The first senate meeting of the term saw no legislation as the new Student Body President Andy Hurtig, senior in accounting, and Vice President Joe Tinker, junior in psychology, were sworn in along with the new student senate. Senators also elected the new Speaker and Speaker Pro Tempore for the 2015-2016 term.
Kurt Lockwood, senior in agricultural economics, was selected as the Speaker of the Senate. Lockwood served as the Speaker Pro Tempore in the previous year and chaired the Student Affairs Committee and Diversity Programming Committee. Lockwood’s platforms included developing stronger teamwork between the Speaker and Speaker Pro Tempore, streamlined minutes, further development of mentoring programs and revamping the education process for new and returning senators.
“I believe what we’re doing is great, but I believe we can do better and we can do more,” Lockwood said. “If we desire to grow our outreach, we have to be educated and informed. One promise I can make is how passionate I would be serving as the next Speaker of the Senate.”
Lockwood ran against Drew Unruh, junior in finance, who was the previous chair of privilege fee committee.
“I think it’s important to be able to communicate with everyone as the Speaker,” Unruh said. “I feel like I can take the skills I’ve learned as a chair of a standing committee on to being a co-chair of the Tuition and Fees Strategies Committee.”
Jessica Van Ranken, sophomore in political science, was selected as the Speaker Pro Tempore of the senate.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of different organizations at K-State but my top priority has always been SGA,” Van Ranken said.
Van Ranken ran against Wyatt Pracht, sophomore in agricultural economics, and Stephen Kucera, senior in applied music.
“I want to be that resource for the different representatives or students to get involved,” Kucera said. “I feel very comfortable defining my legacy by this position.”
Matt DeCapo, graduate in geography, spoke to senators on behalf of Students for Environmental Action about Earth Day, which will take place this year on April 22. He encouraged senators to respect the earth and be aware of where their water comes from and where their waste is going.
“There’s still a lot of beauty in the planet to appreciate,” DeCapo said. “There are still a lot of issues that we’re handed down to us but we can fix them.”
The organization received funding for projects from the Green Action Fund through SGA. They have implemented more recycling bins, staple-free staples, a recycling center garden and more bike parking.