For the first time ever, CLU’s student body government may be adding an international representative.
Talks have already begun and a committee has been formed, as both senate and programs board members are considering an amendment to the ASCLU-G constitution.
The change, if implemented, would have to be voted on by the student body. A new senate and a new programs board seat would open up solely for international students, similar to the commuter and transfer-student seats already in place.
“Since the school has so many international students, I don’t know why they don’t do that before,” said Linn Gjestad, a Norwegian international student, upon hearing the news. “Such a big amount of the people in the school are international students.”
There are 128 international students in CLU’s undergraduate program, according to International Student Services. That compares with 270 transfer students and 2,545 undergraduate students currently enrolled, according to the admissions office.
A member of the student government at her previous schools, Gjestad believes that adding an international seat would increase international involvement in student government.
“Whenever you know people that’s involved you get more involved yourself, because you get to hear about it,” said Gjestad. “And I don’t know a single person who is in it right now.”
International students can run for representative positions in student government just like any other student. There have been two ASCLU-G presidents who were international students in the past 15 years. A constitutional change would guarantee that there would always be an international student in ASCLU-G.
Programs Board Director Shakivla Todd looks forward to further international involvement if a constitutional amendment is passed.
“It will bring, specifically in programs board, a different perspective and take into consideration that there’s a huge population of international students,” said Todd. “I don’t think on programs board it could do anything negative.”
There are currently 18 representatives and a recorder from the student body in both the senate and programs board. An international representative would bring the total number to 19 representatives, increasing the total of voices heard from the student body in general.
“It’s a pointed attempt to involve a group of students whose voices are invaluable, coming from different perspectives and also help us with another layer of student involvement,” said Rebecca Cardone, ASCLU-G president.
She and other student government members have been coordinating with Jaunita Hall, senior director of Multicultural and International Programs, to see if the change is plausible and also to explore other avenues for getting international students more involved in student government.
“We want to make sure that we do have all of the answers, or the answers that we could have anticipated, before it goes to a vote so that when people ask about it, they don’t ask and then not receive an answer and then become fearful about what might happen,” said Cardone. “And we can actually talk to them about it and be confident in our decision to go forward with this amendment.”
Cardone and Todd welcome feedback on the potential international representative seat and encourage people to contact ASCLU-G to provide their opinions and input.
Published Dec. 12, 2012