ISS tries to draw students

By Nick Zombolas

When the Illinois Student Government Assembly was falling apart in the spring, students created the Illinois Student Senate, a combination of the old Illinois Student Government and the Student Senate Caucus.

But to avoid the problems of the previous student government bodies, the ISS will aim to increase student participation and accountability in the group, said Adam Blahnik, senior in LAS and senator for ISS.

Blahnik said the ISS serves as the “official voice of the student body” at the University and works to represent the views and needs of the staff, administration and student body.

“Our two objectives are making policies better for students and making the campus better in other ways,” Blahnik said. “My goal for this year is to focus on budgetary issues.”

Senators in the ISS also represent members of the Urbana-Champaign Student/Faculty Senate. This group mainly works with the policies of the University.

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Membership in the ISS is open to all University students. Currently, only 43 of the 50 senator positions are filled, Blahnik said.

Meetings for the ISS are held Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in the Pine Lounge of the Illini Union. Students are invited to provide input and give their feedback to the work of the ISS.

Students can also visit the ISS office in room 250 of the Illini Union.

For students looking to get involved in ISS, Blahnik said to come to the weekly meetings to see what the ISS is up to.

“Students can actually look to see what we’re up to on our Web site, too,” he said.

David Tewksbury, speech communications professor and resource staff member for the political science department, said the ISS needs to continue to get its message out to the students.

“The hardest thing (for the ISS) will be using a method that will reach the students,” he said. “They might be successful, but there are a lot of messages coming out of students from a lot of different places.”

Tewksbury said organizing and representing all of these ideas will be difficult to do, but he also said he thinks having a group such as the ISS represent the students and administration is an effective idea.

“Consolidating everything into one group is useful and is probably a good idea,” he said. “They need to make sure they represent a wide array of ideas.”

Paul Bradarich, sophomore in LAS, said he has concerns over such a group.

“I don’t know if (the group) will be large enough to get a good representation of the entire campus,” he said.

Bradarich said he would not be a member of a student government unless they handled many issues he had strong opinions about.

Tewksbury said time will tell if the ISS can run an effective student government.

“The group is a good idea. It is to be seen how they will progress,” he said.