Student Senate plans upcoming events and projects

GVL / Emily Frye
Student Senate Meeting

GVL / Emily Frye Student Senate Meeting

Allison Ribick

Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate has many responsibilities, including passing resolutions, planning events and working with students and student organizations in response to their thoughts and opinions. With the winter semester beginning, Student Senate is currently in the works with several projects.

For one, the finance committee is in the process of coming up with a draft of the student life fund budget for next year. Once it is finished, the budget will be presented to the senate for a vote.

Additionally, a resolution to commend GVSU’s policy on intellectual property rights and to encourage other universities to have similar policies will be discussed at the General Assembly on Jan. 15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Pere Marquette Room in the Kirkhof Center.

The resolution was written by Scott St. Louis, vice president for educational affairs on Student Senate, with the help of Student Senate President Andrew Plague in regards to a startup company run by GVSU students. Fluition, LLC is a biomedical device design company that is developing a new sit-to-stand device for intensive care patients.

“We’re a university which I think kind of breaks from the norm in that we allow students to retain 100 percent ownership of their startup as long as they’re not grant funded by the university or contract funded,” St. Louis said.

The resolution also mentions Students for Intellectual Property Rights, which is an organization that advocates for the Higher Education Reauthorization Act to add a revision so college students across the country can own their own startup and keep at least 75 percent of the resulting royalties.

“We wanted to commend the university on its current policies because we think that Fluition, LLC is an example of how those policies have done right by Grand Valley students,” St. Louis said.

Another event being organized by Student Senate is the University Leadership Roundtable, happening Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Alumni House on the Allendale Campus. All presidents of student organizations registered on OrgSync are invited to the event. These campus leaders will then have the chance to eat dinner while discussing the benefits and challenges of their positions.

At this event, individuals may ask questions, exchange advice and ideally will walk away with a greater understanding of the types of student organizations there are at GVSU. Promotional techniques, programming and organizational skills may be among the topics discussed.

“I think it’s good to have the leaders be able to network with people who they might not see or be able to talk to on a daily basis,” said Emma Moulton, executive vice president of Student Senate.

The annual Presidents’ Ball is another event Student Senate helps organize. The theme of this year’s ball is “The Grand Gatsby” and will highlight the glitz and glam of the 1920s with the help of student senators and members of the Laker Traditions Team.

The ball will be held on Friday, Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the DeVos Place’s Performance Hall in Grand Rapids. Dinner and dance tickets are $30 and dance tickets are $10, available for purchase at the 2020 Desk in the Kirkhof Center.

Finally, Student Senate’s election process also begins at the end of February. Students interested in becoming a Student Senator can access the application via OrgSync. Once approved, election packets are distributed. A student needs to turn in the packet to Student Senate with 75 signatures of enrolled students and a faculty endorsement before they can begin campaigning. Voting occurs in late March for the 44 positions available.

Moulton gave her advice for students thinking about becoming a senator.

“Don’t be afraid to campaign and to go out of your comfort zone to try to get people to vote for you,” Moulton said. “Last year it was very competitive. You can’t just put your name on the ballot – you have to put yourself out there and tell people why you should be on senate and get their support.”

Last year, about 20 percent of GVSU’s students voted in the election. Student Senate hopes that number will increase.

“The student government can only be representative of students so far as students are willing to participate in shaping that government and making sure that we as an organization know of the issues that students are facing in their interactions with faculty, staff, the administration and the Allendale community,” St. Louis said.