Student senate holds first ever downtown GA

March 1 student senate general assembly, GVSU pew campus. GVL / McKenna Peariso

March 1 student senate general assembly, GVSU pew campus. GVL / McKenna Peariso

McKenna Peariso

Each Thursday, Grand Valley State University’s student senators convene in Allendale campus’ Kirkhof Center for their general assembly meeting. For the final GA before spring break, however, senators decided to change things up.

For the first time ever on Thursday, March 1, Student Senate held its weekly GA meeting in the university club room on GVSU’s Pew campus. The push for the Grand Rapids meeting location came from several downtown-based senators, including Senater Olivia Kolc who helped organize the downtown assembly. The final GA before spring break was compiled with a visitor from the Grand Rapids city manager’s office, some discussions on campus affairs and approval of the body’s common technical framework.

Compared to most senate assemblies, the university club room provided a more dignified setting as well as refreshment offerings thanks to its large bar service area. Coffee, lemonade and various baked goods were provided prior to the March 1 assembly. The refreshment hour offered a time for senators to chat among themselves and with public attendees.

“That was just really amazing to see,” said Senate Executive Vice President Morgan Mattler. “We were able to mingle with some students during the beginning refreshments, whether they were just stopping in for food or actually chatted with some senators.”

Assistant to Grand Rapids city manager Asante Cain kicked off the GA meeting as the opening speaker. Cain spoke about his time at GVSU’s toastmaster club, which he believed helped improve his speaking skills to assist him in his career. He urged senators to look into the club as it could likely benefit their ability to govern and present professionally.  

One important point on senate’s agenda was the upcoming vote on funding president’s ball. The ball’s cancellation was announced on Jan. 31 as part of the university’s record breaking five consecutive school closures. Now, senators will be deciding and voting on the best way to pay for the event, which lost out on potential profit once ticket sales were refunded. With no return funds, senate will likely have to dip into one of GVSU’s reserve funds to pay the final installments for the dance’s preparations. The vote on funding president’s ball will be held at senate’s GA on March 21. 

The final business for the first ever downtown assembly was voting on senate’s framework guidelines. Senators approved revisions and final submissions of their constitution, bylaws, financial rules, policies and procedures. Aside from some concern and discussion on the practice for removing a senator from the body, all updates passed with no dissent. 

Many senators were excited to hold a GA downtown for the first time, rather than the body’s reoccurring appearance in Kirkhof. As senate attempts to connect more fully and engagingly with students, being present in more campus areas may help them make those student connections.

“Downtown campus is so beautiful,” Kolc said. “I think it’s really great that everyone came out.”