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Official student representation

Student leader feedback group soon to be in session

The prayer chapel in Sickler Hall has reopened after construction through the summer. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

The prayer chapel in Sickler Hall has reopened after construction through the summer. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

By: Emily Rachelle Russell | Echo

A new group of student representatives and leaders called Represent will discuss communication and feedback between administration and students at their first meeting on Monday, Sept. 18.

Represent is focused on being “proactive, not reactive,” according to Student Body President Chin Ai Oh and Vice President Noah Nemni, both seniors. The group consists of Oh, Nemni, the Student Senate, members of Inter-Class Council, members of the Office of Intercultural Programs and the Taylor Student Organization executive cabinet, which is made up of the presidents of each TSO cabinet.

“We want to ensure that our students have a voice,” Oh said.

According to Oh and Nemni, Represent was founded this year by a group of leaders called the Framers. These forerunners are Oh, Nemni, senior Abram Stamper, ICC President and senior Marguerite Riggenbach, Student Senate President and senior Renee Antezana and two OIP representatives to be selected by the existing Framers and Director of Intercultural Programs Felicia Case.

“Represent exists to share stories that promote understanding of the many lenses through which students are looking at different issues,” according to Represent’s mission statement.

Director of Student Programs Steve Austin and previous student body presidents planned for this group, according to Oh and Nemni. Attempts at forming the group fell through last year.

Meetings are private and attended solely by students on an invitation-only basis. The intention is to create a safe, closed environment for small “round table” groups with two hours of structured conversation, with one discussion-facilitating student and one recording student in each group.

One goal of Represent is to empower the Student Senate and increase senators’ visibility on campus. The group consists largely of student-elected officials, including senators and ICC members. Riggenbach, who is also a student senator, wants to see ICC fully take on what it means to be an elected official and realize that being a leader matters.

“Represent is pertinent to students having a voice and having a voice that’s not only present, but is heard,” Riggenbach said. “How do we take people who are elected and make it truly true to its name? Being an elected official — make it mean that you represent the student body, and you represent them to people (who) can do something about what the student body thinks.”

Members of Represent will take the questions and topics brought to them by administrators and talk to other students about them, then take the feedback and ideas they heard back to administration. Students can also bring concerns to their senators, and questions or problems that are bigger than the Student Senate’s scope can be brought forward in Represent. Topics being discussed in Represent that can be publicly shared will be spread through the TSO newsletter, the News of the Day and word of mouth.

For students who wish to find their senators, photos of senators will be put up in dorm lobbies soon, or students can contact Antezana. Students with questions or interest in the Student Senate can also contact Antezana at mariarenee_antezana@taylor.edu.

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