Student Senate Struggles to Recruit Applicants


courtesy of Dickinson College

After receiving no letters of intent for important positions like Student Body President during the original election period, Dickinson Student Senate has pushed back application deadlines for executive board and class president positions by two weeks, according to Senate Chief of Staff Nora Stocovaz ’25.

“We don’t have a semblance of an executive board,” Stocovaz said. 

Normally, Student Senate sees an uptick in applications in the last few days before election packets are due, but not this year. Although at least one student submitted their candidacy for Class President for the class of 2024, 2025, and 2026 respectively, no students showed interest in the positions of President, Chief of Staff, Director of Financial Strategy and Director of PR and Marketing, and only one person is running for the two Senator positions on the All-College Committee on Academic Standards and Programs.

The lack of either an incoming President or Chief of Staff is particularly glaring, according to Stocovaz. She said there were “not enough people to proceed with elections the way we usually would.” In previous years, when positions could not be filled, Senate relied on newly elected executive board members to review applications on a position-by-position basis. But with no President or Chief of Staff, this process cannot happen.

When asked why she thought there was so little interest in Senate this year, Stocovaz pointed to communications issues, saying that it was difficult to get the word out to the student body about the elections. Still, she said this does not fully explain “the incredible lack of interest.”

“Clearly we’ve failed on our end,” she said, “we’re not as visible as I would like us to be.” Katarina Swendrowski ’24, Director of Academics, has been involved in Senate since she first came to Dickinson three years ago. She told The Dickinsonian that over the last three years, interest has gone down. “The morale of the college has decreased,” Swendrowski said. 

Interest in Senate appears to be healthy among first years — there are three candidates for Class of 2026 President —  but candidates for Student Body President must have previously served three semesters in Senate before running.


Current Senate members are disinclined to run for president, Swendrowski said, in part because students are “so petrified of elections.” Being in the spotlight makes students wary, she said, specifically referencing harassment that senators have received around elections in the past, primarily via the anonymous messaging app Yik Yak.

Class of 2025 President Angela Abinales ’25, who has been the target of similar harassment in the past, said, “Running in any sort of election can be challenging, especially when you receive backlash. What’s supposed to be constructive criticism about one’s campaign can often turn into public disapproval of one’s individual character.”

Both Swendrowski and Stocovaz believe that students do not know enough about the mission of Student Senate. “The college is very bureaucratic…student senate is the start of that for most things,” Stocovaz said, “I’ve just learned so much more about how the college works.” 

Stocovaz pointed to a resolution that Senate passed last semester to get free COVID-19 rapid tests for students: the Wellness Center has been stocked with free tests for most of the spring semester so far. 

Swendrowski is most proud of the college’s land acknowledgement, which was created with input from Senate representatives on the all-college Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee. “Major, major decisions have student input and students don’t realize it,” she said.

In the meantime, Andrew Garcia ’26, Emma Burrows ’26 and Ishrak Zaman ’26 are running for 2026 Class President, Angela Abinales ’25 and Deon Rosado ’24 are the lone candidates for 2025 and 2024 president respectively, while Claire Wayne is running for Director of Campus Life and Initiatives, Martina Fernandez-Bevk for Director of Club Finance, Swendrowski for Director of Academics, Alexandria Lee ’26 for Director of Inclusivity and Sebastian Valdez-Bautista for ASPC Senator.

The final deadline for new candidate election packets is now Feb. 27 at 6:00 PM.