By Jonathan Smith, Managing Editor
Almost 30 members of the newly elected Student Congress listened to a portion of executive president Layne Rouse’s plan for the future as well as a speech from graduating senior Taylor Hemness in its first meeting of the new administration and final one of the year.
Rouse said he has considered and will continue to determine “how we can seek to empower you as a Congress to serve the students better.”
He announced the administrative officers next year’s, which are appointed by the executive officers. Rep. Jeremy Gudgel, McKinzie Hall, will be chief financial officer; Rep. Elizabeth Alvarez, Administration Building, will be chief development officer; and Susanne Drehsel, ISA liaison, will be chief communication officer.
Rouse also announced a weeklong training session for new Congress members in the fall.
“The idea of it comes from the fact that every year you have a high turnover every single year in Congress,” Rouse said after the meeting. “The success and failure of Congress obviously depends upon its members and how well they’re able to move through the important aspects of a meeting, how well they’re able to grab a hold of their job.”
The training session as Rouse said he envisioned it, would begin the third week of school after elections for freshman senators and residence hall and building representatives. He said he did not think he would require new members to attend but would heavily stress the importance of the training.
The week will include sessions on parliamentary procedure, the budget and many other aspects of being on Congress.
“Hopefully they’ll be more equipped to jump into the process than they would if you just laid it on them,” Rouse said.
Also during the meeting, Rouse announced Chris Lemmons, junior computer science major from Tucson, Ariz., will be brought before Congress for appointment to one of the four vacant senior senator positions when Congress meets again in the fall.
Hemness took advantage of the opportunity for graduating seniors to give a speech to the new Congress.
He said Congress members should not be ashamed of being on SA for four years even if people are negative toward Congress.
“Every time you think a negative thought, think of your first Congress meeting,” Hemness said. “Think about the reason you joined up and picked up that petition in the first place. It will help.”
Hemness concluded with a parting piece of advice:
“Don’t be afraid of controversy,” he said, referring to the ability to stay friends with other Congress members regardless of disagreements during a meeting. “That’s what SA thrives on in a way-disagreement.”