Student Federation chose Kaitlin Makuski as the new junior independent representative last week, after the former representative resigned.
Student Fed has an attendance policy that allows four missed meetings. After junior independent Rep. Quinn Myers missed four meetings, the officers asked him whether or not he was able to continue with the federation.
“I wanted to pick up a few more hours at my job, meaning I would miss out on even more Student Fed meetings,” Myers said. “They asked me if I wanted to continue with Student Fed, and I said no.”
It is common for students to choose not to return to the federation for the next semester of their term. Freshman year is typically the most competitive election year as many students decide to try it out since there is no incumbency advantage, according to Senior and Vice President of Student Fed Maria Theisen.
When positions open up in the middle of the year, Student Fed creates a caucus made up of all the independent representatives. About two weeks ago, the officers notified the independent representatives to begin thinking about the process. After advertising, they received a few applications. Makuski was notified and accepted the position Saturday, Sept. 24th.
Each winter there’s an election for the new Student Fed members. Students are elected for the following two semesters until the next election. Therefore if elected as a freshman independent representative, one will remain the independent freshman representative throughout the first semester of their sophomore year until re-elected for the next year. The federation has two independent representatives from each grade other than the senior class, a representative from each greek house, a graduate school representative, and four officers, totaling 19 members.
A representative must care about campus life and be fully invested in the needs of the student body. The job involves making choices between which clubs get certain funds, so being objective in those situations is important, according to Sophomore Independent Representative Matthew Clark.
“We’re here to serve the student body,” Clark said. “We really value individuals who are willing to take time out of their very busy lives to help lead.”
Theisen said bias has never been an issue on Student Fed, and they intend to keep this tradition of impartiality alive.
Aside from the three girls who are the representatives for the three sorority houses, Theisen was the only elected female on Student Fed until now.
“I’m really excited for her to come on with us,” Theisen said. “Girls are often deterred freshman year from running because they don’t know if they’ll go greek, and guys already know if they’re greek or not. And once you’re elected freshman year, usually the same people run again and again so it just creates this trend that there are a lack of girls.”
Makuski will be joining Student Fed at their next meeting on Thursday, Oct. 5th.
“I’m excited to get to work and to hopefully provide a new perspective as the only independent female in the Student Federation,” Makuski said in an email.