Ohio University’s Student Senate would normally have gone through their elections process to select new leadership for the upcoming academic year during the last week of March. However, since students are not on campus, many members of Student Senate were concerned about having student engagement in the process.
Elections will be held during the upcoming fall semester instead, but it is necessary to have leadership in place until then, so Student Senate adapted the usual process for appointing students to positions in the body, which involves interviewing students for a specific position then putting a resolution forward for the general body to vote on. In this case, only internal students were able to apply as they had already been elected or chosen to be members of the senate body. A few members of the Judicial Panel, which is the body that oversees elections, and the executive whose position was being filled conducted a call with the potential nominee. On April 15, Student Senate voted on Janie Peterson, Danielle Klein and Richard Danylo as interim leadership.
Peterson, who is studying health services administration with minors in business administration and political science, will serve as the president. This will be Peterson’s third year of involvement in the organization, including being a member of the Women’s Affairs Commission and chief of staff of the Leadership Team this past year. “I am excited to continue working with administrators and advocating for students as well as transitioning the newly elected officers in September,” said Peterson. “Student Senate has always been an organization with the sole purpose of advocating for students, and I plan to continue advocating for students during COVID-19. There are so many unknowns with the global pandemic and I want to ensure our voice is heard. We will also be working on having students fill out the Census and are creating an active plan to fund student organizations for next semester.”
Klein, who is studying industrial and systems engineering, will serve as the vice president. She joined Student Senate upon attending the involvement fair during her first year at Ohio University through the Student Senate Intern Program. Klein said she “is excited to take on this interim role to recruit a motivated team of leaders for next year’s senate body, to continue ongoing events and initiatives and to represent the student voice over the next few months.” She feels Student Senate is even more valuable at this time since there are so many decisions being made regarding how to best help and support students.
Danylo, who is studying chemical engineering and computer science with minors in military science and mathematics and plans to attend medical school upon graduation, will be serving as treasurer. Danylo participated in the Student Senate Intern Program as well, but transitioned to a role in the Senate Appropriations Commission early on. “Considering the COVID-19 situation and all outstanding circumstances, an organization like Student Senate can provide critical insight to administrators and act an important voice for students,” said Danylo.
These students are vital to the continuation of the important role Student Senate plays in the OHIO community in giving students a voice in decisions made by the University as well as ensuring opportunities exist for fellow Bobcats. Learn more about Ohio University’s Student Senate and ways to get involved on their website.