Senate’s liaison between student government and the student body

Senator Ashley Sukhu serves as Senate’s coordinator for outreach and inclusivity


Photo by Kendall Ruchti

From left to right: senators Paul Solier, Ashley Sukhu, Ryan Bell, Steven Witzeling, Alec Putnam and Nicholas Bursaw at a Student Senate meeting held at 6 p.m. every Monday.

The coordinator position for outreach and inclusivity is one of Student Senate’s most important positions, Student Body President Jake Wrasse said, because it can build bridges between Senate and student organizations.

Senior Ashley Sukhu began serving as the outreach and inclusivity coordinator this semester. In fact, Senate only had the position for two years prior to this.

Sukhu said when appointed to the position she was expected to do what the previous coordinator did, which involved serving on diversity-related committees such as the Biased Incident Response Team. She then had free range to do whatever else she felt was necessary to promote inclusivity on campus.

For example, Sukhu said she attends the weekly meetings of different cultural organizations as often as she can to provide support and hear what they want to be brought forth in higher education. The three organizations Sukhu said she attends most often include the Hmong Studies Association, PRIDE and Student Organization of Latinos and Latinas.

“All three of which I love very much,” Sukhu said. “I love working with students every single day, all the time.”

People have welcomed her at the organizations, Sukhu said, and she has encountered people who want to improve the campus.

Although it requires a lot of time to attend the meetings, it’s something Sukhu said is necessary. She’s also trying to get more involved with Black Student Alliance, Sukhu said, which often overlaps with senate meetings.

Sukhu said she plans to discuss with the Intergovernmental Affairs Commission of Senate on how to best participate and demonstrate concern at the organization’s meetings while still respecting the culture’s safe space.

“That’s a goal of mine,” Sukhu said, “because I want that to be a place where they can have that cultural interaction.”

With the help of her Indian background, Sukhu said she understands how important it is for students to have a place where they can talk and experience together, since there isn’t an Indian association on campus.

“That’s difficult for me because I’ve had very few interactions with Indian students or Indian faculty where I can express feelings and interactions I’ve had,” Sukhu said.

Vice President Jordan Mabin said while he and Wrasse interviewed Sukhu for the position, they exchanged knowing glances because they could tell she would be a perfect fit.

It was evident as soon as Sukhu started talking, Wrasse said.

Mabin said they knew Senate needed to do more to be inclusive of all groups and build a more welcoming campus. But in order to do this, Mabin said, it requires extracting from students exactly what they need instead of making assumptions. He said Sukhu has been able to do this by building relationships at organization meetings.

“When you go there and have a meaningful conversation, that’s when the real work begins,” Mabin said. “Ashley has laid the ground for that.”


In other Senate news

In respect to those who lost their lives in Paris over the weekend, Senate opened their meeting Monday night with a moment of silence.

Senate then passed another student organization this week called Blu $ Gold, which aims to help students save and spend money smartly as well as make students aware of finance literacy.