Student Senate

Calls for senators and legislation

Maddie Kasper

More stories from Maddie Kasper


The Student Senate meeting began at 6:01 p.m. on Monday.

President Rossellin Gaitán said a group of senators will be going on a lobbying trip on Wednesday, Feb. 22 to Madison, Wisconsin, with other student governments in the UW System.

Gaitán said they will be attending the Madison lobbying day with senators Matthew Lehner, Mei Bean, Brenna Strojinc, Jake Hicks, Ben Hurley and Patrick Hill.

“It’s really cool, especially for people who have never lobbied before,” Gaitán said. “I feel it’s a very unique experience — so especially with that many people — I think the energy will be very high and I’m very excited.”

Gaitán said the student governments will be meeting with Democratic and Republican representatives, Gov. Tony Evers and the fiscal team. The group of senators from UW-Eau Claire will also be meeting with representatives Jeff Smith and Jodi Emerson about funding for mental health resources and the new science and health sciences building.

“We just need more funding overall,” Gaitán said. “In Gov. Ever’s State of the State Address, he talked about mental health, but I don’t think he really mentioned UW at all. So we want to make sure we are not being left out of the conversation, because we really need it.”

Vice President Brett Farmer said he will be attending the Chippewa Valley Rally on Wednesday, Feb. 22 with Senate Personnel Director Anakah Denison and Student Office of Sustainability commission Senate Director Sydney McGuine.

Farmer said the Chippewa Valley Rally is organized by the Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley and Menomonie chambers of commerce and is focused on networking with state legislators and local community and business leaders.

“The biggest thing they are advocating for this year is the science and health sciences building, so we thought we absolutely needed some representation from the student body of UW-Eau Claire,” Farmer said.

Intergovernmental Affairs commission Director Hannah Kelly said the League of Women Voters will be tabling from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 in Davies Student Center to raise awareness about the Wisconsin Supreme Court election on the 2023 spring primary ballot.

Director Joseph Dokken said the Information Technology commission is working on funding technology initiatives on campus. The commission will be accepting initiative proposals through the end of February and will decide during the first week of March how to use the $50,000.

“Our $50,000 that we have in our initiatives budget line will be spent based on the projects that the ITC commission feels benefits students in the most broad sense and impacts the most students,” Dokken said.

McGuine said the Student Sustainability Resource Center is now fully open in Davies.

Director Zach Jacobson said the University Activities commission will be hosting events throughout the week for the Winter Carnival, including The 502s concert at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16 in the Ojibwe Ballroom.

Senators Twyla Alix, Tristan Weasler, Austin Lallak and Breanna Renslo resigned.

Farmer said there are 15 senator vacancies and this will be the last round of vacancy appointments for the 66th session. Interested students can apply on Blugold Connect+ until Friday, Feb. 17.

Gaitán said the high number of vacancies can be attributed to the changing schedules at the start of the semester and vacancies not previously being filled.

“Student advocacy and any sort of work in that sort of genre can get kind of tiring, and I think people are — and for good reason — prioritizing themselves,” Gaitán said. “I just think people are at different places as to where they want to take things on and we’re just lucky to have the people that we do.”

Monday’s meeting was the third meeting in a row to not have new legislation introduced.

“When you think about it, that’s a whole week that we could be using to write legislation, to address things and work on projects. I want to make sure that we’re using our time wisely,” Gaitán said.

Gaitán also said legislation can be used to document what is happening at a point in time.

Bean said local non-profit Fierce Freedom will be hosting A Night of Freedom and Hope from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 3 at the River Prairie Center. Proceeds will go to Fierce Freedom’s work to end human trafficking and exploitation through educational programming.

Hill said The Fire Ball, a Gender & Sexuality Resource Center fundraiser with drag performances, will be held on Feb. 24 and 25 in the Ojibwe Ballroom.

The senate adjourned at 6:40 p.m. and will reconvene at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20 in the Dakota Ballroom.

Kasper can be reached at [email protected]