishing up my degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies here at Waterloo. I currently sit on the University’s Senate as an Undergraduate At-Large representative and I’m excited to take this opportunity to give you a brief break down of what the University’s Senate is and why you should vote for your undergraduate at-large representative in this by-election.

My Senate term started in May 2018 as your undergraduate at-large representative.

Hannah Sesink

I wanted to be an advocate for students and ensure that the decisions being made were in the best interest of students, both current and future.

The most memorable decision made during my term would have to be the approval of a four-day Fall Break following its three-year pilot!

One of my favourite parts of being on Senate are all the really amazing leaders you get to meet and the research or teaching presentations at each Senate meeting. People from across campus will come and present on what they’re doing in their department or what research they’re working on. 

Not only has Senate been an awesome opportunity to learn the ins and outs of academic decision-making on campus, it’s been a great way to learn about the work being done across campus and network with people who truly care about student success.

Now that I’ve told you a bit about my experience, let’s get into what Senate is and why you should care!

What is Senate and what does it do?

The Senate is a large decision-making body made up of representatives from across campus, many of whom hold important positions, such as the Deans of each faculty and the President of the University who chairs the Senate (this just means he’s in charge and runs the meetings!).

The remaining members are representatives from faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and governors, as well as a number of ex-officio members such as the Vice-Presidents and Presidents from affiliated colleges.

The Senate makes decisions regarding all things academic such as granting degrees or setting program requirements. The Senate also makes big decisions that impact all students, such as Fall Reading Break.

What does it mean to be a student senator?

As a student senator, it is your responsibility to advocate for and be the voice of the undergraduate student body. The decision-makers of the University will be looking to you for the student perspective!

Undergraduate students hold only nine seats on the Senate (6 faculty reps, 2 at-large, and the president of Feds), so it’s important to be a strong advocate for students. Student senators should be asking critical questions and providing input on important issues such as Fall Reading Break and program initiatives.

Why should I vote?

It’s important to have undergraduate representatives on Senate who represent the views and best interests of you and your fellow students! By voting, you get to choose who represents your voice and opinions. Your vote should be for the person who you think will best represent you as an undergrad and will be a professional face for the student body.

Voting for the Senate by-election takes place on March 18-20! Be sure to visit on these dates to vote for your next undergraduate at-large representative!