The president, vice president and senator-elects for the Associated Students of the University of Nevada were sworn in to the 86th session on Wednesday, April 18. Twenty senators, President Hannah Jackson and Vice President Carissa Bradley took the oaths of their respective offices.
Former president and vice president Noah Teixeira and Sebastian Atienza spoke before the swearing in to congratulate the elected ASUN officials and give them some advice. They encouraged the incoming senators to run for committee chairs and speak up during their meetings so they are representing their constituents to the fullest.
Sen. Anthony Martinez from the College of Liberal Arts was nominated by Sen. Zachary Green from the College of Science to the office of Speaker of the Senate. The Speaker runs and oversees the senate. Martinez served as the speaker pro tempore for the 85th session. He said he wanted to maintain integrity throughout the session and help the senators be the best representatives possible. He plans to hold the senators accountable for upholding the duties of their office — including completing outreach hours. He encourages senators to reach out to collaborate with different branches and entities at the university. Martinez was elected by the senate unanimously.
Sens. Green, Andrew McKinney from the College of Liberal Arts and Savannah Hughes from the College of Engineering were nominated by their fellow senators to the office of speaker pro tempore. The speaker pro tempore runs the ASUN internship program and is in charge of the legacy binder. Sen. Hughes said she is qualified for the position because of her experience with creating organizations that help with literacy, and her knowledge of Robert’s Rules of Order — by which the senate abides. She also said she wants to expand the visibility of the internship program. Sen. Green served as an intern for the 85th session, which he said helped him build his skills to be a senator. He said he wants to establish learning outcomes for the internship program to better prepare interns to become part of ASUN. Sen. McKinney said he wanted to improve the retention rate of senators in ASUN while encouraging interns to run for positions. Sen. Hughes was voted in the by the majority of the Senate.
Sens. Nikolas Burton from the College of Business and Blane Merkley from CABNR ran for the position of parliamentarian — which advises and interprets Robert’s Rules of Order. The position is appointed by the speaker of the Senate. Both candidates have experience with the rules from participation in high school, clubs and organizations. Sen. Burton was appointed to parliamentarian.
The Senate selected the chairs of each of the six committees — academics, budget and finance, civic engagement, government operations public affairs and university affairs.
Sens. Hayley Collins from the College of Science and Emily Sewell from the College of Engineering ran for the academics committee chair. Collins said she is qualified because she was an intern for the 85th session, which prepared her for how committee meetings are run and agendized. She is an honors student and was valedictorian of her high school. She said she would advertise undergraduate research opportunities as the chair. Sewell said the difficulty of her major makes her a great candidate for the position. She said she would want to improve university resources, such as tutoring. She would also like to collaborate with the rest of the senate and other university entities to create opportunities for students. Sen. Collins was elected by the senate.
Sen. Hayden Grant from the College of Business was nominated for the budget and finance committee chair. Grant said he wanted to improve the relationship between the Wolf Shop and the student body to improve retail numbers. He also wants to bring the simplified budget back so students can understand how their fees are allocated. Sen. Grant was unanimously elected to the chair position.
Sens. Hannah Hudson from the College of Business and Claudia Feil from the Division of Health Sciences were nominated for the civic engagement committee chair. Both candidates were interns during the 85th session. Sen. Hudson said civic engagement was her passion. She said she would like to motivate, inspire and better the senators on her committee. Sen. Feil said she would create a culture of civic engagement with clubs and organizations, and help recruit students who are not involved in clubs to participate in events. Sen. Feil was elected by the majority of the Senate.
Sens. McKinney and Merkley were nominated for the government operations committee chair. McKinney said he would meet with the departments within ASUN to make sure their duties were correctly stated in the Statutes of the Associated Students. He said he wants to “indulge” himself in the document as much as possible to fully understand the roles and rules of each position and department. Merkley said his experience with updating the bylaws of his fraternity will translate to the position when the committee updates the SAS. He also said he wanted to work with the Attorney General to remain consistent within ASUN. He wants to create a SAS “cheat-sheet” so the students could understand the most important parts of the document. Sen. McKinney was elected by the majority of the Senate.
Sens. Mika Alvarez from the Reynolds School of Journalism and Natasia Mata from the College of Liberal Arts were nominated for the public affairs committee chair. Sen. Alvarez said she is qualified because she has had other leadership roles where she has advocated for students. She wants to expand the K-12 program to include first-generation students, and create more ElectHer type events to encourage students to run for office. Sen. Mata said they wanted to create a space where students can get unbiased information on what legislation is being passed locally and nationally. They also said they wanted to increase voting numbers in an election year. Sen. Alvarez was elected by the majority of the Senate.
Sens. Merkley, Mata, Burton and Troy Clemmons from the College of Science were nominated for the university affairs committee chair. Sen. Merkley said he wanted to strengthen why UNR is the land grant university in Nevada by providing better transportation for prospective students to the university. Sen. Clemmons said he wants to outreach to everyone on campus to get information from everybody in order to make the best decisions possible. Sen. Mata said she would like to incorporate inclusion into the position to give a platform for diverse groups on campus. They would like to implement a diversity training for all freshmen and student employees in ASUN. Sen. Burton said he would be best for the position because of his experiences in leadership roles at the university, and would encourage students to get involved. Sen. Mata was elected by the majority of the Senate.
Madeline Purdue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @madelinepurdue.