Despite common complaints, student senate far from a waste of money

To argue that the Illinois Student Senate has done nothing this year but promote itself is incorrect. 

While we could rebuff the DI’s Monday editorial through arguments such as the fact that the “$500 on pizza” was for a thank-you event for our dedicated interns, instead we’d like to state that the ISS serves a purpose and, despite what is said, is doing its best to meet the needs of the student body.

Most of what we have done has gone unnoticed. We avoided a possible split from the graduate delegation through committee reconstruction. We also passed resolutions supporting a grade-replacement policy for transfer credit, asked for the creation of a comprehensive integrity statement and co-sponsored a well-attended debate between the College Democrats and Republicans. 

In November, ISS passed a resolution urging the University to divest from coal, an issue at the University for quite some time. In December, we asked the Illini Media Company to release their budget to promote transparency because students may be paying a fee to a private company. Furthermore, we investigated changes in the Civic Leadership Program. 

Just last month, we established the iRent Program and rented out free iClickers to students, saving them about $8,000. We passed a resolution urging the University to remain “carry-free” due to the proposed firearm changes in Illinois, and we’re also planning on co-sponsoring Project Illini Women, a leadership event for women on campus. 

Finally, last week, we passed legislation asking that we forever be the Fighting Illini, an issue that has been on this campus since the removal of the Chief.

In response to the money we’ve spent on promotion, the Senate needs to advertise. Many students, despite our efforts, still don’t know who we are or how we can help them. Promotion is an important part to any organization’s success. How can we be expected to fulfill our duty to the students and be their voice if we receive criticism every time we outreach?

Although some senators may disagree with our spending, they are hypocritical in doing so. The same senators mocking our efforts actively participate in the Senate’s work. 

The opinions of a few members don’t represent the views of the entire Senate. Every organization is going to have a select few that do not agree with the way the organization is running. 

Almost every RSO spends money on food and drinks to increase attendance at their events; the senate is no different. Although the Senate is funded indirectly by student fees, this does not mean that we should be prohibited from allocating funding to increase attendance at our events. The events that we host and co-sponsor are beneficial, such as the College Democrats and Republicans debate. 

We’re constantly told we are a pointless organization, that we waste money and only promote ourselves. However, despite criticism, our members are eliminating the negative connotation that comes with student government and are doing their best to represent students.

Rest assured, we will continue to be the voice of our constituents and welcome anyone to attend our Wednesday meetings to voice their concerns. 

Remember, elections are coming up, so if you want to directly change this organization, the power is in your hands.

Melissa España, 

director of communications and sophomore in Media

Shao-Hai Guo,

vice president-internal and junior in ACES