Student Senate seeks student input

Courtesy Photo/ John Iott

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo/ John Iott

Sarah Hillenbrand

The Grand Valley State University Student Senate kicked off the 2012-13 academic year last week, with it’s first general assemby meeting on Sept. 7, taking a look ahead at what senators hope to accomplish in the coming school year.

The senate holds weekly general assembly meetings to keep each committee up to date on planning for campus events like President’s Ball, committee resolutions, and Student Life organization budgets among others.

“I think we have a lot of authority compared to other student organizations on campus because we are a liaison between the students and the faculty,” said Marissa Kobe, member of the Student Senate’s Political Affairs Committee. “We’re the voice of the students, and because of that it gives us the power to speak for the students to the faculty.”

Politcal affairs committee member Jennie Hlady said some of the senate’s biggest accomplishments in the past few years include resolutions that pushed the University Academic Senate and Provost to cancel classes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the development of gender-neutral housing on campus, and adding an Arabic minor to GVSU’s academic programs.

“The difference between Student Senate and other organizations and the faculty boards is that we see Grand Valley through the eyes of the students, but have some power, (or) the authority to actually change it and make it better for the students,” Kobe said.

Kobe encouraged more students to get involved in the senate to make sure that their needs are heard and they are best represented.

“If something means a lot to you and you’re really passionate about it, you can make the time,” she said. “You’re here for an education, but you’re also here for unique resources and opportunities that will make you more efficient and better qualified in the working world, and this is one of those things.”

Lindsay Viviano, vice president of public relations for Student Senate, said that for students to get involved does not require a certain major or particular interest in politics.

“A lot of people think it’s just political or you have to be a political science major to do it, and it’s the total opposite,” Viviano said.

All are welcome to attend the senate’s general assembly meetings, or to make appeals to senate committee members if they want to suggest improvements or changes on any facet at GVSU.

“I don’t think that students realize that they have a voice,” Hlady said. “If you want something done, you can get it changed.”

The Senate meets Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. in the Pere Marquette room of the Kirkhof Center. For more information, visit

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