Senate confirms new freshman senators

The Student Association Senate welcomed three new freshman senators at its meeting Monday night.

Ryan Melcher, Kai Neander and Chase Hardin – all enrolled in the Elliott School of International Affairs – were selected from a pool of 50 applicants this year.

The three students were selected by a leadership committee, headed by President Pro Tempore Bradley Dlatt. The chairs and vice chairs of each standing committee helped choose the top candidates after hours of interviews earlier this month.

In past years, the SA Rules Committee screened the freshman senators, who were then voted on by the entire Senate. That committee was disbanded in October 2010.

Melcher, Neander and Hardin will serve on the finance, student life and academic affairs committees, respectively.

Freshman senators do not have voting rights because they are not elected by the freshman class, but the new representatives are not dispirited by their limited roles in the Senate.

Melcher, chosen for the SA Finance Committee, said, “There’s no better way to serve my freshman class than being the freshman senator.”

One of his ideas includes expanding student organization outreach.

“I know I can represent a lot of different interests, not just an accounting perspective,” he added.

Neander, a member of the SA Student Life Committee, said being a senator “is the best way to make a concrete impact on the school and the school community and get to know people. Those are all my priorities here at GW.”

As a member of the academic affairs committee, Hardin hopes to streamline the inefficiency of the University’s disjointed Internet services such as Blackboard, e-mail and financial aid.

While they cannot vote on legislation, the three senators are eager to help craft policy in committees.

“We can still be here and ask questions and challenge positions. We go into the meetings and represent what we think are issues that the freshman class cares about. The vote comes from our advocacy to the other senators,” Neander said.

The Senate also confirmed Michael Amesquita, a first year student in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, as a graduate representative.

Amesquita graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2006, where he served as the student body senate president for two years.

The new senator said he hopes to work with the University as it develops the “sense of community” among graduate students on campus. Amesquita also participates in a graduate student focus group and hopes to act as a liaison between the groups.

Three voting positions remain open in the Senate, all reserved for graduate students, along with two additional non-voting graduate student slots.

Student Association President said it is a coincidence that the three senators are all male and from the Elliott School.

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