Senate transitions for fall

The final Student Senate meeting of the school year waved goodbye to the senate and executive team of old and welcomed in the senators of new sharing final words, thanks and advice.

In remembering his two years of involvement, Governmental Affairs Shane Gerbert cited 27,214.2 miles of travel and 67 trips due to his position.

“I started this position two years ago as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed gentleman,” he said. “I had a simple vision: to be the voice for the students in places where it was needed, not heard well, or at all, as well as be proactive at finding solutions to fixing it.”

Gerbert said he found his success through teamwork and encouraged new senators to work together, “I hope those miles meant something,” he said.

Former President Logan Fletcher reflected on the past and encouraged new senators to do their homework and challenge one another.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity all of you will have next year,” he said. “In your positions, you are exposed to a lot of information that gives you a unique perspective. Represent your constituents but don’t be afraid to use that information for the best of the student body.”

Fletcher and former Vice President Eric Watne praised the work of standing committee chairpersons of University Program Council and the Student Organization Funding Agency.

“You have two standing committees who do phenomenal work for Student Government,” Watne said. He reflected on his three years of involvement which he said is an experience he can’t take back and encouraged the students to respect Student Government.

“This is an opportunity you will look back on and say I am so happy I did this,” he said. “You should come into these meetings with a certain amount of respect. You are a professional organization, make sure you act like it.”

Watne concluded saying both he and Fletcher would be available in the future to assist senators and executives if needed.

Sen. Jacob Gapp too offered his future help as he left the Senate on Sunday, “Don’t be afraid to reach out to us old folks, we have a long standing strong dedication with this organizations and don’t be afraid to utilize that.”

In his five years of involvement, Gapp helped create the Student Organization Funding Agency and wrote much of its constitution and served as its chairperson. In Senate, time, he has served as Parliamentarian on the Senate and chaired subcommittees while also serving positions at the state level for the North Dakota Student  Association. In reflection, he said he values the relationships he has developed.

“Do not let what happens in the Senate chamber affect what happen with relationships outside this room,” he said. “These are some of the most driven students.”

Outgoing Sen. Jake Osterman said it is important to get involved within the Senate position.

“If you are feeling bored this summer, parli-pro books are nice, and do a little research on what’s been done in the past,” he said. “I love my UND Student Senate and I’m going to miss it.”

Several senators will serve another year and provide experience for the 2013 – 2014 year.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” said returning Sen. Adam Swigost. “You need to speak up for your constituency and don’t be afraid.

Sen. Sean McClain, also returning, agreed with the importance of representing constituents.
“You are here to represent people other than yourself and you need to keep their interest at stake,” he said.

Returning Sen. Alan Oberg encouraged senators to always inform constituents despite feedback, “five out of 1,000 is a good response,” he said. Finding new ways to talk to constituents is essential he said.

The last item of business for the old Senate was to approve the new executive team. The following students were approved: Freshman Matthew Kopp was approved for Chief of Staff, Senior Abi Nadeau was approved for Treasurer, Freshman Joe Kalka was approved for Public Relations, Junior John Mitzel was approved for State Governmental Affairs, and Junior Ross Lien was approved for Local Governmental Affairs.

Next, the 2012 – 2013 senators left their seats and the 2013 – 2014 senators replaced them. The first item of business was to elect new members for positions specific to meetings. Sen. Oberg was selected for Senate Pro Tempore, Sen. Johnson was selected for Parliamentarian, and Sen. Derek Labrie was selected for Sergeant-At-Arms.

New senators were placed in three subcommittees and chairpersons were selected. Sen. Brian Tschosik will chair the Judicial subcommittee, Sen. Brett Johnson will chair the Appropriations subcommittee and Sen. Alan Oberg will chair the State and Local subcommittee.

This was the last senate meeting of the school year and will resume again in Fall 2013.