At 11:41 p.m. on Wednesday night in the Flying A Room, 25 senators took the oath that officially makes them elected representatives. By 11:47 p.m., all five executives had been sworn in on a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order, starting the 68th Associated Student’s Senate meeting.
“I’m feeling super excited for the year to come, you know: optimistic, excited, a little nervous in the best way possible,” said incoming Student Advocate General Jack Tannenbaum minutes before he was sworn in. Several incoming officials shared the sentiment.
“I feel really excited for starting on my projects officially, continuing all the good work that was done this year in the [External Vice President for Statewide Affairs] office,” echoed Kristin Hsu, the new EVPSA. Hsu has spent most of her undergraduate career in the EVPSA office. She was a first year fellow for EVPSA Melvin Singh in the 2014-2015 academic year and chief of staff for former EVPSA Neha Nayak in the 2016-2017 academic year. As a veteran of the office, situated in A.S. Main, Hsu feels that her experience, where she learned from the individuals who passed through the office, will help her better serve the community.
As the 2016-2017 senators and executives left their positions, some departing members had advice and well-wishes for new representatives.
“I’m so excited and happy for them to enter in their new term,” Batsheva Stoll, an outgoing off-campus senator, wrote in a Facebook message to The Bottom Line. “Senate is a wonderful learning experience. In this position you will gain a greater understanding about how to work with different types of people and communities.”
Stoll, a two-year senate veteran who became the External Vice President for Local Affairs for the 2017-2018 academic year, has advice for the students filling positions like hers. Senators should listen to their constituents and peers before talking, she said, and “try to truly understand what those around you are saying before you respond.”
Outgoing A.S. executive President Austin Hechler, Internal Vice President Natalie Jordan, EVPLA Ashcon Minoiefar, EVPSA Nayak, and SAG Josephine Ampaw echoed Stoll’s sentiment at the senate meeting.
“Cherish your disagreements and don’t hold them against people personally,” Hechler said.
“In the long term you’re here to help the students,” Nayak said. “That’s why you ran, that’s why you’ve been at all this. That’s what you always need to keep in hindsight.”
Other advice went beyond the confines of the Flying A Room. At the beginning of the double-header meeting, Jordan and A.S. Executive Director Marisela Marquez introduced Pauline Venieris, a new Counseling & Psychological Services liaison dedicated to working with A.S. elected representatives in the future. The efforts to remind students that they are still students first came from both staff and outgoing A.S. representatives.
“Most importantly though, take care of yourself,” Stoll said. “At the end of the day you’re a student too.”
“Our health comes first — mental, emotional, physical,” outgoing Student Advocate General Josephine Ampaw reinforced at the meeting.
Senators and executives alike are already planning for the future. The elected representatives promised grand projects and initiatives, which they promoted through their campaign platforms last month. With ambitious projects like refining GauchoLink, extending the class drop deadline, and increasing street lighting in Isla Vista, new Senators and executives have to get moving if they want to stick to their promises.
“It’s really awesome that I’m having this opportunity to finally be sworn in as a senator,” said Adnan Mansur, one of the representatives from the off-campus constituency.