How the three WSU Senates worked together this semester


Maegan Vincent

Student Body Vice President Mary-Elizabeth Thornton writes down discussion answers during a mixer between the university’s different Senates.

After meeting together for a mixer, Wichita State’s three Senates discovered many of the concerns they share overlap. 

Faculty, staff and student Senate are responsible for representing their fellows in academia. This is often achieved through legislation and communication that aims to improve the quality of jobs and education.

Mackenzie Lane, the academic affairs chair for the Student Government Association, worked alongside SGA President John Kirk and Speaker of the Senate Gregory VanDycke to put on a mixer for all three campus Senates on Nov. 30.

“We’ve got a lot of different ideas,” Lane said. “How can we work together since we’re all trying to represent and serve WSU?”

The mixer started with mingling and getting to know each other, and ended with sharing goals and concerns.

“From that, we kind of realized how beneficial this communication and extra meeting time together was because … the biggest realization talking with faculty and staff was okay, we’re seeing a lot of the same problems,” Lane said,

Staff Senate President Denise Gimlin said she was thrilled to be a part of the mixer. She  said that working together starts with acknowledging the “circle of life.”

“The students are a part of it, the staff is a part of it, and the faculty are a part of it. And anything that’s impacting one is going to impact the other,” she said. 

“I think that if we all shoot at fixing problems separately, it would make sense if we were all working together.”

She said previously, she had spoken with the Faculty Senate. However, outside of legislative updates and debriefs after Kansas Board of Regents meetings, she hasn’t been able to form connections within SGA. 

“I was really looking forward to that mixer and getting the opportunity to talk with them and hear from them,” Gimlin said. “You know, we think we know what a lot of the concerns are, everybody does, but unless you hear it from someone else’s perspective you’re not fully articulated in that area.”

Overall, Lane said these conversations amplify the importance of shared governance. 

“I think it’s a big deal because having those connections and that communication allows us to work together where we’re sharing those resources, communication, that instead of that us versus them mentality,” Lane said. “We’re coming together as a cohesive unit.” 

Lane said all three Senates agreed to continue meeting together next semester.

*Faculty Senate President Susan Castro did not respond to The Sunflower’s interview request.