By Chiho Lai/ Student Senate Chair

This quarter has been a very exciting one in student government. My name is Chiho Lai, your Session VI A.S. Senate Chair, and I’m very excited to write the first Senate Report for the A.S. Review. The Student Senate is a part of the Associated Students government which serves as a representation of the more than 12,000 students of Western Washington University. The Student Senate is comprised of 13 Senators representing all classes freshman through graduate, and at large. As a representative body of your concerns, issues and suggestions, the Senate is charged with increasing student voice at all levels of the decision making process at Western. The Senate addresses a wide range of issues from Rec Center policy to tuition to transportation issues.

This quarter the Student Senate has been very busy. This is the first year in which the A.S. Senate Chair will be a paid position; a step which I believe will increase the Senate’s effectiveness and visibility. The Senate has been discussing a number of issues that impact students throughout campus. This quarter, the Senate passed a recommendation for WWU to become an affiliate of the Worker’s Rights Consortium, a similar resolution was also passed by the Board of Directors, reaffirming Western’s commitment to the humane treatment of labor worldwide. Additionally, the Student Senate has also been reviewing a number of transportation related issues, one of which is the evaluation of the longboarding and skateboarding ban. We have received much student feedback about the issue and the Senators will use that to guide their decisions and action.

Every month the Student Senate puts on a new Issue of the Month to gather student input on issues that are coming up. This quarter we gathered some very valuable feedback from students concerning recycling on campus. As a result of the suggestions sent by students, the Senate has been working with the A.S. Recycling Center to make sure that those comments are represented. We are also reviewing longboarding and skateboarding policies this month and we encourage students to become a part of that discussion. The Senate takes the feedback from the Issue of the Month and uses it to guide our decisions and direction.

This year the Senate plans to increase its visibility, a step towards the ultimate goal and mission to increase student voices at Western. The Senate will be reviewing a number of issues of concern as they come up throughout the course of the year. In the following months, the Senate will be heavily involved in transportation issues, as well as working to improve recycling awareness on campus, and, most of all, bringing student concerns to the administration.

As this year’s Senate Chair, I would like to invite any students with comments or concerns to drop by my office in Viking Union 527, or to visit our website at www.wwu.edu/~ssenate. The Student Senators represent you, and I encourage all students to communicate with their Senators. Students are welcome to comment on current issues or raise issues of their own to be considered by the Senate. We look forward to serving you this year.