Welcome to the First-Year Senate

First-year student senators Gabi Sanchez and Grayson Massey will represent first-year students for the 2015–2016 academic year.   photos by Catherine Blakemore

First-year student senators Gabi Sanchez and Grayson Massey will represent first-year students for the 2015–2016 academic year.   photos by Catherine Blakemore

Grayson Massey and Gabi Sanchez are the new senators representing the class of 2019’s first-year students.

The vote was close, but they each took the election by almost 30 percent. Massey received 46 votes, which is 29 percent of all who voted, and Sanchez received 41 votes, which is 26 percent of all who voted.

Sanchez and Massey both participated in student government in high school, and they said they felt running for First-Year Senate would help them get involved in college.

Massey was the student-body president at his high school in Vernal, Utah. He said it was a natural extension to get involved in student government at Westminster.

First-year student senator and International Business major Gabi Sanchez hopes to help increase racial and religious equality at Westminster

First-year student senator and International Business major Gabi Sanchez hopes to help increase racial and religious equality at Westminster

“I want to help make the first-year class one of the best classes at Westminster,” Massey said. “I want to make a difference on campus.”

Sanchez echoed this idea.

“[I’m] passionate about advocating and making sure minority students have equal opportunities,” Sanchez said.

She went on to say that she wants everyone to be treated equally, no matter what race or religion.

In addition to making a difference on campus and advocating for equality, Massey and Sanchez said they want to learn a lot and find new ways to get involved.

Massey, specifically, said he hopes to develop personal connections with all of his classmates.

“That’s what the purpose of the Senate is,” Massey said. “It’s to bring different groups, clubs and cliques together.”

Student government can help bring students together within the Senate. But outside of it, not many students are participating in the election. Out of 475 students in the first-year class, only 159 (33 percent) voted.

Jacob Gronberg, senior English major, said he thinks students are only voting because they have friends running.

“[The election] is more of a popularity contest instead of an opportunity for students to get involved,” Gronberg said.

  First-year student senator and International Business major Grayson Massey's platform was "Be the change; just do it."

  First-year student senator and International Business major Grayson Massey's platform was "Be the change; just do it."

According to Gronberg, having a debate between the candidates could combat this issue. It may allow students to learn about each candidate’s platform, and it would hopefully help students get involved in the election and voting.

Daisy Cassidy, first-year animation major, also ran for Senate. She noticed the lack of participation, as well.

“Students didn’t know [about voting] because they didn’t check their emails,” Cassidy said.

First-year student elections are over for this year, but next year could be different. Increasing election time, adding in a debate and actively working to get students to vote could change next year's election. Students can participate by casting a vote and taking an interest in student government in the coming Westminster elections.