The Student Movement


Senator Projects with Morgan Williams

Interviewed by Lauren Kim

Photo by Darren Heslop

This week, I sat down with Morgan Williams (senior, social work) to talk about this year’s AUSA (Andrews University Student Association) senator projects at Andrews. She explains some of the goals and challenges of these various projects as well as some insights gained along the way.


Tell me about yourself!

I am from Massachusetts and Georgia! I love my major and working with children, and I love being outdoors (hiking, hammocking, biking, and skateboarding). I have been involved in a lot of clubs at Andrews, including the Social Work Club, Pre-Law Society, Mock Trial, and Women’s Empowerment Association of Andrews University, and I served as Class President my sophomore year. This year I have had the amazing opportunity to serve as Executive Vice President of AUSA (which heads the AUSA Senate) and President of the Social Work Club. 


Can you provide an overview of some of the major projects the student senate has undertaken in the past few years?

Last school year, some senators completed a project providing cooking materials (pots and cooking spoons) to Lamson Hall. Another project included one called “UT Can’t Park,” an advocacy project where the Senate created a survey where University Tower residents could provide input regarding parking around UT. 


What were the primary goals or objectives behind these projects? How were these projects initiated? What were some of the most successful projects in terms of achieving their intended outcomes?

The Senate was designed to be the liaison between all the Undergraduate students and AUSA. While the Cabinet members of AUSA are representatives of the Undergraduate student body, there will be gaps in knowledge because our team is only so big. It is difficult for a group of eight to get a comprehensive understanding of what all undergraduate students' concerns and needs are. The Senate is comprised of at least 30 senators who are tasked with gathering information about pressing issues and concerns to report in weekly meetings to create a better experience for Andrews Undergraduate students. As enumerated in Article 19 of the AUSA Constitution and Article 3 of the Amended AUSA By-laws, Senators are required to complete a Senator Project, aid in the allocation of Spirit Grants, and attend every Senate meeting. A portion of the AUSA Budget money is directly allocated to providing funding for the Senator Projects. The goal of the projects is to make substantial and sustainable changes in undergraduate life by improving morale, infrastructure, engagement, and services. All projects are considered a success once the Senators tasked with completing them can directly aid those they initially sought out to, and the project is completed in its totality. 


Were there any projects that didn't meet expectations or faced significant challenges? If so, what were the reasons behind these outcomes?

All the current Senator Projects happened with much trial and error by both the Senators and myself. Some of the original ideas were revised or completely reworked. The Senate had to vote to approve the original ideas, and I had to veto some of them because they either could not have been completed this year or had logistic fallacies. Some ideas fell through due to a lack of response from the entity they wanted to work with. Some were changed because Senators found other worthy causes to do their project on. There are a lot of approvals to be had in the ideation, fruition, and completion of these projects. First, the senators had to present their prospective project to the Senate on November 30, 2023. After the Senators got approval from the entities they were helping and compiled an itemized list with the prices, they had to present their proposals to the Senate again as well as the Finance Committee within the Senate to get approval for funds. After they got all the signatures and turned in their proposals, they were able to finally purchase all the materials for their projects.


How does the student senate prioritize and balance between different types of projects, such as those focused on academic issues, campus infrastructure, student services, or community engagement?

As a Senator, they are required to cater to their constituents in all aspects; district senators are tasked with catering directly to the people who live within their districts (Lamson, Meier, UT, and Community). While they gather information from the residential side of campus, Senators also gather information regarding general campus life. They can choose a worthy endeavor based on input from their constituents. The Constitution and By-Laws do not specifically make it necessary to have all of the types of projects as stated in the question, but based on the various interests of the Senators, we just happen to have covered almost everything listed!


Are there any ongoing or upcoming projects that the student senate is currently working on or planning to implement in the near future?

The Senators have done a fantastic job in completing their Senator Projects. They have put a lot of time into finding what Undergraduate students want, researching how to get it done, contacting the necessary entities, and getting potential expenditures approved by the AUSA Senate Finance Committee. I am incredibly proud of all the work, diligence, time, and effort the Senators have done to complete their respective projects. I could not have asked for a better Senate this school year. 


The final Senator Projects of the 2023-2024 school year are below (some are not completed, but they are all in the works):

  • Kenneth Galvan (sophomore, architecture) and Wesley Barrow (junior, engineering) added a brand-new PS5, an extra controller, and two games: NBA2K24 and FC 24, to the Rec Center to be used by any student who requests to use it. They wanted to add a fun initiative to help students alleviate stress and create community!
  • Zalen Frichtl (freshman, computer science) created the “Food Awareness Project” to help local food pantries, Manna and God’s Abundant Pantry, advertise their services to all the students at Andrews as a first step to end student hunger. His project consists of marketing materials such as promotional physical and virtual flyers, yard signs, and giveaways for students who sign up to volunteer at either pantry.
  • Katlin Nelson (senior, music education) and Sydney Fritz (senior, speech pathology) are remodeling the Music Practice Room in the Basement of Lamson (in the back of the Lamson Health Club). They are repainting the walls, providing new furniture (music stands, mirrors, a desk, a piano bench, and a new couch), relighting the space, and adding new soundproof acoustic panels. This project’s purpose is to create a space where female music students can practice. 
  • Megan Kim (freshman, biology) and Audrey Lim (sophomore, sociology) donated two whiteboards and markers to the James White Library to be an aid to students as they study. 
  • Cesia Sanchez (sophomore, architecture) and Kaitlyn Yanez (freshman, psychology) donated countertops for new organizational shelves to be used in Lamson and Meier Hall to be used to renovate the laundry rooms.
  • Adrian Butcher (senior, engineering) donated tennis equipment (four tennis rackets and tennis balls) and a bike pump for Meier Hall (which residents in both dorms can check out and use). Adrian wanted to promote spending time outdoors, and growing a more active Andrews community.
  • Alyssa Caruthers (sophomore, political science and English), Johanna Rivas (senior, Spanish and global studies), Nailea Soto (junior, global studies), Abigael Isoe (sophomore, engineering), Kirsten Wikens (sophomore, management), Emmanuel Omenge (senior, nursing), and Upendo Theophili (sophomore, theology) have collaborated to complete 2 Senator projects. The first one was to donate electronic weight scales to the Andreasen Center for Wellness in the Women’s and Men’s Restrooms. Because the previous scales were manual, many users did not understand how to use them. The second initiative was to create a survey to make the cold Michigan winters more bearable. We hope these conditions will be improved by creating a report on student opinions to present to Campus Safety and Plant Services. The survey (which is hyperlinked) asks for student opinions on the issues mentioned above, along with suggestions for heat lamps, road salt, roof cover stands, and Zoom classes during inclement weather. There is also a space for extra thoughts and suggestions. Once the report is complete, they will send it to Campus Safety, Plant Services, and other entities that can change the current winter sidewalk/parking lot conditions. 
  • Barnaby Kina Gichana (freshman, computer science), Vierick Canales (freshman, psychology), and Zachary Allen Kiš (freshman, aviation flight) wanted to create an online platform to improve the interaction between the student body and the AUSA and its entities by creating a joint website! They want to give information about the future officers and provide information about upcoming events, as well as an anonymous dropbox for suggestions and questions for AUSA!


What lessons or insights has the student senate gained from these past projects that will inform their approach to future initiatives?

When approving all the projects this year, I aim to create necessary and sustainable change that promotes the well-being of the Undergraduate student body. I hope this same sentiment is carried on in the coming years for future projects. Be sure to check around campus for a plaque that says, “Donated by AUSA Senate 2023-2024,” please join me in congratulating the senators on all of their work, and apply to join the Senate next year to have a hand in creating change for undergraduate students on campus!

The Student Movement is the official student newspaper of Andrews University. Opinions expressed in the Student Movement are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, Andrews University or the Seventh-day Adventist church.