By ANGEL CANEZ
When you hear the word “senate,” you probably think of the approaching midterm elections or Washington, D.C.
However, there’s another senate that exists under your nose: the Pima Community College Student Senate.
The Senate consists of 14 elected Pima students. Their goal is to act as a voice for the people and to maximize Pima students’ learning experiences. They act as a bridge from the student body to the school administration to help keep tabs on campus problems.
“We represent the student population, and we always have to keep that in mind when making choices with the board,” said Pima East Student Senator Caitlin Encinas by email.
However, not everybody can run for the Senate. Requirements include attending at least 85 percent of your classes; taking at least six college credit hours while maintaining a GPA at or above a 2.5 for the entire semester; remaining free of any code of conduct violations; and answering four questions in essay form.
Pima holds elections every Spring semester for student senators to represent their campus for the upcoming academic school year. All six campuses elect two representatives as well as Pima Online.
Both senators from each campus remain in contact with each other to find out what goes on at their campus. The senator doesn’t really have an individual role but instead works as a collective unit, tossing around ideas to figure out how to reach out to students and get them to open up about problems that they are facing, such as aiding underprivileged students that attend Pima.
By email “Working in units makes our jobs easier,” said Pima east Student Senator Mohamed Enjai. “The whole purpose of the Senate is to work together to accomplish its set goals.”
The Senate is currently tasked with trying to figure out how to help struggling students at Pima. The idea of setting up a food bank for students to go for help and is being tossed around, as well as a textbook exchange program.
“I want to show people that I want to get involved, that I want to help students,” said 19-year-old nursing major and Pima West Student Senator Halima Shiwoko. “It’s a lot of fun meeting new people and trying to understand what people are trying to do and how you can help them.”
The senate is trying to establish their food bank program at the Desert Vista and West campuses first. With the hope of soon opening one on all campuses.. They are hopeful of keeping the food center open at all hours of the day and accessible after the cafeteria closes.
“We plan on receiving non-perishable donations from the students such as canned food, hygienic supplies as well as pet food,” said 20-year-old liberal arts major and adult education Student Senator and Parliamentarian Haziel Lopez through an email. “Students can anonymously pick these items up at their discretion.”
The Senate chair has recently approved of a student comment box on every campus, that lets students voice their problems anonymously that way Senators can get to know the issues affecting the students.
The Senate by-law requires the Student Senate to be a non-profit program, so it receives funds from the student life program and if need be receive other funds from the Dean of Students.
Unofficially, the Student Senate meets the second Friday every month at the Downtown Campus. And officially at the District Office on 4905 E. Broadway Blvd., every third Friday of the month from 3 to 5 p.m to discuss how they can reach out to the students and improve our community. This meeting is open to the public.