New student senators benefit from ‘professional development day’

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Undergraduate Student Government hosted a “professional development day” Monday to teach its new members the basics of being involved in the organization and to readdress the basics with its returning members.

The day consisted of three sessions detailing the importance of senate etiquette, how to effectively talk with administrators and how to draft legislation.

New senators were required to attend all three sessions, while veteran members had to attend at least one.

Kasie Durkit, a new senator at-large, said she enjoyed the sessions.

“I had never really known how to professionally address an issue with an administrator, so that was helpful,” she said.

Durkit said she especially liked the session that taught new senators how to write legislation.

“[We learned] how to turn an issue into a resolution that would address that issue in a real way, an active way,” she said.

Ebonee Johnson, a new residence area senator for Kohl Hall, said she gained a lot of insight from the veteran senators during the sessions.

“It’s good to get the chance to listen to the older senators and get their past experiences,” Johnson said.

Melissa Dzienny, speaker of the senate, said the professional development day met her expectations.

“We came prepared. A lot of great information was shared. A lot of great discussions were had,” she said.

During the sessions, veteran senators lead interactive activities from which senators could learn.

Members wrote suggestions for proper ettiquette during general assembly meetings on sticky notes, which were then discussed with the group.

Examples of properly written pieces of legislation and poorly written pieces of legislation were handed out for members to compare and contrast using highlighters.

Dzienny said she was pleased with the turn out of senators who came to the professional development day.

Sixteen of the senators who attended the sessions were new members, she said.

Jordan Sanderson, Student Affairs Committee Chair, said he thought the professional development day was a success.

“I feel like, for a lot of new senators, this is something they need to get used to. When I was new, I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said, adding that he would have benefitted from a professional development day such as this when he was a new senator.

“I knew USG represented the students, but I didn’t know how it functioned as much,” he said.

Dzienny said she thought attending veteran senators and those who lead the sessions benefitted from the day as well.

“For the older senators, it ties up loose ends and gives them the chance to play catch-up,” she said. “Also, it’s about leaders helping new leaders.”