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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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New senate president hopes to bridge gap between students and senate

New senate president hopes to bridge gap between students and senate

Senior and Student Senate President, Oluwabamise Afolabi sits at a senate meeting in  2019. Afolabi sits next to junior Carly Rieger. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

Senior and Student Senate President, Oluwabamise Afolabi sits at a senate meeting in 2019. Afolabi sits next to junior Carly Rieger. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

The new student senate president hopes to offer more transparency from the senate to students.

Senior Oluwabamise Afolabi, also known as Bamise for short, has worked his way up in the Student Senate. Now as the elected president, he hopes to offer more transparency for Knox students.

After not knowing much about Student Senate’s functions during his freshman year, Afolabi attended a General Assembly (GA) as a sophomore and decided to run for senate. He was elected as the Diversity Committee Chair.

“I ran for that position originally because I believed there was still more that could be done in the area of diversity on campus. Knox prides itself in that our community is open to everyone. I came to Knox, and I realized there’s still some things that could be done,” Afolabi said.

Afolabi decided to run for president his junior year.When he was a freshman, he felt he lacked knowledge of the senate’s functions. When asking Knox students what they wanted the Student Senate to do, many didn’t have a clear idea what the senate had control over.

“There is a huge perception gap in terms of how people perceive senate,” Afolabi said. “Some people know what senate is but think all senate does is just give students money. I thought, ‘Something has to be done to really improve people’s perception of student senate.’” 

After running a successful campaign, Afolabi waited over the weekend for the results. When the election results came in, Afolabi felt both excited and empowered.

“For a while, I was speechless. I remember it was a Sunday, I was on my way back from church, and I just checked my phone and there was the senate election results. I was really excited. It took me a while to process because I went to the cafeteria to eat and then there was ‘Oh, Mr. President,’ ‘Hey Mr. President, how you doing?’” Afolabi said. “I felt like it was an immense opportunity for students to place their trust on me to lead, a deep sense of gratitude. At the same time, it was a call to service, because students think I am capable and have initiative. I told myself that I need to be willing and ready to put in the work. You cannot let them down.”

Student Senate held their first meeting on Sept. 24, 2020 over zoom, just as many classes have due to the pandemic. Afolabi believes that meeting virtually makes it more difficult to get to know new members of the senate.

“We are doing virtual GA, which is different from in person GA. We have had one GA so far. For me, this is my first time doing this. It would be much easier if it was in person. In person interaction is always better for me than virtual interaction, especially when you are meeting people for the first time and you really want them to feel included and get to know who they are. I’m also trying to understand why each senator ran for senate and how I can help them actualize those reasons,” Afolabi said.

Afolabi hopes to be able to meet his goal of changing the student perception of the senate. He believes that because some students do not trust the senate, it is important to change this relationship between them.

“I’m really hoping that over the journey of this year, with the help of the general assembly, the executive committee and with the help of the student population, we are able to show students that we care about you. Your concerns matter. Your voice matters. Your opinions matter,” Alofabi said.

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