Getting Started

GVL / Spencer Scarber
President Thomas Haas speaks to Student Senate during their first session on Thursday August 31, 2017.

GVL / Spencer Scarber President Thomas Haas speaks to Student Senate during their first session on Thursday August 31, 2017.

Joshua Vissers

Grand Valley State University’s student senate began the process of considering its first resolution of the year with a resolution to support Indigenous Peoples Day, put forward by student senator Joe Cadreau and added to next week’s agenda for consideration unopposed.

“This is the reason I ran for senate,” said Cadreau, a sophomore at GVSU and a freshman senator.

The resolution, supported by many groups, including the Native American Student Association, Black Student Union, Asian Student Union and several others, has already been adopted by many universities and municipalities nationwide. It formally requests GVSU’s administration to replace recognition for Columbus Day on the second Monday in October with recognition for people indigenous to the Americas.

“This is a chance for each and every one of us to leave a legacy this year,” Cadreau said, echoing remarks made by university President Thomas Haas earlier in the meeting.

“What would you like to see?” Haas said. “Do some planning for your legacy.”

Haas and his wife, Marcia, were there to encourage the student senate at the beginning of the year and to take questions about what the year ahead might hold. Several students were concerned about hate groups and free speech on campus. Haas repeated what has been stated in campus-wide emails.

“We have had hours and hours of prepping for this,” he said, reassuring students that the administration is ready, and taking selfies with each senator before he left.

Meeting formalities were observed, such as the swearing in of new senators, as well as the singing of happy birthday to those senators whose birthdays passed over the summer.

Other initiatives coming up this semester include an open-access textbook promotion, Queer & Trans 101 meetings, and Constitution and Voter Registration Day activities.

Morgan Mattler, chair of the public relations committee, is ready to help the student body this year.

“We’re here for them in any way, shape or form,” he said.

Students interested in finding out more about student senate were presented with the opportunity to speak with senators and cabinet members, who had a table set up at Campus Life Night, which occurred Tuesday, Sept. 5. 

On Thursday, Sept. 7, student senate will host S’mores with Senators in the Holton-Hooker Learning and Living Center Multipurpose Room. There will be a general information presentation followed by time to talk with student senators and make s’mores.

General assembly meetings take place every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in the Pere Marquette Room of the Kirkhof Center. These meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend. 

“We’re very excited for the school year to begin,” Mattler said.