Ilana Mesnick has been elected parliamentarian of the Binghamton University Student Association (SA) Congress, after a unanimous vote on Feb. 28.
The SA Congress is the legislative branch of the SA, through which the president and other elected students serve as the representative body for undergraduates at BU. The organization consists of the Internal Affairs (IA) Committee, Student Life and Academics (SLA) Committee, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, Finance Committee and the Elections and Judiciary (E&J) Committee. The primary role of the parliamentarian is to ensure that organizational and procedural rules are followed in all committee and SA Congress meetings.
According to Alexandria Chun, the speaker of SA Congress and a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, the parliamentarian appointment was conducted after conversations were had with the most active SA representatives who were deemed eligible for the position. The role necessitates a thorough understanding of parliamentary procedure, as well as the ability and time to execute the many duties assigned to the office.
Chun expressed her belief that Mesnick has excelled in each of these regards. Additionally, Chun said that representatives and SA leadership recommended Mesnick after she asked for advice in choosing someone fit to be a parliamentarian.
“Ilana is a hard worker who is extremely committed to the SA,” Chun wrote in an email. “She has sat on all committees but Finance and has previously served as E&J Vice Chair, IA Vice Chair and SLA Vice Chair. As I frequently travel to Albany to fulfill my other role of president of the SUNY Student Assembly, I had to choose someone who I know would connect with the [representatives] and remain approachable and knowledgeable if an emergency at the capital arose, and I had to depart Binghamton on short notice.”
Mesnick, a junior double-majoring in Spanish and philosophy, politics and law, said it is crucial for the nominee who fills this role to have extensive knowledge of Robert’s Rules and Orders, a manual of parliamentary procedure that governs organizations with boards of directors, in order to advise the legislative process and keep order in the Congress.
“I am honored to be appointed as parliamentarian, as I have a strong passion for the SA and want to help Congress with maintaining order,” Mesnick wrote in an email.
Before her appointment as parliamentarian, Mesnick served as an SA Congress representative for three years and as vice chair on multiple committees. She expressed excitement toward her continued involvement and taking on her new leadership role.
When asked about her plans and ideas for the SA moving forward, Mesnick said she plans to serve as a supportive member who can help younger Congress members achieve their legislative goals.
“I believe that this role will allow me to impart knowledge of the SA and also of writing legislation on younger representatives who can benefit from it in the long run,” Mesnick wrote. “I think being parliamentarian will further allow me to serve as a mentor for others and help them develop their passion for SA Congress as well.”
According to Chun, this is something that Mesnick has embodied during her short time in her new role in the SA Congress.
“At SA Congress we are committed to equal and equitable representation as well as maintaining inclusivity,” Chun wrote. “Ilana has already been wonderful in her role as parliamentarian, and I have the strongest and utmost confidence in her continued success.”