A new speaker of the senate and senate president pro tempore were elected at the first meeting of UCF’s Student Government Association's 50th senate Thursday.
A day after elections closed, the senate elected Sen. Josh Boloña elected as speaker and Sen. Sierra Scott as president pro tempore.
The speaker is referred to as “the voice of the senate” who represents the other senators. Along with Boloña, Sen. Corey Marcous was nominated for speaker. After a five minute speech from each candidate and questioning from fellow senators, Boloña was elected by a vote of 35 to 13.
During the last senate session Boloña, a senior industrial engineering major, was president pro tempore. He said he wasn’t even thinking about running for the speaker position until recently.
“I honestly didn’t think up until last week that I was running, when I found out that former Speaker [Sharon] Behar was not running for re-election,” Boloña said. “And at first I really didn’t know if I wanted it, and as I thought about it more and more of what I could do with it ... it kind of felt like the perfect fit.”
Boloña asked Behar for some advice before running, and she told him challenges he may face as speaker and helped him prepare his speech before the senate. Now that he is officially speaker, Boloña said he is ready to uphold his duty and wants the senate to thrive.
“I’m holding myself to a standard that I want the senate to function in a smooth manner, where we pass a lot of legislation, accomplish a lot of the initiatives that the senators run on, and just continue to thrive,” Boloña said.
For the president pro tempore elections, Scott defeated Sen. Joseph Davis by a vote of 41 to 6.
Scott, a sophomore political science and legal studies major, served as the deputy pro tempore of legislative affairs in the 49th senate. She worked with Boloña closely and even shared an office with him, which is something she thinks will help her in her new role.
“I think that working in the pro temp’s office a lot, you learn how to deal with all the problems and how to work with students and how to fix their problems really quickly,” Scott said. “So I think that I have definitely gotten some experience from that; that I definitely wouldn’t have gotten had I been any other position before that.”
Senators also chose committees to join during the meeting. Each senator must be in at least one committee, and committees cannot have more than 12 senators. The only committees that did not vote in senators were the Student Body Advocacy Committee and the Operations Review Committee, which were then appointed by Boloña.
A theme that was present throughout the entire meeting was getting new senators acclimated to the process. Antione Fields, a sophomore political science and history double major, said his first meeting was interesting and that he's excited to be a part of senate.
“I had my friend kind of tell me a lot about the way the senate process would work, so it’s really cool to actually see it take place in front of me and then be a part of it,” Fields said.
Throughout the night Boloña tried to help new senators get caught up, explaining rules of the senate and what certain acronyms stood for.
A senate retreat is scheduled for the weekend. The retreat, which will take place on campus, is a training session where the senators discuss all the rules of the senate and how it operates.