Photo of student senate of October 2017 courtesy MainSheet archives
By Sam Albright
At the current moment, the role that Student Senate plays at Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) is unclear. However, this year the senate has plans to undergo major changes in order to rectify that ambiguity.
“It’s a rebuilding year,” said Student Senate Co-Advisor and 4Cs faculty member Arthur Esposito. “We’re intent on revitalizing the senate. We want the body to be responsive to and representative of the student population.”
One topic of discussion at senate meetings will be exactly how the student body is represented. Esposito says that one possibility is that in addition to the typical dedicated elected officials, a member of each student club and organization could also join and act as a representative at senate meetings.
Until recently, one of the senate’s responsibilities was allocating the available funds for student clubs and organizations. However, there was a lack of clarity or rubric on how the senate makes those determinations, as well as potential conflicts of interest, and so that process now no longer goes through the student senate. That will be another big topic of discussion this year when the senate rewrites its constitution, which may need a serious overhaul.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues with the student government thus far has been a lack of participation. Esposito states that the goal is to create “a student governing body that is appropriate for [4Cs] unique population”, but there are currently only two elected members of this governing body: Sam Agger and Caitlin Marrota. Neither student responded to interview inquiries and their current status within the student senate is unknown at this time.
“We’ve been having a hard time engaging the students,” said Esposito. “We really want students to engage with the institution and this should be one of the primary channels for that.”
One of the barriers to engagement is the frequency of senate meetings. Currently, the student senate holds meetings every Monday on campus, but this may be too restrictive for some students who don’t have classes on Mondays or simply can’t get to campus that day. One proposed solution is to switch over to virtual meetings online, allowing students and student senators to meet without having to commute all the way to campus.
If the senate can overcome its current challenges, it should be in a better position to serve the students at 4Cs, while also being inherently useful for those who participate in the student government themselves.
“One of the things we’re really trying to do is to make the student governing body something that students can work into the rest of their lives,” said Esposito.
He notes that in addition to the benefits of the experience itself, student senate participation looks great on a resume for potential employers or when transferring schools.
The student senate is always looking for new members. If interested, contact by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 774.330.4054.