Updated: July 3, 2021 at 2:40 p.m.
The Student Association Senate elected four new graduate senators during a meeting Monday, leaving nine vacant seats left to fill this fall.
The SA filled vacancies in two graduate College of Professional Studies seats, one graduate seat for the Elliot School of International Affairs and one at-large seat for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, which represents graduate and doctorate students. With this week’s confirmations, the senate has now filled five of 14 seats that were vacant going into this summer, and the SA opened the second round of applications for the nine remaining at-large vacancies last week in hopes of assembling a full senate by the start of the academic year.
Last month, the senate opened the first round of applications for the 14 vacancies, which included 12 graduate positions, before converting nine school-specific graduate seats to at-large at a meeting earlier this month to encourage more students to apply for vacant senator positions.
The senate voted to confirm rising first-year graduates Art Driscoll-Miller and Kai Simson as senators for the College of Professional Studies. Driscoll-Miller will serve on the finance, graduate education, diversity and inclusion and sustainability committees, and Simson will serve on the graduate education and student life committees.
“I would love the opportunity to assist in any issues the senate decides,” Driscoll-Miller said. “I do find food insecurity on campus to be of interest to me as affordable quality food is necessary to go into physical and mental health, as well as equal opportunity for student organizations to receive funding.”
The senate confirmed rising second-year graduate Cherisse Heirs as the at-large senator for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and she will serve on the graduate student life, diversity and inclusion and the sustainability committees. Heirs said she hopes to use the skills that she has learned from experience at medical laboratories to develop proposals that could benefit the student body, like sponsoring surveys to start eco-friendly initiatives.
Senators voted to confirm rising second-year graduate Reed Hirshman as the senator for the Elliott School of International Affairs. He will serve on the finance, graduate education and sustainability committees.
Hirshman said his experience as an adviser to two student body presidents at the University of Arizona as an undergraduate will help him advocate for both undergraduate and graduate students within the SA.
“I came to GW last fall in search of new connections, new knowledge and new opportunities,” Hirshman said. “And although I haven’t set foot inside of the Elliott School building yet, I feel a desire to make the lives of students the best it can possibly be.”
Seven graduate at-large seats and two general at-large seats remain vacant and open for application through July 26. The senate reached a record high number of 21 graduate senator applications to fill five vacancies last October.
Senators also established a special finance reform committee at the meeting to enhance the SA’s financial processes for fund allocations, increase transparency and reevaluate the SA fee that every student pays alongside their tuition bill. Sen. Yan Xu, ESIA-U and the sponsor of the bill, said he hopes this committee will streamline financial processes and reduce boundaries for receiving funds from the SA through collaboration with administrative offices and feedback from students.
The senate unanimously approved more than 20 students to serve in the SA executive cabinet, including secretaries for undergraduate and graduate student life, treasurers and communications directors. Senators switched the titles of vice presidents in the cabinet to secretaries at the first senate meeting of the summer earlier this month.
The senate will take the rest of the summer off without any further meetings and will convene again once the school year begins in August to confirm the rest of the vacant positions and pass new pieces of legislation.