New WSGA administration begins 2016-2017 term

Malcolm Mikkelsen and Nikki Rodriguez lead the first 2016-2017 WSGA senate meeting.

Derek Richardson

With rugged parliamentary procedure and mild laughs, the newly sworn-in senators and a new president and vice president settled into their new positions at the Washburn Student Government Association.

The first senate meeting of the new WSGA administration convened the evening of Wednesday, April 20. In addition to passing the baton of leadership to new blood, agenda items included electing a pro tempore, nominating committee and internal affairs members among others. Those not familiar with parliamentary procedure worked their way through it and laughed off any mistakes.

“Considering for having new senators and having a transition meeting, it went very smoothly,” said Traevor McPherson, newly elected senator. “There might have been confusion, but that’s to be expected.”

Nikki Rodriguez, vice president for the 2016-2017 administration, said she probably should have touched up on procedure before beginning.

“It’s pretty informal,” Rodriguez said. “We’re pretty awkward the first time.”

This is Rodriguez’s first time in elected office. Malcolm Mikkelsen, the new president, was vice president last year, serving with Blake Porter. Additionally, nearly every senator in the room was newly elected for this term and had to be sworn in. While it was a slow start, each began falling into his or her respective roles and the meeting proceeded more slowly.

Likely the biggest item of the night was approving the agenda for the next year. This included items that Mikkelsen and Rodriguez campaigned on. Among them were to make lighting on campus better, simplifying and condensing the WSGA constitution as well as working on getting students open-access textbookselectronic versions of certain books that would be free to students with a fee paid by the university.

“Open-access is a really big goal for us,” Rodriguez said. “It’s something we really want to hit the ground running on.”

Mikkelsen said he hopes to be able to get to all of their goals as well as deal with anything that comes up.