Editorial: Initiatives for next year’s Student Senate

There is always a long to-do list for Hudson Valley’s Student Senate. The process of transitioning to new leadership every year and constantly planning events can make it difficult to develop and act on new initiatives.

However, if those that win the election this week are proactive in planning and start getting organized early in the summer, the Student Senate can accomplish a lot in the next year. Some of the things that the new senate should consider doing are:

  1. Post the student activities budget and minutes from every meeting on the college’s website.

This is a simple change that will improve transparency for the student government. All of these documents are already public and many colleges do post these materials online, including SUNY Albany.

  1. Improve club collaboration on campus.

The all-club meetings was a great initiative from this semester and continuing to grow this program can make a big difference on campus. Next year’s senate should make it a high priority to gather contacts of all club leaders early in the semester and continue to bring clubs together.

  1. Improve community outreach.

Hudson Valley’s Student Senate should maintain a relationship with other local college student governments and work together with them when appropriate. By reaching out to other colleges early next year, next year’s leadership can set a precedent of collaboration in the Capital Region and creating a more connected regional student body.

In addition to other colleges, the senate can also try to build relationships with local high schools to encourage graduating students to become the next generation of Hudson Valley leaders.

On campus, community outreach can improve by continuing to build a social media presence and having senators canvass the campus regularly to talk to as many students as possible and learn what they want from their representatives.

  1. Find a way to fight against overpriced textbooks.

This is a difficult battle to wage and real wins would be hard to come by because many things that involved in textbooks are out of the senate’s control, including college academic policy and federal financial aid. It is also a major source of revenue for the FSA, which means the interests of students conflict with those who are in charge of the system in place to some extent.

However, it should be abundantly clear to the FSA and the college from the beginning of the year that the price of books are unreasonable and that students are against it. This battle is also being fought at the state level through the student assembly. Full new editions every year are unnecessary, and students shouldn’t be backed into the corner of overpaying for a book that they could get for half the price elsewhere because they have to pay with financial aid.

  1. Prioritize making Hudson Valley more sustainable.

Next year’s senate should consider spending a large portion of the senior class gift on renewable energy, like solar panels, for the college. If over the course of a few years every class adds to a renewable energy portfolio on campus, Hudson Valley can quickly become one of the greenest schools in the state.

In addition to new energy sources, the Student Senate should work to make sure that waste on campus is minimized and an attempt is made to use local resources wherever possible.

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