Who makes up the Senate?

The main problem with SG is that most students don't even know who is representing them. Before proceeding any further, students should know one thing. Since SG elections are held twice a year, during the Fall and Spring semesters, they vote to elect two different types of senators. During Fall elections, students vote for senators who will represent their living districts. This means someone who lives where you live; a dorm, a sorority of fraternity house, apartment complex or house. However, during the Spring, students select senators who will represent the college they are apart of; or, if you're a freshman or sophomore, senators who will represent your whole class. The number of senators elected for each college or living district is based upon the amount of students enrolled in the college or living in the district.

What does the Senate do?

Senate President and Senate Pro-Temp during a meeting

Senate President Audrey Goldman conducting a Senate meeting

Senators main responsibilities lie in distributing out funds to student organizations and voting on legislation. There are several types of legislation that can be passed. Resolutions take a stance on an issue but take no real action. That means if you're upset about a teacher being fired or don't like a decision the City government made you can write a resolution stating that. A bill is a piece of legislation that will take action. Senators recently collaborated in a multi-partisan effort to pass a bill requiring SG lobbyists to submit written reports four times a year to keep them accountable. An amendment is legislation that would change either the bill or resolution. If you're still confused by all these crazy terms, check out the page that goes over Senate terminology.

What's a meeting like?

Senate meetings take place every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in room 282 of the Reitz Union. Anyone is allowed to stop by to see what's going on. Of course, bills and resolutions differ from week to week, but for the most part every Senate meeting follows the same schedule. It always starts off with public debate. Public debate is the time where senators, students, or guest speakers can address the Senate with concerns or opinions they have. Anyone can talk during public debate. Since you only get a minute to speak, if what you have to say is really important you can have senators yield their time to you. Once public debate ends, the chairmen and chairwomen of the six Senate committees give reports on what the committees' decided or accomplished over the week. Then, after committee reports, legislation is finally heard. The senators presenting the legislation give a brief description and answer non-debatable technical questions for five minutes before any senator is allowed to oppose or support the bill, resolution or amendment. An example of a non-debatable technical question is asking for a statistic or where senators got their information from. Once this is over, senators can participate in pro-con debate. This is where they can oppose or support the bill and try to get other senators to join their side. Once pro-con debate is finished senators vote on the legislation. Depending on how many bills are presented and how controversial they are affects how long a Senate meeting will be, but they generally last until 10:30 or 11 p.m.