Student Senate Sets Goals For New Semester

It’s a new year with new resolutions, new campus issues to tackle and new and returning student senators as the Illinois Student Senate prepares itself for the fall semester.

The student governing body of the University, also known as ISS, and its student senators look forward to another school year of work and student involvement in 2011-12. The ISS represents the views of the student population to the administration and the Champaign-Urbana area through events, advocacy and student government. Four executive officers, a student trustee, 54 student senators representing all colleges, interns and executive staff make up ISS.

David Pileski, student body president and one of the four executive officers, said they will continue exactly from where they left off last semester. The first ISS meeting, open to the public, will be Aug. 24 at the Illini Union Pine Lounge. The last meeting of the 2011 spring semester failed to meet quorum, so the items they failed to discuss that time will be discussed.

Pileski said the first meeting “will be fairly short” as the committees, which discuss and create the resolutions later discussed for information and action in the weekly meetings, will not be filled up yet.

“We cannot start any resolutions until we fill up entire committees,” Pileski said.

He does not expect the 84 committee and 12 secretary positions comprising the 12 committees and sub-committees to fill until after the first meeting.

Regardless, Pileski said this year the ISS will continue to emphasize the senator-student relationship. On Quad Day, student senators will hand out free items and accept committee applications at their booth. They will also look for interns to help out. Pileski said interns for ISS “are hands-on with student government from day one and give them experience on senate work that can help them consider whether to run for a senate seat.”

Another major event for ISS will be the second annual address to the student body. The event, to be held Sept. 15, will be a public forum where students can voice their concerns and ask questions to University administration. University president Michael Hogan will be in attendance, as will other administration members.

Pileski said this event is helpful in identifying the main concerns of the students for this school year.

“There are so many different communities here that they all have different concerns they want to hear about,” Pileski said.

While the first ISS meeting figures to get little work done, senators are beginning to get a head start on work. Jim Maskeri, student senator from LAS, has already met with University officials and Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, or CUMTD, discussing the University transportation contracts.

“I’ve been working on a few resolutions that hopefully will see the committees by late August,” Maskeri said. “I’m looking forward to getting back, working on Quad Day, meeting the new senators. It’s going to be a fun year.”

Maskeri and Pileski’s senses of excitement can be felt with the new senators, too.

“Being a senator at the U of I is quite an honor,” said Shao Guo, student senator from DGS.

Guo said he feels confident the new senators, and the returning ones, too, will be ready to contribute and fulfill the ISS mission of representing the student body.

The senate’s weekly general meetings are held every Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Illini Union Pine Lounge.