The Grand Valley State University Student Senate recently announced that it’s focusing heavily on improving representation of students on campus. It’s working to ensure that the Laker demographics are well reflected in the membership of the student government so that all perspectives and group-specific issues are considered when the senate acts to represent and improve the GVSU community.

We wanted not only to express our gratitude for this absolutely necessary campaign, but also offer our support.

It is so crucial that all groups on campus — both majority and minority — have a say in what goes on with the student community. They need to lend their views to improve funding allocation, university policy, and the general direction of conversation at GVSU.

As Sen. Danielle Meirow said in this issue’s Student Senate article, the demographics of the government are not entirely reflective of the student body. The percentage of women and non-Greek students on the Senate, in particular, is not at all proportionate to the percentage of women and non-Greek students in the general population; members of these constituencies are under-represented, and consequently, they may be experiencing campus issues that are not given appropriate attention or consideration by the senate.

We need freshmen and graduate students collaborating to improve the GVSU experience. We need Muslims and Buddhists to have a hand in shaping policy. We need biology and writing students to bring up necessary program changes. We need men and women, Americans and foreigners, gay and straight, and black and white students all to have an equal chance to voice the needs of their respective communities, and even to work together to bridge their communities to develop a cohesive student body.

We want to challenge all students to take up the Student Senate’s offer for Senate membership. Whether or not you’re politically active, you have an opinion and, at the very least, a perspective to bring to the table to get the Senate talking and aware of issues to be addressed. If anything, don’t do it for yourself. Do it for your communities — for your fellow Republicans/Democrats, Christians/Jews, French/Asian, film/engineering students who aren’t confident enough to speak up for themselves.

Not only should each of these groups have a chance at representation, but the students should have a choice. Let’s have a real student election. Let’s change the culture of GVSU so that so many students want to be involved that people actually lose the election. Let’s increase the competition, so that in the years to come, students have to campaign and really work to be elected and approved by the people as a senator.