Graham Senor ’15 Elected Senate President

Graham Senor 02

CONWAY, Ark. (March 14, 2014) – This spring, Graham Senor ’15 was elected President of the Hendrix Student Senate.

“I am very excited to work with Graham in his role as student body president,” said Jim Wiltgen, executive vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “He has made numerous contributions to our campus community over the past three years and he brings a wealth of experience to the position.”

Though Senor, a Fayetteville native, wasn’t active in student government during high school, he learned the importance of the Hendrix Student Senate before he even enrolled.

As a perspective student, his student host – Trey Kalbaugh ’13 – was the Senate representative for the residence houses and shared his excitement for service with Senor.

“Before I even got here, I had that as a goal,” said Senor.

Hendrix was one of 11 schools that Senor considered.

“I was really impressed with personable nature of Hendrix,” says Senor, a philosophy major who hopes to go to law school after graduation.

Senor served as a freshman and sophomore Senate representative. Last year, he was assistant to Senate President Neelam Vyas ’14.

“Graham’s experience as a member of the senate executive officers this past year will be invaluable as the Senate transitions to the next year,” said Wiltgen.

In addition to his Senate duties, Senor is the music coordinator for the weekly chapel services, where he sings and plays guitar and piano, as well as the occasional djembe.

Senor also played wide receiver on the first football team at Hendrix in 53 years. A high school baseball player, Senor planned to play baseball after he got his academic and student life bearings. But he decided that the new football team would be better accepted among upperclassmen if a current student was a member.

Senor says he’s completely comfortable being the person that students go to with problems and questions.

“I really liked the years I served in Senate and being the person that people emailed with questions about campus life and campus security,” he says. “If there’s some sort of selfish motive, it’s that I feel fulfilled on a personal level doing this and I trust myself to get it done.”

Two things that Senor and the Student Senate will be particularly focused on this year will be diversity and campus security.

“Diversity is a worldwide issue, but we have to start on a local level and discuss how open Hendrix really is,” says Senor.

Among the potential new diversity programs could be workshops during Welcome Week, extended orientation programming, and weekly lectures during the fall convocation periods that supplement student and faculty discussions in Explorations.

Senate can play an important role in fostering more inclusiveness on campus, Senor says.

“We want to make Senate as transparent as possible,” says Senor, adding that Student Senate members like Anthony Nail ’14 have already done a great job using social media to raise awareness of campus events.

Senate may also be able to play a greater role in helping Hendrix meet its diversity goals in recruiting and retention, he adds.

Campus security needs to be a student-led discussion, Senor says.

Using active and/or passive security cameras is one topic up for debate, he adds.

“Is it worth it as a student body to give up a little privacy for the safety of others?” he said.

Senor hopes the Senate will help explore the development of a program that would arrange escorts for students walking across campus from sundown through the early morning hours.

Senor says he’s optimistic about the arrival of new Hendrix President Dr. Bill Tsutsui.

“I’ve met him once or twice in a group, and he seems to strike a good balance with students,” he says. “I think he can preserve our culture, while adding to it.”

Senor expects President Tsutsui will be more visible among students with appearances at Senate meetings and important campus events.

“I know the Board of Trustees cares way more about students than students think, and we need to find more ways to get board members in front of students,” he says.

President Tsutsui seems very committed to transparency between administrators and students, Senor says.

“He seems very sincere in that promise, which is exciting,” Senor says. “A lot of people are going to be nervous, but I think the biggest thing the students can do is trust him.”

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report.  Hendrix is featured in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, as well as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.