The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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71st Student Senate elects committee chairs

Photo by Photo by Luke Henkhaus

Karina Wilson was elected chair of the Senate Rules and Regulations Committee.

Five student senators stepped into leadership roles Wednesday night, filling chair positions on the senate’s legislative committees. 
In their new positions, each student will oversee the operations of their committee as they consider legislation and stay on top of relevant campus issues. Wednesday night’s elections brought the 71st session a few steps closer to the full roster of leadership needed for the year ahead. 
Karina Wilson, college of education senator, was elected chair of the Rules and Regulations Committee, which deals with the codes and procedures that guide the activities of the Student Government Association (SGA). This committee holds responsibility for amending the Student Government Code and sometimes recommending changes to university student rules.
Wilson said she hopes to improve communication and understanding within senate and between each branch of student government. She said she also plans to continue ongoing efforts to update and condense the student government code into something more useful and digestible for the SGA of today.
“Two-hundred and forty-five pages is a lot for us to be able to understand and implement, so continuing to shorten and take out redundancy — and times change, so code also has to change,” Wilson said. 
Chairing the senate’s Finance Committee is Mathew Walther, a senator from the Mays Business School Caucus. The committee is tasked with managing and dividing up the senate’s budget as well as researching legislation related to student fees, tuition and SGA finances.
A business honors and finance sophomore, Walther said his education at A&M and his past experience on the finance committee will both serve him well going forward.
“I have finance and accounting experience through my major, I’ve taken a lot of finance and accounting courses, probably more than I care to talk about, and I feel like it’s helped me prepare for this role,” Walther said. 
Off-campus senator Eric Mendoza stepped up as chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee, tasked with representing the interests of Texas A&M students at the state and federal levels of government. 
Mendoza said he hopes to allow more opportunities for the student body to voice their concerns, while maintaining a partnership with his counterpart in the executive branch, the vice president of legislative relations.
“That’s something I saw was really useful this last session between [VP of Legislative Relations Brandon Gindt] and [Legislative Affairs Chair Katina Economides],” Mendoza said. “It was something that had never really been done before. Our committee was the most busy simply by the number of things we did and passed.”
The Student Services Committee is now chaired by Kaylyn Roberts, College of Liberal Arts senator. Roberts will lead the committees research and legislative work related to on-campus services such as dining, transportation and student health.
Roberts said she plans to continue her work to combat sexual assault, while exploring options to improve student access to disability and mental health services.
“One of the biggest things I would love to work on is getting a mental health convention on campus next year in April during mental health awareness week,” Roberts said. “Connecting to the outside resources that work with transportation routes and help you work with your insurance, because that’s something we need.” 
Taking the position of Constituency Affairs Chair was Off-Campus Senator Colton Mandel. His committee focuses on outreach and communication with other student organizations and the student body overall. 
Mandel said one of his goals for the committee will be greater representation within senate for specific student groups such as cultural councils, student athletes, Greek life and veterans.
“We have 3,800 veterans who go to Texas A&M,” Mandel said. “A lot of these people come from different backgrounds, they’re older, they have families, and I really want to see what we can do as a student body to help incorporate them and get them involved in the Aggie family.”
Chair elections for the remaining two legislative committees, community relations and academic affairs, are set to take place at a later meeting, along with confirmations of Student Body President Amy Sharp’s executive cabinet members.

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  • Mathew Walther was elected chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

    Photo by Photo by Luke Henkhaus
  • Eric Mendoza was elected chair of the Senate Legislative Affairs Committee.

    Photo by Photo by Luke Henkhaus
  • Kaylyn Roberts was elected chair of the Senate Student Services Committee.

    Photo by Photo by Luke Henkhaus
  • Colton Mandel was elected chair of the Senate Constituency Affairs Committee.

    Photo by Photo by Luke Henkhaus
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