by Deborah Spooner
You may have heard Kohl on stage, seen Emily and Hunter giving announcements in chapel or watched Ryan in the election’s video showing the “true” high-profile lifestyle. You might still be wondering, however, what student government is really like? What does Student Government actually do? Speaking as a Student Government senator myself, it’s quite simple.
Who are the people?
Thirteen students make up the team, a team spanning from freshmen to seniors and representing many different majors from public relations, accounting and international business to pastoral ministries, marketing and interdisciplinary studies.
What is the structure?
The team is made up two sections: the Executive Council and the Senate. The Executive Council is comprised of the Student Body President (Kohl Hanson), Vice President (Caroline Donaldson), Business Director (Emily Jennings), Communications Director (Milcah Elias), and Director of Student Traditions (Kristina Myankova). The senate is made up of senators on various committees: Hunter Armstrong, Collin Christenberry, Rachel Gasterland, Nathan Runke, Ryan Schultz, Deborah Spooner, Ben Taylor and Sam Viskocil.
What has Student Government done?
Student Government has been active in previous years by interacting with both students and faculty for positive change. This has meant holding forums, meeting with deans, working toward the new washing machines and holding events such as the Student Government Luau.
What is Student Government doing now?
With eight senators each working on various task forces and committees — including technology, public safety, facilities, food services, student faculty relations and spiritual formation — in addition to the executive council’s work, Student Government has many involvements for this year. Two of the biggest initiatives are continuing to pursue developing a new student space and striving toward increasing communication to the student body through increased online presence and promotional videos. Additionally, the team is taking a much more prominent role with large campus-wide events and has already held such events as the State Fair Scavenger Hunt, Grocery Bingo and the Neon Dance.
What’s the message from the team to you?
When asked for one important aspect to share about Student Government, team members have a message to share. Kristina Myankova wants students to know that we are an “open door for innovative change” where students can bring their concerns, questions and ideas. Emily Jennings highlights that we do more than lead students: “We work very closely with … faculty to bridge the connection between faculty and students.” Milcah Elias adds that the team “is here for the students and is genuinely in place to serve the student body. We are here to hear students and represent them.” Hunter Armstrong puts forward his enthusiastic recommendation: “It’s great. You get to meet and make new friends and be involved with some of the behind-the-scenes events that happen on campus … I would highly recommend running for StuGov in the future.” Collin Christenberry asserts: “StuGov is a family that has the privilege to care for the well-being, both immediate and future, of the student body and Northwestern.”
What should you do now?
In the words of Caroline Donaldson: “Come talk to us! We want to hear your opinions.” Our office is located on the first floor of the Billy. It is to the right of the exit doors that are next to the Depot and is located by the FORCE, Leadership Development Program, Local and Global Outreach and Commuter Life offices. We deeply desire to hear your ideas, concerns, questions, suggestions and anything you might want to share with us. Please, reach out to us on our social media pages (Facebook: University of Northwestern Student Government, Instagram and Twitter: @UNWstugov), catch us around campus or stop by our office!
Deborah Spooner is a junior double major in Interdisciplinary Studies (for multimedia communications) and biblical & theological studies. Originally from Rockford, Illinois, you might find Deborah wandering downtown, collecting philosophical books and exploring new idea in quest of knowledge, love of adventure, and desire to change the world.