Seton Hall University’s Student Government Association (SGA) has seven new senators.
Some were sworn in as recently as Feb. 3 and all are looking forward to their new position in the SGA.
When asked about the number of openings for senators this semester, SGA Vice President Mark Francis Mabalatan said, “It’s not unusual for Senate seats to be vacated following winter break or any time during the year for that matter…One of the reasons senators vacate their seats is because they find that the work of SGA is too much to balance with their other obligations.
“Being that we are all students first and with all these other aspects of our student identity, it is not unreasonable for a senator to want to lighten their workload.”
But the new senators are eager to start their work. New senator Molly Cleary, a freshman diplomacy and international relations major, said she was “ecstatic about this new position and the good I can do for the Seton Hall community with it.” She was sworn in on Jan. 27, 2020.
Cleary said, as an at-large senator, “my goals going forward are increasing student-village relations, increasing communications between DSS and students, and ensuring students feel SGA is accessible to all students. I hope to achieve a better dialogue between students, those who represent them, and administration.”
Justin Andre Avendaño, a freshman physics major and senator sworn in on Jan. 27, said, “I love my new position” and that as a representative of the School of Arts and Science, his goals are “very pragmatic and solid,” such as “to fix the WIFI on campus.”
Sarah Adam, a sophomore in the 4+2 elementary special education and speech-language pathology program and one of the two senators to be sworn in on Feb. 3, 2020, said, “I hope to achieve efficient communication and serve the college and my sub-committee.” She described herself as “excited” and “passionate” about her new role in the SGA.
The other senator sworn in on Feb. 3 was junior business undecided/pre-med major Kevin Suresh. Suresh said, “as a senator at-large, I represent all students at Seton Hall, and will be working on fixing some of the wider issues that affect students across all schools of the university.”
Suresh said that he would like to address ongoing SGA initiatives as well as provide some of his own, such as a remedy for “the lack of group study space available, especially around the time of exams. I hope to be able to get access for students to more rooms, so that students don’t have to go through situations like being in the 50th spot on a 6-hour waitlist for a group study room in the library.”
While the new senators are looking forward to their roles within the SGA, Mabalatan said, “with that being said, senators may not find that SGA is a good fit for them. This can come in the form of the work we do not being their interest or that disagreement on what that work should be, both things that can be expected in any organization.”
This comes soon after the resignation of five SGA senators earlier this year. These five former-senators cited disagreements within the SGA as their reason for their resignations.
One potential solution for these disagreements is the SGA Culture Task Force. Mabalatan said to The Setonian.
“The SGA Culture Task Force is a crucial step in improving our organization,” Mabalatan said. “It would be remiss of any organization to forgo the opportunity to reflect upon itself and see how it can improve. SGA has its fair share of growing pains and the worst thing we could do to ourselves is ignore them. The Culture Task Force is a concerted effort to identify what hinders us from being our most productive selves and to center us back on our mission.”
Marie Louise Leone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.