History of the Student Senate

Today's Student Senate continues a long tradition of organized student representation at Texas A&M.

The origin of the Student Government Association can be traced to just before the turn of the century. At that time, all student concerns were handled through the Corps of Cadets. As the A&M College of Texas grew, however, the class officers began to take an interest in such matters.

The Students’ Council, therefore, formed in 1910. Its primary functions were to enforce the honor system and to supervise individual conduct. The Council had no real disciplinary or advisory powers, however, because it was outside the Corps structure. As a result, it dissolved in 1916. Meanwhile, the individual classes conducted fund drives, elected sweethearts, and held elections.

In 1945, a new Student Council was formed to provide for the needs of the growing student population at Texas A&M College. The Council advised the Dean of Men (as there were no women at A&M at the time) on matters concerning student activities, student aid, student welfare, and student morale. The Council consisted of four class presidents, the Cadet Colonel, and four regimental representatives.

On October 15th, 1947, the newly elected Student Representatives met in the Grove electing the first President of the body and quickly renaming to the Student Senate. A “Constitution of the Student Body” was approved, and transformed the Student Council into the Student Senate. A copy of the constitution can be referenced below.  The objectives of this body were to act in an executive capacity for the student body (both on and off campus) and to serve as a liaison between the student body and the administration, faculty, and other universities in matters concerning student activities. Thus, the Student Senate became the true governing body of the students and, by 1950, was recognized as the highest all-student unit in the A&M Student Government structure. Its representatives were elected by living areas, by class, and by academic colleges.

Student Government further expanded in 1972 when it was divided into three distinct branches: the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch. A significant amount of growth followed. Student Government became a part of the newly formed Department of Student Activities in 1975. By 1978, there were 83 students elected yearly to the Student Senate.

By the 1990s Senate had continued to grow to an organization consisting of 101 Senators, 6 officers, and numerous aides. In 1992, the Student Senate began meeting in the Governance Room, which still currently houses its biweekly meetings. 1997 saw the 50th session of Student Senate and the sponsoring of a time capsule, which sits outside the entrance of the John J. Koldus building. In 2008, the 60th Session added the Constituency Affairs committee as a standing committee and seventh Senate Officer as well as added a caucus to represent the University Apartments residency district.

The 61st Session saw a major shift in the structure of the Senate as Officers were now solely elected from within the Senate. The 61st Session also saw the creation of the Archives of the Senate and a major push to chart the history of not only the Senate, but the Student Government Association as a whole. Finally, the Student Government Association Code was created in 2009 to organize all of SGA's governing documents.

The 63rd Session saw the splitting of the External Affairs Committee into two new legislative committees: the Legislative Affairs Committee and the Community Relations Committee.

Today, the Student Senate consists of 80 Senators, 8 officers, 6 ex-officio officers, and numerous student aides, committee members, and liaisons.  The Student Government Association now consists of over 1300 students, 19 committees and commissions, and a budget of approximately half a million dollars.

The objectives established in 1947, however, have remained unchanged and are still followed today. Student service, student development, and student representation continue to be the primary goals of the Student Senate and the Student Government Association as a whole.

Further historical documents on the Student Senate can be found in the Archives of the Senate.

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The Constitution of the Student Senate - Founding Session 1948.pdf71.17 KB

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