Student senator lends non-traditional perspective

Last Sunday, the smell of stale coffee wafting through the air, student government members sat down to discuss the week’s proceedings. Among those assembled was recently elected senator, Diana Ramstad. Ramstad is one of the many non-traditional students currently attending UAF; however, she is one of the few holding a seat in the Senate.

The term “non-traditional student” generally refers to a student who is 25 years or older, attends classes part-time, works full-time while enrolled, or is a single parent or has dependents other than a spouse.

“Non-traditional students have a different perspective. All perspectives are important, and we should be well-rounded in that,” says Ramstad. “I would love to see more of our Native students run, and more majors.

Ramstad is working to address the concerns of non-traditional students by serving as a senator. While she stressed that her opinions are her own, she said she values diversity of ideas and opinions as a representative of the student government, non-traditional students included.

The university hosts students from a wide variety of backgrounds, ranging from veterans to community members making career changes. Approximately 28 percent of UAF’s student base is composed of non-traditional students. Ramstad believes that these viewpoints should be represented in the student government in order to more completely represent the diversity that exists on campus.

The sentiment that non-traditional students hold unique perspectives aptly applies to Ramstad, as well. Before returning to school, Ramstad worked as a horse trainer, volunteered at a non-profit in Ireland, and ran several family businesses, ranging from coffee stands to a greenhouse.

“What sparked my interest [in running] was to give a voice for non-traditional students,” says Ramstad.

Ramstad is currently serving on the Student Affairs, Public Relations, and Internal Affairs committees. She has several ideas she wants to implement this year.

She would like to see a club for non-traditional students formed and to plan events that would be of interest to non-traditional students. She also remarks that certain programs around campus, such as the Haven Training, could be better tailored to the concerns of non-traditional students.

“I would actually like to encourage other people to run for Senate. If there’s even two or three other people competing for my seat, then I have to work harder for that seat. I’m actively encouraging other students to run,” said Ramstad.

She noted that she would also like to see the names and pictures of student senators posted around campus, so that people can recognize and easily approach them.

Students can find the ASUAF office on the bottom floor of the Wood Center next to the bowling alley, suite 119.

“If you bring your own mug, there’s hot chocolate,” Ramstad said. “We’re here for students’ concerns.”

Students wishing to attend ASUAF’s weekly meetings can find the Senate in Wood Center C/D, near Dine 49, at 1:30 p.m. every Sunday.

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