Student senate selects new VP of external relations

GVL / Emily Frye
Student Senate cabinet leads Thursdays meeting on Sep. 10th.

GVL / Emily Frye Student Senate cabinet leads Thursday’s meeting on Sep. 10th.

Lucas Escalada

Grand Valley State University’s student senate elected Andy Oeffner as vice president of external relations on Thursday.

Oeffner was up for nomination alongside Shirlene Armstrong, a current member of the external relations committee in the senate.

Both Oeffner and Armstrong got their chance to address the senate on Thursday, making a case for why they would be a good fit for the position.

Jeremy Turnbull, vice president of finance, said he wanted to make sure every senate member was aware that Armstrong would be graduating in December. Other senators agreed that this could be an issue, as a new vice president for external relations would have to be elected in four months.

While addressing the senate, Oeffner said he joined the organization to be a leader. He said there are many opportunities to be a leader throughout campus, but student senate is one of the best ways to make changes through leadership.

“My only goal is to build Grand Valley into a better community, especially with the surrounding Allendale area,” Oeffner said.

Strengthening the relationship of the Allendale community and the GVSU community is a big focus for Oeffner. He said he wants to work with local public schools and local businesses.

Working with the township is key for Oeffner. He wants to ensure that the university community has a symbiotic relationship with Allendale.

He wants to strengthen the connection between the Allendale community and the GVSU community by highlighting the importance of education. He said he wants to work with young, local students to help them understand why going through multiple levels of education is important.

Oeffner also wants to help expand the business community in Allendale.

“I want to work with the external relations committee to expand the business community to provide more economic opportunities in the form of more businesses and tourist attractions in the city,” Oeffner said.

Focusing on the GVSU community, Oeffner said he wants to increase civic engagement. With the upcoming presidential election, he said it is important to get community members registered to vote. This could also be a tool to teach younger community members the importance of getting involved, Oeffner said.

Another way Oeffner wants to work on the relationship of both the GVSU community and the Allendale community is by working with the GVSU police department.

He said he knows many students do not have a positive image of the police department. He wants to work alongside members of GVPD to help the department improve their image with students.

“There’s a lot of anti-GVPD sentiment at Grand Valley,” Oeffner said. “I haven’t had the greatest experience with GVPD in the past, but I’m really excited to go meet the chief of police here at Grand Valley and work things out.”

Oeffner said that he has met some great police officers at GVSU. However, he believes the general image of the department could be improved with most students.

In working with GVPD, Oeffner wants “the students to respect the police more, and the police, in turn, respect the students.”