“We, the undergraduate students of Washington State University, in order to initiate and coordinate student activities in accordance with the purposes and objectives listed in our articles of incorporation; to represent student interests, needs, and welfare within the University community at large on issues affecting student life; and to supplement and complement formal education on the University campus, do affirm and establish this constitution.” – The Preamble to the ASWSU Constitution

In light of last week’s Senate special election, this first installment of ASWSU 101 will cover the members of the legislative body of our WSU student government.

Why do Senators matter?

ASWSU Senators make up the policy-making branch of the ASWSU. Not only do they make decisions that affect all of the governing body of ASWSU, but all of Washington State University. Senate approves funding requests, approves appointments, makes policy changes, and pass resolutions on behalf of ASWSU.

TLDR — They have a lot of money and power. We should care who they are and what they do.

How many Senators are there?

Per the ASWSU Constitution, there are 20 Senators:

  • 6 At-Large Senators
  • 4 Uncertified Senators
  • 4 Senators from The College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Pharmacy, and the College of Veterinary Medicine
  • 2 Senators from The College of Business
  • 1 Senator from The Engineering and Architecture
  • 1 Senator from The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
  • 1 Senator from The College of Education
  • 1 Senator from The College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS)

Every four years, the Senate reassess the distribution of Senate seats according to the number of students in each degree-granting college.

How does someone become an ASWSU Senator?

Each Spring, there is a general ASWSU election held the week before WSU’s spring break. Senators must fill out a declaration of candidacy form and attend a candidate meeting before their name is placed on next year’s ballot. This year, declaration of candidacy forms became available on Jan 25 and the candidate meeting will be at 5 p.m. on Feb 8.

What are the job requirements of a Senator?

Senators must:

  • Be full-time students
  • Attend Senate Meetings
  • Attend committee meetings
  • Hold three office hours a week
  • Maintain a 2.3 semester and cumulative GPA
  • Belong to the community that they represent.

How are Senators compensated?

Each senator is paid minimum wage for six hours of work weekly; two hours for the Senate meeting, one hour for the committee meeting and three office hours. Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs are paid seven hours weekly because they also must attend Rules committee. The Senate Pro Tempore is paid 12 hours a week to attend Rules committee, additional meetings, and additional office hours.

Who are the delegates to the Senate?

There are five delegates to the ASWSU.

  • 1 Honors Delegate that is elected during the spring ballot. The Honors College does not have a senator because it is not a degree-granting college which is a requirement outlined in the constitution.
  • 1 Transfer Delegate that is appointed in the fall by the Senate.
  • 3 Freshman Delegates that are appointed in the fall by the Senate.

Freshman and Transfer Delegates represent students that are unable to run during the spring election. Delegates are unpaid and are not voting members of the Senate. However, they are unable to hold other positions within ASWSU.

How does the Senate function?

That's next week's topic for ASWSU 101: The Senate.