Full steam ahead in 2014

The whir of treadmills and the crunch of rice cakes won’t be the only new sounds heard at Grand Valley State University. With the start of the new year, many students and staff members have started to think about their professional and personal resolutions, and that list goes beyond the gym.

President Thomas Haas said he does plan to exercise more, but he also wants to read more books, celebrate his family and work on the next 40 years of marriage with his wife, Marcia.

Haas also has a few resolutions for the university. He said GVSU will continue to work on its many building projects, including planning for the health campus in Grand Rapids and expanding AuSable Hall in Allendale.

Although he deems these projects important, Haas said a more significant goal for GVSU is to work with the local community to help keep tuition low for students.

“I am always interested in access and affordability for our students,” Haas said. “We will continue building support financially for the university and our students to make sure we stay affordable.”

He also recognized the people who have helped support GVSU, especially through donations and the alumni foundation. Haas said these connections will help the university use all of its resources effectively to support the students, faculty and staff.

Ricardo Benavidez, president of Student Senate, also has resolutions for GVSU.

“This year, the senate will continue to work on religious inclusiveness at university events such as commencement, convocation and the Presidents’ Ball,” Benavidez said. “We will also continue our work on inclusive religious spaces on campus.”

He added that the senate also hopes to increase student involvement in senate elections by making the selection process for candidates more competitive.

“In the past, we have only had about less than 20 percent of the student body involved in the election of their campus leaders,” Benavidez said. “We want to ensure that all voices are heard and that all students are properly represented.”

The senate will also continue to work with Fred Antczak, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, on the proposed fall breather, which Benavidez called an “important issue for students.”

The top dogs at GVSU aren’t the only ones with big goals. Many student leaders and organizations have resolved to make a difference this semester and stretch themselves to exceed expectations.

The Muggle Quidditch club, the Grindylows, is planning for the team’s first World Cup in April. Team captain Aleia Wright said hard work and teamwork are two things that will lead the team to success.

“Our focus right now is definitely fundraising,” Wright said. “We need to make a lot of money before April and we hope to reach our goal. We all need to come together as a team to make it to the World Cup and I really think that our team can do it.”

Matt Fowler, commonly known around campus as the “Purple Man,” is also looking to the future. Fowler said he wants to continue his “purpleliciousness” into 2014.

“I do what I do because I want people to embrace what they love even though it’s awkward or scary,” Fowler said. “I hope I can adjust to the year 2014 without losing too much of myself in the process.”

As GVSU enters the new year, it is clear that Lakers should expect big things from their peers and their administrators.