A bittersweet farewell for Student Senate

Argene Lynn and Nadia Lloyd are sworn into the Senate by Senate President Kelton Williams. Photo courtesy: Alyssa Cooper

This Monday’s senate meeting was one full of emotion. Many members of the 52nd Student Senate will not be returning for the 53rd Senate, and they took their chance to relish their experience in the senate and say their goodbyes.

Before the senate bid farewell for the semester, business was taken care of. The budget for the 2023-2024 academic year was voted on and approved unanimously after its third reading. Details on the specifications of the budget are soon to come.

In addition to voting on the budget, bills were passed unanimously through the Senate.

The Civil Discourse Initiative was presented by senator and SGA vice-president elect Jeffrey Francis and chairwoman and 53rd Student Senate President Loryn May.

The bill called on all student government departments to endorse and affirm the Board of Governor’s statement on freedom of expression and civil discourse initiatives.

This Freedom of Expression statement from the Florida Board of Governors was adopted back in January of 2022. The Board of Governors also approved a Civil Discourse Initiative with the Florida State University System.

Sen. Francis states, “The Civil Discourse Initiative encourages the Student Government Association to promote the practices and principles of civil discourse and free speech on campus.”

There was also one final confirmation to be completed before the end of the semester. Zantae Copeland, a third-year elementary education student has been serving as the Deputy of Community Affairs within the executive branch of SGA for the previous academic year. She was reconfirmed unanimously to her position to serve for this upcoming year.

Copeland’s duties include acting as a liaison between the SGA and volunteer organizations, researching and providing volunteer opportunities to SGA and the student body, and working with volunteer organizations to plan various drives and marches.

Newly confirmed senators Argene Lynn and Nadia Lloyd were sworn into the senate by Senate President Williams during the meeting as well, allowing them to experience and participate in their first senate meeting.

After the approval by the Senate of the budget for the upcoming year, it was time for members of the senate to share their final thoughts before departing for the semester.

Many senators acknowledged the rocky start of meetings at the beginning of the semester but followed it up with an appreciation for how far they’ve come since then.

Senate president Kelton Williams announced during his time in the senate 15 benches will be placed at bus stops around campus. Those benches will have plaques on them recognizing the 52nd Student Senate and their impact on the campus of Florida A&M.

For Sen. Kebe, the chairman of the Organization and Finance committee, this semester meant more as it was his last.

Kebe first became a senator during his freshman year in the fall of 2019. After the end of his sophomore year, he took some time away from student government, citing that he needed to find his “why” for joining the senate in the first place.

He urged younger senators and those going into their second year to think about their “why” over the summer before returning for the fall as well as applying things learned in the senate chambers to other facets of their lives.

He states, “Think about your why, and use your why to propel you to be better as senators.”

He personally thanked Londe Modulus, senate president Pro Tempe and SGA president-elect, for helping him complete the budget before the deadline.

Although some senators may be resigning from their current roles, they still strive to make a change on campus and in the community as a whole.