A new year signifies a time to make changes. Sometimes, making these changes is easier said than done. Often, all it takes is the use of the resources around you and the initiative to see things through.

Recently, as mentioned in Hannah Lentz’ article, “Textbook tyranny,” a student senator and Residence Housing Association member worked with the housing department to allow holiday lights in all on-campus housing. The previous rule that banned these lights was one that saw a lot of pushback from the student population.

However, the idea of allowing these lights had not been brought up to housing for quite some time. After some communication, it was decided that the rule was outdated due to technological advancements and new safety measures with holiday lights.

The outdated rule was one that many students broke on campus anyway – adding string lights to a dorm room is a common decoration to make the otherwise boring room and cold room an aesthetic more like a home. All it took to change the usually-broken rule was one person making a simple inquiry.

The process to change the outdated policy was quite simple. A student put forth a resolution to student senate, the resolution gained the support of the senate, and then the appropriate administrators worked with a senator to create a new policy. In total, the process took no more than a few weeks.

Changing campus policy on string lights is only one example of a change that can be made to improve your life as a student. As a student at Grand Valley State University, there are several opportunities for you to make your voice heard and implement change throughout campus.

If you have something you are passionate about and want to see changed, speak up. It’s your right and your responsibility to do so. Student senate is a great tool for students to reach out to for campus-wide change. As students here and part of the culture, we have the opportunity to change campus culture and policies for ourselves, for other students and for future students.

In addition to making changes on campus, you have this opportunity to make changes for yourself. Whether it’s healthy exercise habits, earning better grades or conquering your fear of public speaking, GVSU has a wealth of resources to help you improve your life. From the gym in the Fieldhouse, to tutors, to the Speech Lab to the Counseling Center, GVSU makes sure you have a support system for all the positive changes you want to accomplish. All you have to do is want it enough to follow through.