ASCSU senate adds senators, members speak on impetus

Ceci Taylor

The second meeting of the 50th Associated Students of Colorado State University senate began with the swearing-in of new senators and associates.

This included 15 new members sworn into the senate. 

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Student Body President Hannah Taylor then introduced her candidates for ratification, Deputy Director of Graduate Affairs Matthew Saxton and Deputy Director of Graduate Affairs Lindsay Winkenbach. 

Saxton said the counsel is composed of department representatives of graduate students from around the University. He said he and Winkenbach had both been elected as co-presidents by those representatives. 

“I hope to represent, in ASCSU, with heart, passion and leadership and listen to all of your voices.” -Savanah Overturf, ASCSU senator

“There’s a lot of goals that we have for the year,” Saxton said. “One of our goals in the past year was to expand mental health resources for graduate students and we’ve made a lot of progress on that. … As far as overarching goals, we try to make the graduate student counsel a hub for graduate students and we communicate graduate student issues with the administration.” 

Winkenbach said she was excited to have a space to properly advocate for graduate students. 

Saxon and Winkenbach were both ratified on a slate with a vote of 23-0-2. 

The speaker pro tempore elections then began with Senator Savanah Overturf and gallery member Tristan Reyez running for the position.

Overturf talked about her connections in local and state government. Overturf said she works one-on-one with Loveland’s mayor and has worked with county commissioners in Larimer County. She also talked about her experience as an athlete with CSU’s special olympics.

“I am a kind-hearted girl who, yes, is disabled, and this is who I am,” Overturf said. “It can lead to communication struggles but public speaking is not one of those.” 

Overturf said her disabilities don’t make her any less, and she loves to communicate, learn and work with the senate. 

“I hope to represent, in ASCSU, with heart, passion and leadership and listen to all of your voices,” Overturf said. 

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Overturf also expressed that professionalism would be important to her as speaker pro tempore, even though the ASCSU meetings are held over Zoom.

Reyez, who said he has been a part of ASCSU before, talked about his goals for diversity and inclusion as speaker pro tempore. He said he wants to work with various diversity offices on campus to make sure student government reaches all types of students. 

Reyez also said he wants to work more with food security on campus. 

“College students spend so much money on tuition and books, many can’t afford housing and food,” Reyez said. “It’s unacceptable.”

Reyez said he wants ASCSU to show larger support for food pantries. 

When it came to more inclusivity in the senate, Reyez said he wants to highlight the use of pronouns to be more inclusive to everyone. He also said he wants to focus more on respecting cultures and identities and mentioned the use of the Land Acknowledgement at the beginning of every ASCSU meeting. 

“These are some of the most baseline things we can do,” Reyez said. 

Reyez also said that he intends to remain impartial even when he may disagree with something. He said that his experience as a social work major has given him the ability to separate himself from the issue to help the person asking. 

Reyez was selected as speaker pro tempore with a vote of 18-3-5. 

Elections for the position of parliamentarian started after speaker pro tempore was elected. Associate Senator Kevin Clark was the only ASCSU member who ran for the role. 

“I am extremely passionate about student representation and accessibility,” Clark said. “It’s why I became interested in student government.”

Clark spoke about his background growing up in a marginalized community and expressed that he wants ASCSU to be more diverse and accessible in the future.

He said he felt he was ready to take on the role, as he wants to improve the efficiency of Senate sessions and securing the integrity of the vote during online sessions. 

Clark also talked about starting a live stream of ASCSU sessions so CSU students could watch and be more involved in the process. He also said he wanted to help rebuild the ASCSU students to keep more students informed and engaged with the organization. 

“ASCSU has been my only commitment outside of academics,” Clark said. “I’m in a space right now where I can confidently commit myself to the role of parliamentarian.” 

Additionally, Clark said he wants to grow his experience with parliamentary procedure and expand on his knowledge of the basics.

“I’m always trying to gather more inclusion and diversity. I do hold some differing identities, and I want to also learn and understand the identities I don’t hold. I really value that and want to bring that to the table.” Ryan Kropp, ASCSU senator

Clark said he was interested in making a quick guide to parliamentary procedure so everyone can become more educated on the way ASCSU is run. 

With a vote of 23-0-0 Clark was elected as ASCSU parliamentarian.

Elections for recruitment and retention officer began after Clark was chosen for parliamentarian. Overturf, Senators Ryan Kropp, Joslyn Orji and Andy Callas ran for the position.

Callas said ASCSU has made her feel included and important on campus in her first year at CSU. She said she wants to be the person who helps others find the opportunity to get involved with ASCSU. 

“I think that working with people is one of my strong suits and one of my passions,” Callas said. “I think it would be a really great opportunity.” 

Callas said she hopes to use social media and the ASCSU website to help recruit students into the organization. She said that social media is the best way for outreach, as not many students are coming to campus for class. 

Orji said she is running for the position because she is interested in connecting with students who are interested in ASCSU and telling them how they can get involved.

She also said she wants to improve student outreach to the senate and that just because many classes are online, doesn’t mean students shouldn’t get involved. 

Orji said she wants to use tabling and social media to encourage students to reach out to their student representatives and officers so they know what’s happening. 

“I feel like I’m qualified for this role because I’m running on my second year at ASCSU,” Orji said. “In this role I will be able to fully put my potential out there. I’m pretty confident in my ability to communicate with people who have interest in this space.” 

Orji said she works with student outreach and student diversity offices and hopes to improve channels of communication with diversity offices across campus. 

Overturf said that she hopes to be a leader and focus on the community. She said that she wants to focus on inclusion.

She said that her identity as a person with a disability, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and as a Jewish person has allowed her to have a wide range of perspective to achieve this goal. 

“We all make mistakes; it’s okay,” Overturf said. “I want us to know, at ASCSU, it’s how we move forward.” 

Kropp said that, because he works as a peer advisor in the Adult Learner and Veteran Services, he would be good for this role, as he said the two roles are similar. 

“I’m always trying to gather more inclusion and diversity,” Kropp said. “I do hold some differing identities, and I want to also learn and understand the identities I don’t hold. I really value that and want to bring that to the table.” 

Kropp also said he wants to work on the relationships within ASCSU. He said there can be tensions between the senate and the other branches of ASCSU, so he wants to work to solve that. 

“If we’re not happy here, and we feel we can’t voice what’s best, we really can’t make a difference in the community,” Kropp said. 

With a vote of 3-6-9-1, Kropp was elected for the position of recruitment and retention officer. 

After Kropp was elected, the senate began the election of the Budgetary Affairs Committee chair. Senator Gemma Buhaenko was the only person to run for the position.

Buhaenko said she was excited to communicate with the senate if she were to be elected. 

Buhaenko was unanimously elected to be the chair for Budgetary Affairs. 

After Buhaenko was elected, the senate began the election for the Internal Affairs Committee chair. Senator Marlis Hazleton was the only member to run for the position. 

Hazleton talked about her projects of setting up a weekly food pantry to help students with COVID-19-related relief. 

Hazleton was unanimously elected for the position. 

The senate then began the election for the University Affairs Committee chair. Senators Benton Roesler, Kyle Hill and Miles Robinson ran.

Robinson said he wants to fill the position because he has never missed a University Affairs Committee meeting, and he loves the mission and culture surrounding the committee. 

“I want to report on the outreach hours that we’ve logged and really share what experiences we’ve had with different students so we’re really having an intentional dialogue about what students need and what’s important to them,” Robinson said. 

Roesler said he wants to fill the role because he loves talking to people and learning their stories. He said the role is like a dream to him, as it is exactly what he wants to do in the future. 

Roesler also talked about tackling the elitism that comes within science, technology, engineering and math majors and emphasized that social problems can often be a more difficult to understand and tackle than math or science problems. 

Hill said he wants to spread the message that ASCSU is here for CSU students and wants to represent what students advocate for. 

“I want to rebuild the ties between (the Resident Hall Association) and ASCSU,” Hill said. “I’m working on bringing RHA staff to come testify for senate because a lot of resident assistants are worried about how the University is handling the pandemic.” 

Hill said he wants to reassure and help students get through the pandemic safely. He also said he wants to bridge more communication between ASCSU and diversity offices at CSU. 

Hill also talked about his relationship with the owner of the @colostatememes Instagram account and said that is a good resource to find what students want from CSU. 

“Colostatememes connects to thousands of followers on campus,” Hill said. “The person who owns it runs initiatives and petitions for students to sign. … I look at these petitions, and think I can turn these into a resolution or a bill.” 

With a vote of 7-8-3, Roesler was elected as University Affairs Committee chair. 

After Roesler was elected, the election for women’s caucus chair began. Senator Ava McCall was the only person to run for the position. 

McCall said she’s passionate about women and gender advocacy and connecting the women’s caucus and the Women and Gender Advocacy Center.

She said she wants to make sure the senate is as inclusive as possible and to put out legislation to make a safer campus. 

McCall was unanimously elected to be the chair of the women’s caucus. 

With the conclusion of the elections, the new leaders were sworn in. 

Resolution #5001 was then read for the adoption of revised bylaws for the 50th senate.

Christian Dykson, speaker of the senate, said he added a conference committee to get all of the chairs together to combine a report for the senate. 

Dykson also said he added an attendance policy and a three-strike policy for committee meetings and outreach office hours. Senate members must be involved with at least one committee. 

Ceci Taylor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @cecelia_twt.