It seems that the Associated Students of Linfield College presidential and vice presidential candidates have included bolstering Senate effectiveness in their campaign platforms for many years. We at the Review ask this year’s candidates to look at Senate sustainability as well as effectiveness.
Student leadership positions have high turnover rates simply because students move on from year to year. This is obviously a roadblock for any long-term (more than one year) Senate projects. And turnover that occurs from semester to semester is even more halting. Such was the case this spring, as senior Katie Kann stepped down from her position as Campus Improvement Committee chair and junior Wesley Allegre stepped down from Campus Liaison Committee chair.
Senators, especially those who occupy leadership positions such as the above, who leave before their term is over, disrupt the dynamics of Senate as a whole and the organizations they represent. Looking at Senate as a semester-to-semester or year-to-year body diminishes the organization’s effectiveness.
For instance, when Duncan Reid, ’10, graduated, systems could have been in place to follow up on the Observatory survey and complete that project.
Undertakings such as this often take more than one year to complete. Time must be allotted for research, proposal drafting, proposal submission and project advocacy.
When Senate begins long-term projects, it needs to finish them. To simply drop such projects when a new year begins is unfair to students who were expecting and hoping for change. We believe the ASLC presidential and vice presidential candidates need to address how Senate projects can be carried across the years to completion.
Senate has made improvements in the way it functions, such as with the committee restructuring that took effect in the fall, but it cannot achieve true efficiency unless it looks at how to operate without restarting each fall.
Senate is not just a club for students who want to enhance their résumés. It’s a representative body that should serve students in the most dedicated way possible. It should comprise students who want to make a mark on Linfield in the long term not just in one year.
We would like to see Senators invest more energy in long-term projects even if they can’t be completed in one academic year.
For example, we know that planning and advocating for a student center will easily take more than a year, but this does not mean we should simply let the issue die.
Senate should be viewed as a strategic body of students who want to improve Linfield even after they graduate. We at the Review hope this year’s ASLC presidential and vice presidential candidates agree and strive to make it so.
-The Review Editorial Board