Free Staters 2/23 (copy)

Addison Henson, Student Senate chief of staff, speaks at a Free Staters campaign meeting in February. Henson said a larger pool of freshmen ran in the Senate elections this year than in previous years. 

Five freshmen were elected to serve in Student Senate on Sept. 30, according to official election results.

The senators are Grace Baker, Raina Peter, Derek Zhang, Faith Lopez and Camden Baxter. They were elected out of a pool of 15 candidates.

“I’m really excited to be a part of Senate and to get to be involved in this year and with the freshmen class and KU as a whole as much as I can,” said Grace Baker, a history major from Fresno, California.

The newly elected senators will begin their time in student government as Senate tackles new issues relating to the coronavirus. 

“Students getting more involved in student government has been really important to analyzing how COVID impacts different units — different individuals on campus — and just the ways it's impacted life in general,” said Addison Henson, Student Senate’s chief of staff.

Baker said she is ready to prioritize solving KU's ongoing challenges as the campus continues to react to the pandemic. 

“I really just want to make sure that KU students are able to still do events and have things happen like they would if there wasn’t COVID while making sure it’s safe,” Baker said. 

Senators can also join various advisory boards or committees based on their personal interests.  

“At this point, it’s just really important for freshmen Senators to be cognizant of the constituency that they represent and to figure out ways to continue to advocate for them,” Henson said.

Henson said that Senate encourages all freshmen to get involved with student government in some capacity. She said they highly value having a diverse set of perspectives regarding campus issues. Students who want to get started on this path can become standing committee members or look into Senate’s internship program. 

“I think it’s really important to get freshmen interested and involved in Senate, because ultimately they’re going to be the people who are the leaders for it in the future and end up taking these projects down the road,” Henson said.

The candidate pool this year was slightly larger compared to previous years. Henson said Senate’s focus on digital involvement and accessibility this semester could have contributed to greater student interest. 

Each freshman at KU was able to vote for up to five candidates. A total of 230 votes were cast. Polls for the election opened at 6 a.m. Tuesday and closed at 4 p.m. Wednesday.