Allegheny Student Government President Mark MacStudy, ’18, swore Monessha Jayabalan, ’19, into the Class of 2019 Senate during the ASG meeting Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Before swearing Jayabalan in, Class of 2019 proxy Senator Catrina Steckler announced the class’s support of Jayabalan.
“We’re swearing in [Monessha], who we found fit to be our new senator,” Steckler said.
Jayabalan said she initially became interested in ASG last year, when one of the senate members had to take a leave of absence. She applied for the open position, and though she was not chosen, her application and contact with the Class of 2019 president made her the top choice when a proxy position opened up. Jayabalan acted as a proxy senator for a full semester before she was officially voted into a senator position.
“I heard about the initial proxy position from MyAllegheny,” Jayabalan said. “I’m a science person, so I never dealt with the non-science part of Allegheny. I thought it would be nice to try something new. When I saw the proxy position, I thought why not?”
Jayabalan said she had been to a few ASG meetings and knew senators before she applied. This aspect of familiarity encouraged her to apply, she said.
Jayabalan plans to focus on the constituency by making sure she gives others a chance to voice their thoughts and opinions.
“Wherever we go as senators, our opinion is valued just because we are in ASG, so I would like to start bringing in constituent comments, just from various aspects of our campus,” Jayabalan said. “I know a lot of science majors do not really know they can have a say.”
Along with her plan to focus on constituents, Jayabalan is excited to work with experienced senators, since she interacted with a number of proxies, she said.
“We had three [out of five] proxies in the Class of 2019, so a lot of us were knew and didn’t know what was going on,” Jayabalan said. “But this semester, our official senators are back.”
Class of 2019 Senator Noah Dawgiello, who has also worked with Jayabalan in the South Asian club, talked about the difficulties the Class of 2019 Senate has last semester with so many new senators.
“Our senate has been a bit of a mess. We had a lot of study abroad people, so there were only two elected senators last semester. It really threw a wrench in it, but we’re coming back in force this year,” Dawgiello said. “I am thrilled Monessha is the one to take the proxy spot. She is a wonderful woman. I have only the highest regard for her.”
Although Jayabalan has made the change from proxy to official senator over halfway through the academic year, she does not foresee any significant challenges.
“Personally, I put my everything in last semester,” Jayabalan said.