If you have ever taken the Wednesday Special or received a package notification e-mail from the post office, you have experienced what the Students? Association Senate does for the student body.

The student activities budget, totaling roughly $750,000, is delegated by the senate to the Students? Association Appropriations Committee, who distribute the funds to a variety of student organizations and activities on campus.

Our responsibilities extend far beyond the realm of money.

Senators are elected by the student body to be a voice to the administration. While that voice may not always yield a successful result, there have been plenty of examples where senate has served the students.

Senate has been involved in dining plan reform and giving advice on student services like the UR Bookstore and library hours. It also pushed for e-mail package notifications.

The creation an electronic voting system and the successful launch of a student Web portal are things we?ve accomplished.

Last week?s editorial in the CT put the senate in an unfair light, stating that the problems with senate were all intrinsic. We can not accomplish anything without the student body supporting us.

That is why we are planning to focus on the visibility of the senate in the coming months. Look for more open forums, more flyers, more opportunities to gather student opinions and a better general knowledge of what we do.

In return, we are asking for the support of the students while we start this new publicity campaign. The combination of a supportive student body and an energetic senate is more influential than either situation alone.

We will do our best to bring the senate to the doorsteps of our constituents and bring any concerns back to the administration. For updates, sign up for the SA e-Newsletter at www.sa.rochester.edu/senate.

We openly invite anyone to our weekly meetings or to contribute ideas and suggestions via e-mail at senate@mail.rochester.edu.

Our meetings are held every Monday at 9:00 p.m. in the Gowen Room of Wilson Commons.

We also have senate committees that could use ideas and suggestions, especially the Student Services and Public Relations committees at saservices@mail.rochester.edu and sapr@mail.rochester.edu respectively.

We are working to build a better senate encourage suggestions throughout the process.

It is important that we have a government body to formulate decisions correctly and to be involved in the process every step of the way. We?re your senate ? working for you.

Van Hooft can be reached at bh006i@mail.rochester.edu.

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