The student senate at Northern Illinois University appointed its first female speaker last week.
NIU student association senator Christine Wang begins her tenure as speaker this summer. She says she’s happy with the progress of the student association senate in selecting its first woman speaker.
“It’s a huge move for NIU,” Wang said. “It showcases a lot of our diversity and how much we emphasize on it. I think it means that we’re moving forward with the changing dynamic that is our society today.”
She says she would like to help change the mindset that the student association senate “governs” students.
“I don’t think that’s true,” she said. “I think what we do is we want to have students bring their ideas to us and we bring those ideas to light.”
One example, Wang says, is the student senate can’t build a parking garage, but they can direct students to proper authorities to have that conversation and make sure those student voices are heard.
The NIU student association senate oversees a budget of about $6.5 million. That includes student activity fees and legal services.
Members of the student senate also have participated in demonstrations regarding higher education budget cuts in light of the Illinois state budget impasse. Wang says she also would like her legacy to include more of an emphasis on student diversity.