Student senate discusses Presidents’ Ball preparation

GVL /Matt Read Student Senate meets on Thursday November 13th, 2017. They opened with discussing their social media outreach.

GVL /Matt Read Student Senate meets on Thursday November 13th, 2017. They opened with discussing their social media outreach.

Megan Webster

The annual Presidents’ Ball was a topic of discussion at the Grand Valley State University student senate general assembly Thursday, Nov. 16. More specifically, the senators discussed two different awards that will be given out at the event.

Every year at Presidents’ Ball—which will take place Friday, Feb. 2, at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids—two awards are given out: the Student Award for Faculty Excellence (S.A.F.E. Award) and the Laker of the Year Award. 

These two awards allow for recognition of GVSU community members and the dedication they put into the community. Although these two awards have the same agenda, they award individuals for two different reasons. The S.A.F.E. Award is presented to a faculty member who has been chosen as someone who takes that extra step for their students, going above and beyond what is required of them. The Laker of the Year Award is presented to a faculty member, staff member or a member of the community who truly embodies the values of GVSU. 

The student body has a voice in who receives these two awards. The nomination forms are located on the Presidents’ Ball website, as well as the student senate website, and are also being distributed in multiple forms by the members of senate. 

Dan Ziegenfelder, vice president of student senate, said he hopes with the voting becoming more well-known and available through multiple platforms that more votes are cast through different areas of the student body. This way, more professors in different areas of study have the possibility to be recognized, rather than the same disciplines getting awarded every year. 

“In the past, it’s just been the S.A.F.E. Award goes to someone in CLAS, and then people who have classes in the Seidman College of Business, those professors never get recognized,” Ziegenfelder said. “So, we’re trying to open it up some more so that more student feedback happens.”

Voting for both the S.A.F.E. Award and the Laker of the Year Award closes Monday, Nov. 27. At that point, members of the student senate will review all of the submissions and narrow them down to the top five. Those top five contenders will then be voted on at the senate meeting Thursday, Nov. 30. 

Along with the discussion of Presidents’ Ball awards at the meeting, Ziegenfelder also reminded the cabinet that auditions for the role of emcee and performers are currently happening. There are currently two open positions for entertainers at the ball.

“If you know someone who would be good to emcee or to perform, then please contact me, and I’ll try to set up an audition for them with the coordinators,” Ziegenfelder said. “Anyone can do it.” 

Jonathan Bowman, student senate president, explained the overall structure of the evening when one of the senators asked what the specific role of the entertainers was going to be at the ball.

“There’s a dinner and a dance, and so the dinner is for the 500 people that go to dinner and the performances are during that,” Bowman said. “That’s where me and President Haas will present our Presidential Award to someone, and that’s where the other two awards will be presented. So there’s a dinner and the show.”

If students would like more information about Presidents’ Ball, they can visit or contact Ziegenfelder at [email protected].