The Butler University Freshman Caucus has tallied the votes and elected four officers for the class of 2014 last Monday.
The caucus is entirely distinct from the campus-wide Student Government Association.
The group of about 30 students works to inform the freshman class about issues on campus and listens specifically to their opinions.
This attention to freshmen is something newly-elected Vice Chair Kyle Graden said would be difficult at large-scale SGA meetings.
“SGA does a lot of stuff tailored to all of the students,” he said. “As a freshman, you can kind of get lost in the shuffle.”
Treasurer Rachel Wilkinson said it would be intimidating to think about walking into a student government of established upperclassmen as a freshman.
She decided to pursue a position in freshman caucus so that her voice could be heard over the crowd.
“I got involved because it was more directly related to the freshman class, as opposed to SGA which is the whole campus,” Wilkinson said. “It’s more focused and it’s a smaller group, so you have more of an impact.“
Caucus Chair Katie Palmer said freshmen need to be informed about the campus before their opinion can have an impact.
“If you don’t know what’s going on, you won’t be able to voice your opinions.”
The caucus is also designed to unify the freshman class.
Sally Click, adviser for the freshman caucus, said that this unity is unique to the Butler experience.
“You really have an intense experience with people for these four years,” Click said. “You really get close to the people that you start with and that you end with, because our retention rate is so good.
“There is a sense of class unity and cohesiveness that I don’t think you get at other places.”
This year’s caucus officers are planning social events to help bring the class of 2014 together.
Click said it is too early to definitively say what the events will be, but the officers are looking into pairing with the Dawg Pound to coach freshmen on how to be a good Bulldog fan.
They are also planning a celebration for the end of the fall semester.
“It will be just something to say, ‘Hey, we did it. We survived our first semester,’” Graden said.
Wilkinson said that she hopes other freshmen will be able to connect at these events.
“This is an opportunity for them to find people to do an activity together and to find other freshmen who are all in the same boat,” she said.
The new officers are also putting a heavy emphasis on philanthropy.
“We thought philanthropy was something that all freshmen could get involved in, not just athletes or members of specific groups,” Palmer said.
The philanthropy event will be scheduled for sometime in the spring semester.
Three years ago, freshman government looked significantly different.
Freshman class officers were elected and represented the class in SGA meetings. The officers then felt the need for a “sounding board,” and created the caucus as support system.
Last year, the Butler University Freshman Caucus replaced the freshman officer system.
Click said that this system is beneficial to students because there are 30 people representing the class, rather than four.
“It’s easier to generate interest in activities as opposed to four people on their own,” Click said.
Butler University Freshman Caucus is open to all interested freshmen.
“It’s definitely something easy to get involved in,” Palmer said. “You don’t have to be a president or vice president to make a difference.”
The next Freshman Caucus meeting will be held Oct. 18 in the basement of Jordan Hall.