Oberlin students have their own government to represent it to the administration and faculty, distribute the Student Activity Fund, sponsor campus programs, enforce the Honor Code, and handle many other responsibilities. Student Senate fulfills this duty to ensure a student role in college governance and administration.
The student body elects 15 senators who work with administrators and faculty to voice student concerns. The senate represents a central forum for dialogue within the student community, and for the development of legislation to actualize common goals.
The senate as a whole and individual senators meet frequently with administrators to discuss issues of importance to students and advocate for student interests. Perhaps the senate’s most significant power is serving on faculty committees that make many decisions about Oberlin’s operations and policies. The senate interviews and appoints members of the student body to serve on these committees and other areas of student government.
The senate has weekly plenary sessions and office hours, and senators participate in working groups that make recommendations to the general senate for discussion and implementation. Non-senators are welcome members of working groups. Discussion topics might include ResEd, dining services, textbook costs, referendum implementation, town-gown relations, and socially responsible investments.
If you were active in student government prior to Oberlin, consider using your know-how to help shape and direct issues at the college. Getting involved is easy: Run for Student Senate during the elections, which are held in both the spring and the fall. You also may apply for a position on a faculty or administrative committee or an advisory council. If nothing else, at least know who your senators are so you can let them know what’s on your mind. Attend a senate meeting and seek ways to get involved.