Since interest in student government positions varies each academic year, some positions go unfilled after traditional elections have concluded.
Of the 22 senator positions, two are reserved for graduate students and two are reserved for freshmen. Freshmen are elected in the fall semester of the next academic year.
Annual elections for student government are held each spring semester. Interested students may apply to be elected by the student body or appointed to one of the senator positions available.
Currently, the vacant positions include one senator for the School of Business, one senator for the School of Nursing, one senator for the College of Arts and Sciences - Arts and Communication and two freshman senators.
The senator position for the College of Arts and Sciences must be filled by a student with at least one of the following majors: mass communications, applied communication studies, English language and literature, foreign language and literature, music, theater and dance or art and design.
Matt Butler, vice president of Student Government and a senior biological sciences major from Alton, Illinois, attributes the variance in involvement to conflicting class schedules amongst interested students.
“Interest in the positions changes every year,” Butler said. “We do the best we can to advertise and encourage students at SIUE to get involved with Student Government. The reason for three vacancies [not including the freshmen senators] is due to scheduling changes that will not allow those senators to be present at the Student Senate Meetings.”
While there has been no immediate changes to the constitution, the organization has prepared a response in the event of a senator position remaining unfilled, according to Butler.
“The positions most generally don’t sit unfilled,” Butler said. “If that were to happen, the responsibility would be distributed evenly among the existing senators.”
Overall, the senators are responsible for many tasks within the legislative branch of student government.
“In a sense, the job is to serve as a liaison between the students of SIUE and the administration of SIUE, as well as promote the betterment of each individual school. This is why the senators are divided among schools — it allows for more direct and individualized support,” Butler said. “In addition, we vote on the ethical allotment of student fee dollars for the use of student organizations based on the Student Government Funding Manual and policy changes presented by the university administration.”
The senators are held to a set of standards and must fulfill certain requirements as a part of their positions.
“It also requires that they attend the scheduled senate meetings, serve on both a university committee and a Student Government committee, serve at least three office hours in the Student Government office and attend three events — one Student Government, one university and one cultural,” Butler said.
According to research conducted through the National Center for Education Statistics, student engagement in extracurricular activities may be a predictor of future academic and professional success.
Students involved in extracurricular activities reported increased class attendance, were three times as likely to obtain a 3.0 GPA or higher upon graduation, were more likely to pursue higher education and performed higher on composite testing.
The students also reported having an increased sense of attachment to their school and a decreased likelihood of class failure or dropping out.
Student Government secretary and senior ecology, evolution and environment major Magalene Price, of Alton, Illinois, has achieved some of the benefits previously mentioned.
“I like my school a lot more because of my involvement in Student Government,” Price said. “I think it’s benefited my academic performance because of the space for higher learning.”
Marketing and communications officer and graduate applied communication student Ashley Cameron, of Wood River, Illinois, also looks fondly upon her experiences in Student Government.
“During my undergraduate career, I found my recipe for success was a good balance of academic affairs and student affairs,” Cameron said. “I want to carry that into my graduate school experience.”
Cameron went on to describe how she feels empowered by her position in Student Government to advocate for students.
“I have loved SIUE in every step of my experience because of the resources we have here,” Cameron said. “I consider student affairs to be a big part of my experience. I have a place to do something for the everyday student. I believe in the cause of advocating for students.”
Thus, the availability of and involvement in extracurricular activities, including Student Government, could be instrumental for the academic and professional success of students.
Students interested in the available positions can apply through Get Involved by following the instructions here: https://www.siue.edu/kimmel/sg/.