Elections for the University of Dallas Student Senate took place this past week, thus completing the election cycle for the 2015-16 school year.
This year’s residence hall representatives are as follows: Alex Santillan (Madonna), Angelo Novello (Theresa), Claire Beckley (O’Connell), Fredy Gonzalez (Augustine), Michelle Le (Gregory), Clare Slattery (Jerome), Christian Villegas (West Hall 1st Floor), Tori Fleharty (West Hall 2nd Floor), Michael Fazi (West Hall 3rd Floor), Nicole Adams (West Hall 4th Floor), Joey White (Seminary) and Clare Ruedi (Commuter).
Currently, no student representative has been selected for the student apartments.
The freshman class representatives are Gabriela Sanchez, Mo O’Toole, Beatrice Diaz and Keenan Flynn.
Representing the sophomore class are William Scudder, Kaitlin Casanova, Judy Sommer and Lili Serna.
Karmina Martinez Ruiz, Rachel Parkey, Mike Woodrum and Emily Collins will represent the junior class.
Finally, the senior class representatives are Joe Dougherty, Tricia Bernardo, Jenna Sommer and Nick McCabe.
The Senate is comprised of undergraduate students at every level of the university. It forms one component of UD’s three-branch system of government, which has been part of the university since it was established.
“[Senators] are dedicated to enhancing the quality of student life by promoting both the academic and social traditions of the university,” the student government mission statement says.
An executive council, led by Student Body President Joey Kelly, oversees all Student Government activity. The council includes the president, vice president of the senate, director of student programming, secretary and treasurer.
Student Programming at the University of Dallas (SPUD) assists the council in organizing hallmark events, such as Mallapalooza and weekly TGITs.
Senate elections occur in the fall during the first few weeks of the semester, unlike SPUD and executive council elections, which occur in the spring.
The elections begin in the residence halls. Each dorm holds an election during its first hall meeting, with each of West Hall’s four floors holding its own election.
After giving brief and often impromptu speeches, candidates are voted into office by dorm residents on the spot.
These residence hall representatives are responsible for attending Senate meetings and advocating for the interests of their respective halls.
Additionally, each class is represented by four senators. This process is more thorough than that of the residence hall elections.
Before students can run for representative positions, they must gather the signatures of at least 15 undergraduates eligible to vote in the election, to ensure they have reasonable support. These elections occur online over a few days.
Here, campus-wide campaigning occurs. It is not uncommon to find a large name written in chalk while strolling down the mall or walking into Haggar. Friends will often lobby for candidates on Facebook, and emails are sent out to every UD student to encouraging participation.
Polls were live on Crusader Connect this year from Sept. 1-4.