President of Lehigh Student Senate, Julia Pardee, ‘21, hosts a livestream with University Administration on Mar. 25,2020, over Zoom. Student Senate has continued to meet as normal, even while spread across the country. (Annalise Kelloff/B&W Staff)

Student Senate continues to conduct business amid move to online learning

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The Student Senate continues to conduct full meetings amid the recent school closure due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Meetings are on Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. over Zoom, said Julia Pardee, ‘21, president of Student Senate.

“We’re having our first meeting with a guest speaker tomorrow, Dr. David Rubentstein,” said Alissa Landberg, ‘22, a representative in the Student Senate. “This will give us the opportunity to ask about future plans for student safety following the COVID-19 issues on campus.” 

The Health, Safety and Wellness Committee of the Senate plans on making health and wellness tips more accessible to the student body, Landberg said. She said they created a list of social distancing tips, and are planning a 5×10 for first-year students next fall.

Pardee said the Allocations Committee is currently reviewing budgets for sponsored clubs to ensure they get the funding needed for the 2020-21 academic year.

In addition to campus wellness, Pardee said she is working to make sure that all students are awarded the same opportunities throughout their college experience, particularly concerning graduating seniors. 

“We formed a small coalition of senators from the class of 2020 to give input to the senior leadership on commencement,” Pardee said. “Through connecting these students with the administration, we can ensure that students are a key player in deciding when and how commencement will be held.”  

Pardee said Bridget Kelly, ‘20, chair of the Commencement Committee, works with members of the Senate and Alumni Student Association to select the student commencement speaker. This process is still continuing as the administration reviews the commencement timeline, Pardee said. 

Kelly said she is currently working to figure out who will speak at commencement. While everything has been put on hold for the time being, Kelly said she has continued her work. 

“This year, we proposed to the senior class the topic of, ‘How has Lehigh impacted you?’” Kelly said. “Once students receive this prompt, they are able to audition for a spot.” 

She said in the first round of the process, students send in their resumes and a three-minute video of their speech. From there, she said they are planning a second round of “auditions” to hear a more finalized draft of the speech live on Zoom.

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