New ISS president looks to increase funding, student input

Justin Randall, junior in LAS and president of the Illinois Student Senate, poses in his office in the Union on Thursday. Beck Diefenbach

Justin Randall, junior in LAS and president of the Illinois Student Senate, poses in his office in the Union on Thursday. Beck Diefenbach

By Michael Logli

Sitting at his desk in room 255 of the Illini Union, Justin Randall looks at the couch in his office and wonders aloud whether or not he should take a nap before his next meeting.

“I haven’t slept on the couch yet, but I know I will eventually,” Randall said.

As the newly elected president of the Illinois Student Senate, the junior in LAS serves as mediator for the senate meetings and the official voice of the student body.

“I am typically the administrative contact on student issues,” Randall said.

In order to keep in contact with the administration, Randall said he tries to meet with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Renee Romano and Dean of Students Bill Riley at least once a week. He also sends out mass e-mail surveys and helps organize events on the Quad to get student opinions about specific issues.

“I think there are several things we’ve done to help the student body and prevent the gouging of students with fee money,” Randall said.

Randall has been in the senate for three years, but this is his first term as president. One of his biggest goals is increasing the level of student representation in the Urbana-Champaign Senate and their city committees. By doing this, Randall said he believes the students’ voices will be more influential in the University’s decisions.

“Something might dramatically affect students, but students might not have a say,” Randall said.

Randall also lobbies Illinois senators for increases in higher-education funding. On April 25, Randall and other student senators went to Springfield to work with students from other universities and lobby groups to speak with Illinois senators about the importance of higher education funding. Randall said the event was a huge success.

“We worked with senators and other universities to make a point that without funding for higher education the state will stagnate,” Randall said.

Randall said that he is very busy with his duties and that he often goes to 15 to 20 meetings a week. But he makes sure that he is still aware of what is going on with both the senate and the administration.

“By working with legislation and students together, we can create a stronger force in Springfield and protect the student environment,” Randall said.