New Student Senate aims to amplify CBU student voices
Riverside, Calif. (Dec. 5, 2022) – This fall, California Baptist University announced a new student governmental body. Formerly the Associated Students of CBU, the CBU Student Senate was created to focus on the voices of students and the direct relationship between the student body and university officials.
Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, ASCBU and university officials met to address the issues related to lack of student engagement, including low voter turnout and overall effectiveness. Both groups researched structures at various colleges and universities across the country, which led to the student senate model at CBU.
During the spring of 2022, ASCBU’s executive council unanimously voted to disband the modality and recommended creating a student senate focused format. The recommendation was accepted by both university administration and the Board of Trustees.
In ASCBU, students elected two student representatives from the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior class. Now, each school and college and student-serving department, such as Athletics and Spiritual Life, submits three to five nominations for a student senator. In order to be nominated, students must complete one semester as a full-time traditional undergraduate student, have a 2.5 GPA or higher and be in good standing with the university. Nominees then are invited to apply for the position; 60 applications were received during the fall semester.
There are 17 representatives in total. Each senator represents various groups, such as commuters, men, women and students within academic programs.
Joe Adcock, associate dean of students for administrative support, will serve as the Student Senate advisor. He has spent over half of his life working for the university and has seen many positive and impactful changes.
“Growth brings change, and I’ve seen a lot of it,” Adcock said. “Change is good, and I am very excited about being a part of this new chapter in student representation at CBU. I want nothing more than to make CBU a place that students will cherish in their heart for the rest of their lives.”
This change will benefit the student population by allowing their voices to be heard, said Chris Hofschroer, dean of students.
“We want to get this right,” Hofschroer said. “In addition to providing a balanced representation of our student body, the Student Senate is designed to operate with a focus on serving as a formal conduit through which student-related concerns, views and interests are communicated to university officials.”
Dylan Parry, a political science sophomore, was nominated by Student Services.
The Student Senate will be better for students in many ways, Parry said.
“I most look forward to the new representative structure. The primary function is to be a voice for students and nothing else,” Parry said. “It frees the Student Senate to get in touch with students and hear their concerns. We will act as a direct line to the administration for students on campus.”
Nathanael Hovda, a chemical engineering senior, was nominated by Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering. The senate is a chance to give back to CBU, improve the student experience and leave the university in a better position than when we started, Hovda said.
“I wanted the senate to be a pulse for CBU students,” Hovda said. “We know some of the larger concerns students have, but we can’t miss the details. It’s about bringing every piece of the puzzle together, and if some of the pieces don’t exist yet, we work alongside students to create them.”
Makenna Wells Ayres, an applied theology senior, was nominated by the School of Christian Ministries.
“I wanted to be involved because I truly love CBU, and I want to be part of improving and enhancing student experiences on campus as well as cultivating growth throughout our university,” Ayres said. “Ultimately, I want to be a part of seeing more people come to know Christ and grow in their relationship with Him.”