Illinois Student Senate provides opportunity, voice

Katie Dunne, sophomore in LAS and vice president internal of the Illinois Student Senate, poses at her desk in the Union on Monday. Beck Diefenbach

Katie Dunne, sophomore in LAS and vice president internal of the Illinois Student Senate, poses at her desk in the Union on Monday. Beck Diefenbach

By Michael Logli

When Katie Dunne, sophomore in LAS, is not working at Jimmy John’s or playing ultimate Frisbee, she fulfills her duties as the vice president internal for the Illinois Student Senate.

“I’ve been on ISS for two years now,” Dunne said. “I care a lot about the organization and I want to see as many student issues addressed as possible.”

As the vice president internal, Dunne said she is responsible for maintaining and supervising the committee system.

Each of the 12 standing committees meet weekly, and Dunne speaks with each committee chair regularly and surveys other committee members to make sure committee affairs run smoothly.

She also supervises the ISS ListServ, a server senators use to send e-mail notices and important information to fellow senators and students.

By using the committees, Dunne said she wants to increase student awareness of the senate.

“A lot of students are either unaware that ISS exists or are indifferent to it,” Dunne said. “I’d like students to be aware that we were elected by them to represent them, and that’s what we should be doing.”

Dunne said she first got involved with student senate through their staffer program, which allows students not elected to work with an assigned committee and assist them in their endeavors.

This process got her and others really involved and interested in student government, she said.

“There are so many ways to get involved beyond being a senator,” Dunne said.

Dunne said she encourages other people interested in politics to come speak at the student senate meetings or visit senators during their office hours in the RSO complex in the Illini Union Building. Dunne also said the senate will have their usual stand at Quad Day.

“You can run to be a senator, serve as a committee chair or committee member, or apply to be a staffer,” Dunne said. “We’re capable of affecting a lot of change on campus. It just takes a group of dedicated people who are committed to student representation.”