USG Update: Senators Fill Vacated Seats

The Undergraduate Student Government’s Senate meeting. / Ryan Schwach

The Undergraduate Student Government senate held its routine meeting Tuesday Oct. 15 during common hours and addressed normal business, including future events and committee reports. Also, the Senate passed a resolution expelling a member from Senate meetings and appointing two new members after seven members have resigned since the election on top of this week’s expulsion. 

The USG Senate, which was previously the Student Assembly under CLAS, acts as the legislative body for the government, and does much of what any legislative body does including voting on issues and resolutions, organizing events, and keeping the executive branch in check. “It’s also a training ground,” said Ethan Milich, who provides over the senate as USG Vice President, explaining how the Senate is often the gateway into executive positions. 

Last May, the student body elected 20 students to the USG Senate, which went down to 13 after seven chose to abdicate their positions for various unknown reasons. (All of the resigned members were unavailable for comment before press time) Although, Milich sees this as an opportunity to increase student government participation by bringing new people into its ranks “I want to bring awareness and activism to student government,” he said. 

Before today’s meeting the senate had nominated and confirmed seven new members to the Senate and at Tuesday’s meeting added two more into the fold, bringing the new total to 22 members, still three short of the max number of 25, which Milich hopes to rectify. 

The Undergraduate Student Government’s Senate meeting. / Ryan Schwach

Among the newly appointed Senators is Brandon Silver, a sophomore pre-med student who addressed the body briefly before being confirmed. Silver heard about the seat vacancies USG as trying to fill from Senator Devorah Shifrin, who currently sits in the rules and ethics committee, but at the time “Didn’t know much about it [USG].” He later decided to join the senate, with some goals in mind such as implementing more food options for students dealing with allergies on campus (Silver himself is allergic to gluten and dairy), as well as working on the Library’s open hours and making sure it is always a quiet place for students to work. “We should enjoy being here. Ee are here for a long time,” he said. 

Apart from the member expulsions and confirmations the USG Senate discussed other internal business including a series of workshops for members on how to operate within the body taught by other members such as workshops on drafting legislation, funding clubs, and planning events. 

USG is gearing for the Fall Fest at the end of the month, Finals and Chill (Which will feature puppy therapy), and also the new initiative meant to increase outreach where students are asked to take pictures with USG members wearing their government shirts for a chance to win tickets to a New York Jets game.