Thirty-seven students voted in the Student Senate election held in the Hunsberger Commons on Oct. 4. Gabe Martinez is now president of the Senate; Javier Reyes is the vice president; Daniel Eash-Scott is serving as vice president of marketing; Jaden Richardson is the liaison to student organizations. All candidates ran unopposed.

Gilberto Pérez Jr., dean of students and faculty co-adviser to the Student Senate, emphasized the importance of listening to student voices. “The Student Senate is really the one who holds those issues [brought forward by students], and then works to advocate on the student’s behalf to administration,” Pérez said. Spencer Castillo, an admissions counselor, is the other co-adviser.

For the Senate this year, Martinez hopes to promote “actual connection between students and administration. … It seems like the administration has just been really pushing back on the student body, on all regards. And I feel like it’s time for students to unify, to come together finally.”

Martinez demurred on specific policy changes he wanted to see, saying that he had opinions “in the past,” but as president, he wants to “understand what the students want before advocating on their behalf. I’m in this position to help others, not myself.”

Eash-Scott, in his role with marketing, said he is “trying to engage students, trying to get the Student Senate to be a little bit more of a playmaker and change-maker on campus.” In relation to the Senate being a voice for students, Eash-Scott said, “I think it’s a good route between students and administration, allowing them to have conversations about what’s important to students in ways that could be productive and actually do something.”

“That’s why we had the elections,” Pérez said. “This year we’re attempting to make it a more real process of an election. We had an interview with the candidates, they had to submit an application, [and] they’ll get hired.”

All Student Senate members interviewed felt uncertain with their roles. Martinez said, “when I applied to this position, I wasn’t really sure what all it entailed. And then even during the interview process, they kept it a little vague, because honestly, they [Pérez and Castillo] don’t really know what they want.”

Reyes expressed a goal of more involvement in the local community. In reference to the recent pop-up vendors market on Sept. 30, Reyes said, “I thought about that, and I was like, well, why don’t we try to reach out to them so we can go out into the community rather than the community coming to us.”

Reyes encourages students to reach out to the local community. “Being a part of a community is a wonderful, beautiful thing,” Reyes said. “It’s something that’s overall beneficial for your mind, your health and to make connections for your future.”

Students are encouraged to communicate with Student Senate members about any issues that they want to see addressed. “There’s no issue too big or too small,” Martinez said. “We only have so much power, but we’ll be … sure to do what we can.”

Eash-Scott and Martinez expressed that they are hopeful. “I’m excited for what’s to come,” Martinez said, “whether that’s good or bad, because change will be coming —­ hopefully for the better.”

With reporting by Caleb Shenk