Frosh steps in as Alpha West senator

Charissa Standage replaces sophomore Sarah Hernandez, who stepped down for unspecified “personal reasons.”

Kathryn Watson, Writer

The A.S. senate unanimously voted Charissa Standage, a freshman journalism major, in as the new Alpha West senator Tuesday night.

Standage steps in for sophomore Sarah Hernandez, who left the senate voluntarily for “personal reasons,” according to Cameron Spencer, A.S. vice president of marketing and communications.

Standage’s acceptance into the senate makes her the second replacement for a senator that has left office this semester. In October, junior Daniel Denner replaced then-Horton South senator Josh Brubaker.

Standage, who doesn’t have prior experience in student government, but was extensively involved in leading sports teams in high school, applied for the spot after a current senator encouraged her to rise to the challenge.

“I decided I would give it a whirl and cover it in prayer,” she said. “To me, it kind of sounded like the equivalent of what I did as a captain on my school teams.”

Spencer said he was confident in Standage’s capabilities, despite her freshman status. Standage isn’t the first freshman to fill a senator spot. Last year, then-freshman John Drebinger joined A.S. as Stewart’s senator midyear. Spencer said Drebinger “proved that you can be a freshman and a senator and do a great job.”

Although Standage was the sole applicant for the position, Justin De Vesta, A.S. senior vice president, said he and the other A.S. members who interviewed her were “very impressed” by her level of qualification and maturity. Alpha Chi is mostly a freshman dorm anyway, and Standage will have plenty of time to be trained before events pick up in spring, De Vesta added.

Standage realized she will face challenges as not only a freshman, but also a freshman stepping in three months after the semester’s start.

“Everyone in the senate kind of already has their role,” she said.

Perhaps the greatest challenge will be striking a balance between asserting herself and learning when to ask for help, Standage said. She wanted to find her “niche” like the other senators have, and help transform Alpha West into a service-minded, unified community.

Denner too has faced challenges, coming in as a junior transfer student from El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. unfamiliar with Biola. However, help from other senators, like Joey Finrow Horton North senator, have made the transition process a smooth one, he said.

Denner, a business marketing major, said he desires to see Biolans set themselves apart from the worldly values of secular schools. This desire plays into his vision of empowering his constituents by making them aware of the funding A.S. can provide them for clubs and ministries.

“I want to give people the opportunity to do what God’s called them to do … even though they might not know how,” Denner said.

De Vesta said that, in the future, it will be stressed that senate positions are a “year-long commitment.”

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