Illinois Student Senator: Ready to serve my students

The hours spent chalking the quad in the cold, the incredible amount of time consumed strategizing, shaking hands at events, talking to would-be constituents about the future of the University, and jumping through the endless hoops of the Election Commission are OVER! You are a certified senator-elect for the 2010-2011 Illinois Student Senate. Now what?

Well, now the real work begins.

As one of these newly-elected senators, I will be spending the next several months preparing to take the oath of office, joining the ranks of the Student Senate as a representative from the LAS-D delegation. As the elections slowly fade to the back of students’ minds, they might assume that their senator-elects simply stand by the sidelines, counting down the days until their official terms begin… they couldn’t be more wrong! The dust from the campaign trail hadn’t yet settled when I was bombarded with e-mails and texts from senators new and old asking to meet with me about a plethora of campus issues. Indeed, I am certain that these upcoming months will be filled to the brim with correspondence between constituents, senators, administrators and staff, who all have incredibly valuable input.

As the official representatives of the student body, Student Senators are expected to know the issues of their voting units (the majors that comprise their constituencies) and constantly work to resolve those issues in addition to advocating the needs of the campus as a whole. In order to properly address the issues of my constituents, obviously I need to know the issues of my constituents!

I plan on holding office hours in various locations around campus for students to come and talk to me about problems that I might be able to tackle. It will be difficult to publicize these office hours, so I am also hoping to contact the officers of several highly influential academic clubs in order to help spread the word about using me as a potential avenue for the resolution of their qualms.

In addition to the overarching goal of being aware of constituent needs, I feel as though it is crucial to establish ties with other senators; after all, we all will be working with each other for hours upon hours next year! I have meetings set up with five other senators next week in order to discuss current campus issues and our goals for the upcoming year. While it might seem a tad early, senators-elect are already making candidacy announcements for the internal elections that the ISS holds for the student body president and vice presidents — time will need to be devoted to dissecting all of the candidates’ platforms in order to cast the best possible vote on behalf of constituents.

While my grades may suffer, my hair may gray and my health may deteriorate due to the massive amounts of ISS e-mails I shall receive in the coming year, I will thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to help advance the priorities of my fellow students. I urge the student body to contact us — we are your representatives, elected not to pad our resumes, but to help serve you!

Jim Maskeri

Senator Elect, LAS-D