The student government met for its weekly meeting Nov. 10 in Merten Hall 1201. Key legislation of the day would include the passing of Resolution 14, in support of open source textbooks; Resolution 23, in support of establishing a fair trade steering committee; and the appointment of two new senators.
Over the past few years, open-source textbooks have gained popularity among both students and faculty. As tuition rates continue to rise and state funding for universities decreases, open-source textbooks are seen as a way to decrease the overall costs that students incur when attending school.
Claudia Holland, head of the Scholarly Communication and Copyright Office in the Mason Publishing Group, gave a presentation to the student government on the topic of open source textbooks. She said by implementing a variety of strategies to change book costs, including the use of the open textbook network through the Virtual Library of Virginia, free textbooks could become available for both students and faculty. The student government stood firmly behind this idea and passed Resolution 14.
The government also passed Resolution 23, in which a free trade steering committee will be established. The hope is to promote education on free-trade products and the selling of free-trade products while also working to get Mason free-trade certified. The steering committee would also work to introduce free trade curriculum into some existing courses at Mason.
In addition to passing these resolutions, the senate approved the appointment of two new senators and officially brought the senate to its full 40 members. The first appointment of the day was freshman Logan Hansen.
Hansen spoke about how he felt at home at Mason and cited his previous leadership experience, including his time interning for a gubernatorial campaign; his time as President of his local National Honor Society, in which he created his high school’s student government; and his work done with Americans for Prosperity in his home state of Wisconsin. Hansen currently works as a Mason Ambassador and helps with honors college recruitment.
The second appointment was sophomore Erin Whitton, who was excited about the level of diversity at Mason. Whitton is an Eagle Scout and cited the numerous leadership and people management skills he had learned over the years. Overall, Whitton is very hopeful and ambitious in his journey to represent the Mason community.
A surprise announcement of the day was the resignation of the senate’s Military Liaison, Senator Frederick Edwards. Edwards cited that the senate had members of the ROTC, and he believed that they could serve as better representation.
As a result of Edwards’ resignation, Senator Matthew Borja was elected to the position of Military Liaison.
When asked for his thoughts, Borja said, “It feels great, and I plan to continue the work of Senator Edwards, such as having the Air Force ROTC on campus. I hope to follow in his footsteps and successfully continue such projects.”