I remember the Monday nights when I would walk out of the Red Room at 11:30 p.m. and wonder where the last three hours had gone. I would reflect on them: there was bickering, boredom, hurt feelings and little more to show for it than the same club budgets that we allocate every year. To put it bluntly, Senate meetings were a waste of time. It was last week’s meeting that reminded me just how far we’ve come from those days.

Ever since I was a freshman at Amherst, I have gotten a sense that the AAS is not particularly popular. There has been a perception that we do little more than fund clubs, that we argue too much, that we are a waste of what could be a very valuable resource. I have served on the AAS now for four years, and I can tell you that many of these criticisms have been merited.

Monday night’s Senate meeting ended with the ceremonial changing of the guard. As one Executive Board said their farewells, "clearly an emotional moment for guys like outgoing President Saumitra Thakur, who has spent pretty much every Monday night at a Senate Meeting for the past four years," the new officers were sworn in.

This Friday, the Student Body will elect a new Senate for the upcoming school year. Monday night’s meeting proved to me that the AAS is truly heading in a direction towards making student life issues a priority, which is something that I, and many others, have long hoped for. I hope to see a new Senate that continues this focus. Here are some things we talked about Monday night: