After two years as one of Associated Student Government’s health sciences senator, Samantha Gaasch returned for her third year in the position. As a criminal justice major with a forensics minor, Gaasch’s biology and chemistry classes put her in contact with many of her constituents in this department. This year, she also has a work study in the health sciences building, which involves prepping and cleaning up for the nursing clinicals, as well as working the front desk. Between class and her work study, Gaasch said she’s in the building every day.
But, in addition to representing constituents in that department, Gaasch also serves as the senate leader.
Gaasch ran for and was elected to this position at the first meeting of the year, when she submitted her name to President Ben Linzey as a candidate. The senate chose her for the position, which mainly involves being the liaison between the legislative and executive branches of ASG.
As one of the more experienced members on ASG, Gaasch is also a valuable resource for the many new senators elected for the 2017-2018 academic year. While Gaasch participates in normal senate discussion and has many of the duties of a regular senator, her experience and her position as senate leader allow her to contribute even more to ASG.
If senators don’t feel comfortable approaching president Ben Linzey or any of the other executives with a question or request, Gaasch can discuss the topic with them on behalf of the senator. In past years, the position of senate leader was especially important because of a divide between executive and legislative representatives.
“It’s not so much of a gap this year,” Gaasch said, “because everyone really gets along.”
Some of the change in ASG may come from their new senators, of which there are a greater number than usual. Gaasch said in past years, ASG usually has more returning senators, but the newly elected ones have been passionate and unafraid to ask questions.
“They do really seem to want to get out there and represent everyone,” she said.
Gaasch’s goals as a returning senator echo those of Linzey, Gile and Flores discussed in past weeks. Like these representatives, Gaasch wants ASG to continue to be more visible to the students. She said she was first elected to ASG when less students knew what the group was.
Now, she thinks Linzey and vice president Gabby Gile have been present at more events and more visible on campus than past student governments have been.
One of the changes Gaasch specifically highlighted was the addition of town hall meetings for clubs and constituents that ASG will be hosting.
“We’re trying to really connect with each individual club, get every senator connected directly […] so that they know that we’re here,” Gaasch said.
For Gaasch, helping ASG become more accessible to students is important. The town halls will hopefully provide an easy and comfortable avenue for clubs and constituents to approach their representatives.
In response to the town halls and her goals for them, Gaasch said, “If they see a problem on campus, they can email a friend.”