By Keelan Tollinger
For a few minutes, six well-dressed individuals were just part of the audience inside the William Walker Room as the first Student Senate meeting of the fall semester came to order. Moments later, the students took a brief oath of office led by President Jason Keller and filled a row of vacant seats, positioning themselves as the newest representatives of the York College of Pennsylvania student body.
The freshman initiates got right to work, participating in the unanimous decision to establish the performance group Enharmonix as an official club. Next they learned of the development status of York College’s LiveSafe security app. At the close of the meeting, many congratulations were offered to them.
It was a busy day, but all the new members seemed excited to be a part of Student Senate.
Darryl Andreas, a computer information systems major, said, “I came from a small high school, I used to be the quiet kid.”
Since then, he has launched himself into events all around the college, particularly loving his new Campus Activities Board membership. This is his first role in student government and is also a fresh start for him as a student.
Jessica Yardley had been interested in helping a student body all her life, and decided to run with the support of her friends. “I’m going to break out of my shell,” Yardley said.
During the process of learning the ins and outs of the position, she mentioned how supportive the upperclassmen were.
Yardley carries a sense humility into her position. “It’s a good thing to be proud, but we’re not privileged.”
Biology major Zachary Snier held varying student government responsibilities throughout his previous academic career, including class president. Now he aims to establish a positive connection between York College and the city itself, as well as addressing any individual concerns. “Even if I can’t help somebody, I can at least do my best to guide them to the right place,” Snier said,
While Emily Anderson is relatively new to being a student leader, her brother Michael is a sophomore representative, and she credits him for making her feel like part of the group already.
“Being unbiased is important,” she said about the values she wants to uphold with her position. “Even if you know somebody, you have to take a step back and disconnect yourself.”
Maura Gallant plans to make sure of fair representation from what she’s experienced on her high school Student Council.
“I’ve been interested in sort of the sideline politics,” she said, referring to her major in international relations. “I want to make it fun and get everybody involved.” She expects to often be involved on campus due to her activities in Rock-Climbing and Improv Club.
Each Senator specifically stressed their approachability and openness to suggestions from the college population, including Allison Lilly, who is excited to be standing for all of the voices.
“I’m a public relations major, so communication is really the key,” Lilly said.
Like every member of the 31-student team, Lilly wants to be a familiar face around campus to turn to. “Even if it’s just to say hi,” she added.
All of the young leaders are looking to throw in new ideas to influence the college and beyond. “To be an effective leader, you have to be willing to listen and be honest,” said Andreas.
“It’s all about building trust,” said Snier. “We’re here to make the college experience as best as possible.”
If there is one thing that unites such a diverse selection of students, it is possibly what they don’t have yet: a memorization of the spartan spirit check they’ve heard hollered around since Freshmen Orientation over a month ago. They all admit while laughing that getting down the series of the claps and whoops is just one of the tasks they hope to accomplish during their spartan career.
The Student Senate conducts open, public meetings at 5 p.m. every Tuesday in the student union’s William Walker Room.