The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Student Senate elections exhibit organizational changes

GVL / Ella McClintock

Restructuring the Student Senate at Grand Valley State University has created new opportunities for several new seats in the organization.

The Student Senate went through restructuring this year, due to a bill proposed by Senate President Quinten Proctor and Senate Executive Vice President Maggie Hallead called the Omnibus Bill. The organizational change aims to be more representative of the student body.

The Omnibus Bill came following a significant decline in Student Senate participation after the pandemic and some standing issues in the organization.

“At our first meeting of this school year, we only had 12 seats filled out of the 50 seats available and none of us had any experience in any leadership positions on Senate,” Proctor said.

It was incredibly difficult for the Student Senate to tackle the issues facing students with limited senators. Proctor said the reason the Student Senate was on such a steep decline was partially from several seniors graduating, as well as organizational flaws, “because we were so stuck in doing the same things and following the same processes that we had always done,” Proctor said.

Through the Omnibus Bill, the Student Senate adjusted to the current college experience, reserving seats for students in each college within the University including graduate, international and first-year students.

Riley Gessler, a nursing major, is currently running for a college representative seat of the Kirkhof College of Nursing. Being part of the Student Senate is incredibly important to Gessler.

“I love to see real changes happen and I know I could do that with this organization,” Gessler said.

If Gessler wins the spot of Kirkhof College of Nursing representative, they will be able to be a part of things that truly matter to them.

“I get to help with inspiring events such as Elect Her, Last Lecture, Exam Cram and many more,” Gessler said.

Gessler explained if they were to win the senate seat, they are interested in adding the Grand Valley State University Student ID in the Apple Wallet and making physical textbooks more accessible. Overall, Gessler is pleased with the restructuring.

“(The Omnibus Bill) has been very helpful for me and other Senators. I see this new and improved Senate as a way to give more benefits to the students and for us to run more smoothly,” Gessler said.

Freshman Anna Richards is also running for one of the new seats on the Student Senate. Currently a double major in Human Resource Management and Marketing, Richards is running for the new Seidman College of Business seat. If Richards wins, she plans to address “the price gouging of food and other items in the P.O.D stores around campus.”

Since the Omnibus Bill passed, the Student Senate body has grown to 33 members. Restructuring allowed the Senate to expand engagement and adjust each Student Senate member’s workload to be significantly lighter. 

The Senate also reorganized its Cabinet positions in the Omnibus Bill, adding a Chief of Staff position and a judicial branch to keep up with checks and balances. For the first time, students can vote for the President and the Vice President, although only one ticket is on the ballot, voting closes on March 25. Student Senate meetings are now held at both Allendale and Pew campuses to better reach all students.

The new Omnibus Bill is a stepping stone into a new era for Student Senate and the Senate remains hopeful that the new changes will better reflect the student body.

GVL / Ella McClintock
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