Student Senate

Meet the Senate, who exists to communicate the needs and wants of our students.

Student Senate Spring 2022

Photo by Andrew Sloth.

About the Student Senate

Each year, 30 students from across campus are elected as Senators to help bridge the gap between faculty, staff, and students. Our job is to allocate funding to clubs and organizations, address living environment concerns, and overall, work to mold Coe College and its students' dreams.

Some of our favorite Senate ideas implemented on campus are:

  • LoCoe - an annual fall event that brings Cedar Rapids life to Coe with local food trucks and musical artists.
  • Menstrual Hygiene Project - to help anyone ever caught by surprise, Senate stocks all of the bathrooms in academic buildings with free tampons and pads.
  • Dropboxes - installed in centralized locations around campus, Dropboxes allow easy access to providing Senate with living environment concerns and feedback.


Student Senate is fully funded by the $142.50 Student Activities fee that every full-time student pays in their tuition each semester. Biannually, we allocate upwards of $180,000 to support clubs and the improvement of student life.

Meet the Executive Board

The Executive Board of the Student Senate helps to facilitate subcommittees and maintain order in meetings. At the beginning of each calendar year, student pairs are given the opportunity to run for the elected seats of the Student Body President and Vice President. The new leaders appoint the rest of their board with the approval of the Senate. The full Executive Board for the 2023 year is as follows:

  • Student Body President — Celestte Orellana
  • Vice President of the Student Body —Jelani Ragins
  • Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — Michellel Jones
  • Treasurer — Max Gorden Mercer
  • Communications Officer — Avery Babcock
  • Recording Secretary — Julia Ginsbach
  • Chairperson — Cecilia Kintopf

IMG_0870 (1).JPGPhoto by Andrew Sloth.

Celestte and Jelani's Platform

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

- Reaffirm that DEI values are an important foundation of good and equitable governance
- Seek to intentionally recruit student senate members from all backgrounds
- Create a safe space for students during senate meeting to voice their DEI concerns
- Work towards problem solving DEI issues through the creation of sub committees and
campus-wide boards
- Maintain close relationships with leaders of DEI organizations on campus to widen the lens
within senate of minority student concerns
- Advocate for increased focus of campus safety plans of LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and disabled
student populations
- Oversee Long-Term Accessibility Plan and keep people in charge accountable
- Advocate for accountability of students, staff, and faculty for their words and actions

Relationship Building:

- Create time outside of regular business hours to engage in conversation with
- Connect students with the right staff/faculty to help develop their ideas
- Develop good professional relationships with staff/faculty
- Unify the campus by encouraging student & faculty engagement and participation across
events on campus that showcase student talents
- Host regular meetings/check-ins with department leaders to talk through concerns / problem
- Deepen relationships with students across campus through fun events where students can get
to know their student leaders and vice versa

Senate / Senate Organization:

- Change to a uniform system of communication
- Recognize the dedication senators are placing into Senate every week by beginning a “Senator
of the Week” award
- Continue the expansion of diversity, equity, and inclusion by implementing for the first time,
with the help of Student Senate, the DEI committee as a primary committee of the Senate,
giving it the same level of importance as B&F and LEC
- Encourage senate attendance at campus events
- Act as a platform to promote impactful campus events
- Closely work with senate advisors to ensure orderly work

Student Voice:

- Act as a bridge between students and their concerns and the administration/faculty who can
help fix the concern
- Host regular office hours for a programmed time of student voice/concerns
- Join students in meetings with administration to provide support during difficult
- Encourage students to attend Senate meetings and speak during open forum time
- Create spaces where staff and students can discuss recurring issues by inviting staff to senate
- Create “mock senate” meetings to encourage new students to join senate


- Showcase diversity on campus through student art projects like the DEI Mural
- Establish storage/lounge spaces on campus for students who commute to Coe every day
- Take advantage of the use of technology/applications to increase communication and
awareness about campus activities and events
- Improve religious spaces on campus
- Restructure the Menstrual Hygiene Product Project to reach maximum efficiency
- Reform structure that incoming financial information is presented to prospective students
- Work closely with CAP leader program to ensure responsible leaders for incoming classes
- Speak to students about what they want to see on their campus!


For any questions involving Student Senate or your Coe experience, please contact


Getting Involved

At the beginning of each academic year, a petition will be sent out to the full student body and students who want to join must obtain a predetermined number of signatures from their residence community. Once that is completed, a school wide poll will be emailed out and qualified candidates are elected in by members of that community.

All meetings are open to members of the Coe community. Anyone can address their concerns during the Open Forum section of Senate meetings. Meetings are held every Thursday at 7:00 pm in Kessler Auditorium, and copies of our minutes are available on our Moodle page!

Governing Documents

Learn More