Sippin’ with the Senate: a look into what Student Senate is

The Academic Senate hosted Sippin’ with the Senate in front of the Gardner Center March 27. The Senate’s goal is to help students with any fees that can occur with their academic-related trips or events, including study abroad programs. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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The Utah Tech Student Association’s Student Senate is the connection between students, professors and faculty. 

On March 27 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. outside the Gardner building, members from the senate hosted Sippin’ with the Senate, a pop-up event for students to stop by and grab a drink while meeting the senate members. 

Sippin’ with the Senate featured drinks like Capri Sun, lemonade, Mountain Dew and a QR code with a survey that resulted in a voucher to get a free Splash drink.

The Student Senate, a part of the academics branch in UTSA, is composed of student representatives from the seven major academic colleges at Utah Tech. Each representative is a member of the college they represent. 

George Wells, a senior music performance major from St. George, is the Student Senator for the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“So with the senator position being a five-hour position a week, I luckily have enough time to do a lot of my other school work as well as this,” Wells said.

Wells, like the other student senators, assists with funding for academic endeavors. Wells fills out the funding applications and relays the information back to students.

Wells said: “Our first [goal of the event] is pretty much just to get word out about the senate and to help people know there is an academic senate on campus that can help people with trips or things that come to an expense outside of their student fees… We also need a little bit more information about the students on different topics that are super important to us.”

Student senators help students receive funding for capstone projects, research and conferences. They also are available for students to present any concerns or suggestions within their college. 

If students don’t want to discuss improvements with their professors, student senators can take those concerns or suggestions and relay them to the college deans, whom senators meet with monthly. Senators help the deans understand issues that students are facing.

Biological and physical sciences senator, Anna Green, a junior biology major from St. George, said: “So, if there are any concerns about classes or about the professors themselves, [students] come and talk to us. It’s less scary and we help them through that process.”

Her favorite aspect of being a student senator is the time she gets to spend with her fellow student senators in their weekly meetings. 

“I like that we just get to be together, and then we do little senate date nights that are once a month so that’s fun,” Green said. “We all just get to hang out, and then I feel like I’m more involved on campus because I know when events are…” 

Addison Steinert, a senior respiratory therapy major from St. George, is the administrative assistant of the academic branch in UTSA. 

In her role as administration assistant, Steinert completes paperwork, schedules and agenda reminders for the student senators. She completes office work and helps set up for academic events like Sippin’ with the Senate. Steinert is in a medical program at Utah Tech but still wants to be involved in a leadership role. 

“I think if you want to be involved but you work a lot or you’re in a med program, I think it’s a great position to be [in] because it’s not super stressful,” Steinert said.

One of the main goals of Sippin’ with the Senate was to bring awareness to who the Senate is and what they do.  

“We always say it’s the middle child of UTSA, it is forgotten about a lot,” Steinert said. “I think more because it’s educational and not as fun and exciting, but also, we are at a college and so education is the primary goal.” 

Steinert said they wanted to see students walking to and from classes at Sippin’ with the Senate. That way students could see who the student senators are and what they do. The event was an easy way to talk to students walking around, and who doesn’t like free drinks? 

“[Senate is] the backbone of support for your educational goals,” Steinert said. “We want what’s best for you, and we want to help as much as we can. That’s what we’re here for.”